If website documents are accurate (and they are supposed to be comprehensive), Muir Russell did not meet with Jones, Briffa or Osborn on any occasion subsequent to the press conference on Feb 11, 2010 unveiling the Muir Russell panel – other than perhaps crossing paths at the March 1 Parliamentary hearings.
In January, Nigel Lawson suggested to Muir Russell that, given the importance of his inquiry, he would be wise to take on extra legal expertise, observing (among other points):
It would assist you as chair if someone else experienced in cross examination led the questioning, leaving you free to concentrate on listening to the answers.
Lawson apparently presumed that Muir Russell and all the other panellists would actually attend examinations of Phil Jones, Keith Briffa and Tim Osborn. Documents from the “Inquiry” website show that this was not the case.
Muir Russell was appointed to lead the inquiry in early December 2009. On Dec 18, Muir Russell had 8 meetings at UEA (mostly administrative staff), which included meetings with Jones (chaperoned by the ever-present Trevor Davies) and Briffa (also chaperoned by Trevor Davies). Notes were taken by Lisa Williams of the Registrar’s Office (previously the email address of the Oxburgh inquiry) (Report, Appendix 4), but notes on this meeting have been omitted from the website documents. (I presume that these 8 meetings in one day were merely introductory and that no evidence was taken at these meetings.)
On Jan 27, 2010, prior to the announcement of the panel, Muir Russell visited UEA (accompanied by Jim Norton) for four meetings: one with the Norfolk police, one with the ICO’s office, one with UEA IT staff and one with Jones and Briffa. The minutes of the meeting with Jones and Briffa say that the “purpose of the meeting was exploratory”. Muir Russell did not mention the main issues in the emails (IPCC and proxy reconstructions), referring instead to CRUTEM (mentioned in only 25 emails and only once prior to 2005) and peer review.
There is no evidence that Muir Russell ever saw Jones or Briffa again. Or that he ever met Osborn (or Melvin.)
The Muir Russell panel was announced to considerable fanfare on February 10.
The first (of only two interviews) with CRU took place on March 4. Notes here show that panelists Peter Clarke and Jim Norton interviewed Jones, Osborn and Ian Harris about CRUTEM, stating that the purpose of the meeting was to gain a “bottom up” context for the CRUTEM data sets. Jones commented on Chinese stations. There were no questions about IPCC or reconstructions. Muir Russell did not bother attending.
On March 26, Muir Russell visited UEA, accompanied by David Eyton of BP. The Report (Appendix 4) lists meetings with 9 administrators, but not any meetings with Jones, Briffa or Osborn.
In addition to the listed meetings, a website document shows that Muir Russell and Eyton had a meeting with Vice-Chancellor Acton about the progress of the Inquiry that was not reported in the Report itself, in which access to emails was discussed – more on this theme on another occasion.
On March 30, Muir Russell (accompanied by Norton) met three administrative staff involved in the FOI process (Palmer, Colam-French, McGarvie). This is Muir Russell’s last documented visit to UEA.
On April 9, Geoffrey Boulton (accompanied by Peter Clarke) held the only interview with CRU in which questions about IPCC and proxies were raised. (Curiously, this meeting took place only a couple of days after Oxburgh’s interviews.) Minutes are here, with CRU’s response to the minutes here.
Amazingly for an inquiry, CRU employees were not interviewed separately. Instead Jones, Briffa, Osborn and Melvin were interviewed as a group. Boulton did not allot a full day for interviews with CRU employees as, later in the day, the interview was joined by UEA FOI officers Palmer and Colam-French. The notes conclude:
As time had run out, it was agreed that Professor Boulton would later seek written evidence from Professor Jones and Professor Briffa.
This is the only documented visit of Geoffrey Boulton to UEA and only documented meeting of Boulton with CRU staff. As noted above, Muir Russell (and 2 other panelists) did not bother attending. Boulton did indeed send some follow-up written questions to CRU, Geoffrey Boulton had a number of follow-up inquiries for Jones and Briffa, noting in one letter that at the evidence session itself “it was difficult to pursue issues relating to the IPCC in the detail that is needed by the ICCER”. I’ll discuss these inquiries on another occasion.
Indeed, the April 9 meeting seems to have been the last interview with CRU staff (and the only meeting in which reconstructions and IPCC were discussed.) Indeed, only one further telephone interview with UEA is reported in the Inquiry documents – a June 15 telephone interview with Trevor Davies by Muir Russell and BP’s David Eyton.
Thus, according to website documents, after the introductory meeting on January 27, Muir Russell appears not to have ever met with Jones, Briffa or other CRU scientists again – other than perhaps crossing paths at the March 1 Parliamentary hearings.