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Sunday, 22 May 2016

JERSEY (CI) - FOR DUMMIES


Bishop Tim Dakin

I'll make this short.

Vulnerable lady abused by Churchwarden. She kicks up a fuss, particularly with the Dean of Jersey, head of the Church of England on the island. He is complicit in having her "deported".

Inquiry criticises the Dean. His bishop, Tim Dakin of Winchester, tries to sack him but can't because the Dean is partly directly appointed by the Queen as Jersey is a crown dependency.

Jersey establishment organise another inquiry which is demonstrably biased. Dakin refuses to publish it. Jersey is transferred out of Winchester diocese. Archbishop of Canterbury now reported to have made unreserved apology to the Dean. This is trumpeted as an exoneration of the Dean by the Jersey establishment (Senator and former Bailiff Philip Bailhache) who calls for the publication of the biased report which he claims also exonerates the Dean.

Tim Dakin refuses to accept implied exoneration and makes a new apology to the victim.

That's it in a nutshell and the only authority figure to come out of this with any honour looks like being Tim Dakin.

I explained the background in detail a good while ago and you can read the Jersey Evening Post reports of the Archbishop's apology and Dakin's response.

The original post is here

Saturday, 26 December 2015

That Other Speech


Trevor Pitman


Having reposted Stuart Syvret's 2007 speech to the Jersey Parliament (States) which he was not allowed to deliver, my attention has been drawn, in a comment on that post, to a more recent landmark speech by the then Deputy Trevor Pitman, indicting the perverse Jersey justice system.

This is also a fine speech, delivered in full to the Parliament, and heard without interruption. It is a passionate speech, delivered, I understand, without notes. While it might be best listened to rather than read, given the passion put into it, the available recording, presumably from the Parliament itself, is a lazy piece of work, with auto volume control making it very difficult to hear properly.

The speech was published in both text and audio on 28/9/2013 on Voice for Children's blog.

I have included relevant links at the end of this post.

As the speech was made in the context of a particular debate in the States and as it contains many references to events and persons in Jersey, I think it is necessary, for those readers not fully up to speed on the Jersey situation, to set the speech in context.

Deputy Trevor Pitman and his wife Shona, then also a Deputy, have been in the forefront of the fight for justice in Jersey. He is one of a small number of parliamentarians and bloggers who have been attempting to expose the grossly deficient and corrupt justice system on the island.

Along with former Minister and Senator Stuart Syvret he has been hounded out of parliament. Trevor and his wife have literally been bankrupted, which has effectively excluded them from the parliament.

While it is a saga in itself the story of the Pitmans' fatal run in with the powers that be in Jersey is as follows.


That cartoon

Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman claimed that they were defamed by a cartoon commissioned by Broadlands estates agency for an advertisement published in the JEP on Christmas Eve 2008. The relevant part of the cartoon is shown above. The Pitmans claimed it accused them of entering politics purely for the money and was defamatory. The Pitmans lost their case and were ultimately bankrupted over the costs and consequently excluded from parliament. The fairness of the whole procedure is for another day but I personally think that Trevor was set up and the way in which the judgement was implemented saw the State gleefully, and perversely, claiming its pound of flesh.

Anyway, to the speech itself.

It arose in the context of the following proposition

The States are asked to decide whether they are of opinion that, within the Executive branch of Government, the Chief Minister is responsible for justice policy and resources, as clarified in the accompanying report.

It seems that, while the Minister for Home Affairs is responsible for the implementation of justice, the whole question of justice policy and ministerial accountability for it was a bit up in the air to say the least. What the proposition is effectively saying is that, in the absence of a separate justice ministry - something proposed earlier by Senator Farnham - this overarching responsibility should reside with the Chief Minister (Senator Gorst). It was apparently envisaged that this would not in any way affect the current responsibilities of the Home Affairs Minister in this area; it would simply close a gap that had appeared in the transition from the earlier form of committee government to a ministerial one.

