David Prior, former MP for North Norfolk, has been exonerated from any involvement in an alleged fraud. On November 14th Mr Prior was arrested with three others following allegations of fraud and financial irregularity at a private psychiatric hospital where he had been the non executive chairman. After an investigation lasting some three months David Prior has been released from police bail and cleared of any involvement in the alleged fraud.
David Prior said: “ I was horrified to be arrested by the police. I had no knowledge of or involvement in the alleged fraud. I am and have always been totally innocent of all the allegations made and am relieved that after extensive investigations no evidence whatsoever has been found to incriminate me in this matter. The last three months have been a nightmare for my family and me in which my entire life has been turned upside down. I have found the whole process massively traumatic. I was arrested in the early hours of the morning, had my house searched, was questioned and held in a police cell, saw my reputation traduced in the local and national media without any opportunity to rebut the false allegations and then had to wait three months for a resolution.
As a qualified lawyer I, of course, accept that the Police have a difficult job to do and that it is inevitable that innocent men and women will be arrested and investigated. However, when you are innocent and on the receiving end, the process and methods employed in a police investigation put massive psychological, financial, business, family and social pressures on the
individuals concerned. There have been many times over the last three months when I have been close to despair and felt that the presumption of innocence, which is the cornerstone of British criminal law, had been lost. I have no complaints to make about any individual police officer. It is the process that they implement that needs reform.”
Never a truer word spoken. And I would also say this about some of the methods used in the ongoing cash for peerages inquiry before anyone suggests otherwise!