A Christian lawyer who worked for Baroness Mone has offered an “unqualified apology” after the Scottish peer admitted at the weekend to having lied to the press.
Jonathan Coad, a well-known media lawyer, said that as a devout Christian he aims to operate faithfully, in truth and integrity, and had accepted the information given to him by his clients, assuming it to be true.
He told Premier, “It is an occupational hazard of any lawyer representing a client that you may be misled by them... as a Christian I know that we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, and that it is only through the sacrifice of Jesus that we are made righteous. It is not for me to judge but rather to pray for all my clients, that they may prosper and come to know the love of God in their lives.”
Through her lawyers, Ms Mone insisted she was not connected to a firm that received PPE contracts worth £200m during the coronavirus pandemic. But in an interview broadcast on Sunday, she admitted that was a lie. She maintained that she had committed no crime, and said she did it to protect her family. She and her husband say they've been made ‘scapegoats’ by the government for other failures during the peak of the Covid outbreak.
An investigation into the circumstances of the contract awarded to her husband’s company, under the ‘VIP PPE’ scheme, is still ongoing.
When the media started making enquiries, Coad, said his client “never had any role or function” in the company. He also said “any suggestion of an association” between Mone and the company would be “inaccurate”, “misleading” and “defamatory”.
In the Guardian newspaper on Wednesday, Coad said he was not aware until recently that he had been misled, and apologised for unwittingly misleading the media.
He said: “I neither knew nor had any reason to believe that my client was not telling me the truth and wrote to your title in good faith … My client was also a member of the House of Lords and had therefore been deemed trustworthy by the state. I was therefore entitled to start with the assumption that she would not mislead me.
“To the extent that I unintentionally misled your colleagues and title, I offer my unqualified apology. I am a devout Christian, and hold to the values of truth and integrity as faithfully as I can.”