As to the broader "constitutional" structure of the island. It is a crown dependency which means that the island's government is directly the responsibility of the Queen. She keeps an eye on them through her Lieutenant Governor. She appoints the chief officers such as the Bailiff (chief honcho, chief judge, and speaker of the States). She is responsible for good governance on the island, which function she has delegated to her UK Justice Minister (though Jersey is not part of the UK) and final appeal from the Jersey courts is to her Privy Council (though, as a matter of course, they redirect all complaints/appeals back to the Jersey authorities for decision).

The Greffier is the clerk and record keeper of the States Assembly, effectively the head of the administration of the parliament. It was he, in the absence of the Bailiff/Speaker, who chaired the session below.

The reference to data protection is to its misuse in an attempt to silence Stuart Syvret and have his blog taken down. The Data Commissioner virtually invited people to come forward with complaints and then financed them out of public funds to have a go at Syvret in the courts. Four out of five invitees went along with this, and a motlier bunch you would not find.

Reference to the Deputy from Grouville is to Stuart Syvret's former partner Carolyn Labey, who says in the debate that she has no problem with the present proposition.

I hope the above is enough to set the context for the speech.

Hansard reproduces it as a single paragraph, but that is quite a difficult format to absorb in a blog post, so I have attempted to paragraph it purely for ease of reading.




SPEECH
by Deputy Trevor Pitman
in States of Jersey (Parliament)
on 25 September 2013



2.1.11 Deputy T.M. Pitman:

It is ironic, after allowing a lot of people to be betrayed yet again, as we did earlier, here we are talking about justice and yet it is all going to be done and dusted in about 10 minutes.

The fact is, in my opinion and in a growing number of the victims of the Jersey justice system, there is zero accountability to those at the top of the justice system in Jersey. It is a very scary, frightening fact. I do not know if the Chief Minister kids himself, but he is not in control here. The political power in this Island lies with the law office; it is an absolute fact, certainly as far as enforcement of its will. As has been said, and I never used to believe this, but it is all too often a tool of oppression.

It is a great example here today of how we could be saving money and how we do not need the Bailiff; the Greffier and his Assistant are proving that admirably. We do not need any individual in a red cloak. I will be quite honest, the reason I did not come to the special sitting last week, I find it highly offensive to see a judge, any judge - and this is not a personal thing - as our first citizen in the 21st century. It is absolutely ludicrous.

I supported Senator Farnham’s idea for a Minister for Justice, but this is one of those watered-down fudges, and I think he is putting a brave face on and trying to be nice about perhaps convincing himself, wishing to convince himself that this is all going to move in a positive direction. I think he is mistaken in that.

Senator Gorst, well, I told him yesterday I was not going to support this because I voted for him, as he knows, and I have been appalled that I did vote for him. He is, in my view - I have to say that or I will get into trouble - utterly too weak to ensure justice in this Island. If Members ask themselves when do you hear the Chief Minister talk about justice, speak out about it and upholding it? Practically never.

You cannot go against the rule of the Bailiff. It is one of the most striking things when you come into this Assembly: the ridiculous and quite offensive deference that is given to someone just because he is a judge. Let us put it quite clearly: the Bailiff deserves no such deference, any Bailiff. He is just a judge, and yet he can interfere, he can block what elected representatives to this Assembly say and ask.

As we saw yesterday in a quite embarrassing display, the justice system in this Island is so appalling that when the Bailiff fails appallingly, you can only go and take those failings to the Bailiff. It is a bit like déjà vu when I remember back years ago when Senator Syvret was forced out of the States for 6 months, in 1996 I think it was. Who could he ultimately appeal to about that? Probably the same man who many would say was instrumental in him being removed from that Assembly.

This cannot be trusted to the Chief Minister’s Department because the Chief Minister just does not appear to have the will, the determination and the courage to do the job. He is too weak. That might upset some people, but I have to speak the truth, that is what we are meant to do here, are we not?

Where is the judicial accountability now? There is none whatsoever. We have a U.K. Minister for Justice who is meant to intervene when he should but he does nothing, and you cannot go through an appeal system.

