Thursday 28 May 2020

Look before you leap

Just over an hour ago I spotted a tweet from someone citing a Telegraph headline saying that Durham Police have ruled that Dominic Cummings DID breach lockdown rules.

It looked damning, the final nail in Mr Cummings's coffin.

Naturally, being almost as obsessive as a Newsnight reporter with a bee in his bonnet, I checked Lewis Goodall's Twitter feed to see how soon he'd bite.

He bit very soon. He was onto in a flash.

At just after 1pm he put out at least two tweets asserting that he and Emily Maitlis had been proved right, linking in his second tweet to his own Tuesday report. 

Then someone posted in full what Durham Police actually said and I instantly realised that Lewis Goodall had made a fool of himself  again. 

He'd jumped the gun. 

Unfortunately I then got interrupted and by the time I got back onto Twitter at 1:40 pm he'd 'vanished' both 'incriminating' tweets and I was unable to screengrab them.

I had a feeling he'd do that.

Both tweets had been piling up with comments from gloating fans singing his and Emily Maitlis's praises.

Ah but, of course, the good folk of Twitter were too quick for him. They did what I'd wanted to do. They caught those tweets before he deleted them:

On 27 March 2020, Dominic Cummings drove to Durham to self-isolate in a property owned by his father.
Durham Constabulary does not consider that by locating himself at his father’s premises, Mr Cummings committed an offence contrary to regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. (We are concerned here with breaches of the Regulations, not the general Government guidance to “stay at home”.)
On 12 April 2020, Mr Cummings drove approximately 26 miles from his father’s property to Barnard Castle with his wife and son. He stated on 25 May 2020 that the purpose of this drive was to test his resilience to drive to London the following day, including whether his eyesight was sufficiently recovered, his period of self-isolation having ended.
Durham Constabulary have examined the circumstances surrounding the journey to Barnard Castle (including ANPR, witness evidence and a review of Mr Cummings’ press conference on 25 May 2020) and have concluded that there might have been a minor breach of the Regulations that would have warranted police intervention. Durham Constabulary view this as minor because there was no apparent breach of social distancing.
Had a Durham Constabulary police officer stopped Mr Cummings driving to or from Barnard Castle, the officer would have spoken to him, and, having established the facts, likely advised Mr Cummings to return to the address in Durham, providing advice on the dangers of travelling during the pandemic crisis. Had this advice been accepted by Mr Cummings, no enforcement action would have been taken.
In line with Durham Constabulary’s general approach throughout the pandemic, there is no intention to take retrospective action in respect of the Barnard Castle incident since this would amount to treating Mr Cummings differently from other members of the public. Durham Constabulary has not taken retrospective action against any other person.
By way of further context, Durham Constabulary has followed Government guidance on management of alleged breaches of the regulations with the emphasis on the NPCC and College of Policing 4Es: Engage, Explain and Encourage before Enforcement.
Finally, commentary in the media has suggested that Mr Cummings was in Durham on 19 April 2020. Mr Cummings denies this and Durham Constabulary have seen insufficient evidence to support this allegation. Therefore Durham Constabulary will take no further action in this matter and has informed Mr Cummings of this decision.

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