Written by E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
It's official. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) in the UK has ruled that the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia broke the law by refusing to comply with data requests properly filed under the UK's Freedom of Information Act.
But there will be no prosecutions. Why? Because the reports came too long after the crimes occurred.
And why did they come too late for action?
Because, as Bishop Hill explains, the culprits made sure they would:
Although withholding or destroying information is a criminal offence under the terms of the Act, apparently no prosecutions can be brought for offences committed more than six months prior. As anyone who has made a UK FoI request knows, it can take six months to exhaust the internal review process before the ICO even becomes involved. The ICO can then take another six months before starting his investigation.
The upshot is that the FoI Act's section allowing criminal prosecutions is to all intents and purposes a dead letter and the ICO officer actually volunteered this conclusion himself - "the Act is flawed" was the way he put it. The ICO is apparently going to take this up with the Ministry of Justice, which is fine but will be of little help for those who are interested in seeing justice done.
In short, a crime occurred. It won't be punished--by British law. But it's likely that Phil Jones, the CRU director who stepped down while the University of East Anglia investigates, will never return to his post. He certainly shouldn't. He and other principals in climategate should, because of their extreme violations of scientific integrity, lose their jobs in scientific research and never get new ones. In the absence of criminal convictions, that will be enough.
About the Cornwall Alliance
Dominion. Stewardship. Conservation.
What do these words mean? How do they interact? And just what is humankind's responsibility to care for God's creation?
In the closing years of the last millennium, these questions gained unprecedented prominence in religious circles as clergy, theologians, and laymen alike grappled to establish a firm environmental ethic. In the face of growing concerns about how our rapidly advancing technologies, coupled with our increasing demand for resources, were impacting creation, yet at the same time trying to balance the need for increased progress and productivity - especially for the world's poorest citizens - many divergent views emerged. Read more.....