We heard a really brilliant example of how the Jersey justice system is dysfunctional when we had to hear the desperation ... if you do not get what you think you should have, you can go to the Privy Council or then to Strasbourg, like those poor victims up there today. It is a bit late by then because you cannot challenge failings properly. People have had their lives ruined by then.

Is the Chief Minister going to put that right? No, because he is one of those who I believe strongly is absolutely frightened to death of the aura of the Bailiff and all that it suggests. The Bailiff has only got that deference from people because of the dual role. We talk about in this report from the Chief Minister that you have got to have that independence between Judiciary and politics.

Does he not ever look at the individual and what that represents sitting in that chair every session, the hypocrisy and absolute comical farce of what he is saying? I cannot remember who said it, it might have been Deputy Tadier, it might have been Deputy S. Pitman, but you would have a Minister still being controlled on issues of justice by an unelected judge.

There is no place for this in the 21st century. I am sorry the Deputy of Grouville cannot see the problem with it; just about any other right-thinking person can see the problem with it: it is a person wearing 2 hats at one time, it is an unelected judge being involved where he has absolutely no right.

It might have been okay in the 17th century when we were all meant to tug our forelock to our betters, but it is not okay now. Well, I could not tug my forelock, but there we go; I may doff my cap. I cannot afford a cap, but there we go.

It makes me so frustrated to say we will happily sit here and discuss ourselves for weeks on end, we will discuss dog mess for hours or days, and justice ... hardly anyone speaks.

Let us spell out the facts again: there are only about 5 of us in here who ever stand up for justice, and we are made out to be some kind of radicals, we are out to destroy known civilisation. No, for those of us who talk about justice, it is because we care about our Island.

The rest, and I am sorry, that is 95 per cent of the States Assembly, fall into 2 categories: people who just keep their head down, they are too scared; to protect the status quo they will say nothing. Or, it has to be said, people who perhaps do not care about justice at all, which is even worse.

Some of those people who we were debating earlier said to me yesterday: “For too many people, it is only when an injustice happens to them that they realise what is going on in this Island.” That is because in the mainstream media they do not report on the true facts.

Again, they have got a huge responsibility, they have more power than we have but they do not talk about the real issues: “Let us just keep attacking the 4 or 5 loony lefties who keep going on about child abuse and the dual role.”

If I am to support this, Chief Minister, what are you going to do about all that? What are you going to do about all these issues? As we heard, the Chief Minister cannot go against the word of the Bailiff, so how is this being under his sway, how is his control going to differ?

I was at that meeting the Deputy referred to; he acknowledged there were huge areas that needed to be changed, but would he do them? We have Jurats elected by lawyers; that is crazy, it does not even happen in Guernsey, and some people are always mocking Guernsey for what they do. How can you have lawyers choosing people they are then going to be pitching to win their case to later?

It is absolutely bonkers. The Jurat Law; what stops you being a Jurat? If you have received assistance from the 1948 Poor Law, it does not matter if you are Jimmy Savile, you are in, you are a pillar of society. That is what it comes down to, in essence: no convictions against Mr. Savile so he probably would have been welcomed as a pillar of the community.

Sorry if some of this is uncomfortable, but it is true. I have got so many cases now on justice, I admit - and I will use this to apologise to some people I have not even been able to get back to, because I am being overwhelmed and I know Deputy Higgins has got a huge number - they are diverse and they are shocking.

What is being done about it? What have successive Chief Ministers done about the injustice in this Island? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

Justice in Jersey is made up as we go ... a phenomenon which some people may not be aware of: judge-made law. It is a great example of what happens in Jersey: rulings, decisions given by judges that have absolutely no visible link to the laws that were passed by Assemblies such as ours.

Who challenges it? Is the Chief Minister going to challenge it? No, because he is not strong enough, and I put my trust in him, and this is not a personal thing either. I put my trust in him when he was making his pitch to be Chief Minister and on the key issues, justice, like for the abuse victims, he has really done nothing.

