04 Mar Elliott Johnson – Coroner’s ruling – explanation
This is a link to the key 8 paragraphs of the Coroner’s ruling.
Explanation of the ruling
The Coroner found that the circumstances of Elliott becoming redundant are to be investigated. . The Coroner has recognised the link between the redundancy letter and an incident on 12 August 2015. Elliott made a complaint about this incident on 12 August 2015. His complaint was that he had been bullied and assaulted by Mark Clarke. Elliott’s employers, Conservative way Forward (CWF), took the complaint to Conservative headquarters.
The Coroner found the redundancy letter was linked to the 12 August 2015 incident, because it said so “in terms”. The first paragraph of the letter, which was read out to the Coroner, reads….. I was asked to review our operational requirements to establish ways to limit your exposure to an external individual following an incident you described which occurred on 12 August 2015”.
The Coroner has therefore found that the allegations of bullying are relevant to his investigation, Elliott’s letter of complaint about it will be considered at the Inquest. However the Coroner has found that “at this stage” it is not necessary to call Andre Walker and Mark Clarke. This is because he does not consider that they could add to the Inquest – he thinks that they would just deny any bullying.
The Coroner has not agreed with the family that as a matter of law Article 3 is engaged and does not consider the Conservative Party investigations into bullying are relevant, one reason is that he thinks the relations between Mark Clarke and Elliott Johnson too remote – unlike, say, if the bullying had been by an employer. However he has decided to investigate central issues ie the circumstances in which Elliott was dismissed.