He expressed his satisfaction, his contentment with the case against former Senator Syvret. I do not agree with a lot of what Mr. Syvret has done, but I will stand with him on justice issues.

Regularly, there is a gentleman who sits up there who can show you his many consistent statements made to the police about, as a child, being pinned down and having blood trickling down his legs after he had been abused.

The person who he alleges, and more than a dozen others allege is an abuser, is still employed by the States of Jersey, has still got access to children.

How is the Chief Minister and his legal team, who are meant to be doing redress, treating that man? Well, he is accused of never being at Haut de la Garenne. It is only other people who were at Haut de la Garenne who would remember him there. Has he had sympathy? Has he had compassion? No. I will tell you what has happened to him: he has been threatened by the legal team that if he did not drop his allegations, he would be prosecuted and could end up in prison.

Justice in Jersey? Utter farce. Yet we are satisfied for the secret court case against Mr. Syvret. Of course, one of those people given such huge financial assistance is the very man that so many people have accused. That same case -if we are talking justice, Chief Minister - why is it that there is a letter in existence pitching for individuals to come in and put the case together and decide how they would get Mr. Syvret? Five people invited; one of them refused. Proxies; are those what they were?

I happened to believe that some of them, certainly a couple, have got cases for what has been done to them. They may have cases to answer on the accusations against them. The best way to have done that would be before a court. As I have said before, then Mr. Syvret could have been taken to account if what he said was completely wrong and those people could have earned justice.

But no, what do we do? Justice in Jersey, Chief Minister, we have secret court cases. I do hope he is going to do the decent thing and resign when we get the true figures about how much this has all cost, because the question is already in for next session. He wants to control justice.

Why is it that data protection and this access ... and it is all very well for him to chuckle over there, perhaps it is how he usually takes justice. Why is it that data protection ... this assistance is not available to all?

One of the individuals who was given money - Members might not know - is the scourge of innocent people in this Island. He has been intercepted by the police threatening ex-partners; does not get charged. He sends out posters to decent, ordinary people about threats to women; does not get charged. He puts hate sites up on the internet which emails stolen from one of our own Members end up on. Does not get charged.

When I went and made a complaint about him, the senior police officer went and looked and he was shocked at the amount of complaints against this individual, so he could see it was just not me. Put the case to the Attorney General’s office; no case to answer.

Perhaps that explains, for all his faults, why Mr. Syvret went down the route he did, because it all comes back down to this image, hardly anyone wants to risk challenging Jersey’s fluffy image as a shining beacon of democracy, as I think former Senator Perchard said.

The way you improve your image is by confronting the things that are wrong, and that is what me, and those few other Members who stand up and talk about justice, do. Of course, we get pilloried by the Jersey Evening Post, pilloried by other Members, former judges.

There is a wonderful little clip if Members get bored: go and look at YouTube and they will see a wonderful little clip of a former chief judge in Jersey and he is giving a talk to, I assume, the Law Society or a collection of lawyers, and he laughs and he gets a huge, great ripple of applause: “When I was a judge and the law was silent, I did what everyone did, I made it up because that is what everyone else did”; is that justice? People laugh.

A chief judge, or a former chief judge ... I must not get into trouble, I must go down the magistrate route of today, confusing individuals. It is funny, just on the news today the former assistant magistrate is out of prison already, laughing all the way to the bank, while those people we have sent away with their tails between their legs are going home. One of them is on to income support as a result, she was telling me.

This makes me furious, these tick-box propositions that come back pretending to do something when the proof of the pudding is that this Chief Minister never stands up for justice ever, even when it is wrong. He is controlled by the law office, in my view. He does not have the courage to challenge things that are wrong.

Why am I not going to support this? It is not because I do not support Senator Farnham’s original idea, I do, though I ask the question, how many in this Assembly could do that job, 4 or 5, because most - and I mean that as no offence to any particular Member - have not got the courage and the conviction to stand up, as I do, so often.

But this is just a fob, it is a fudge. It is another one of the Chief Minister’s cop-outs. Why did we have a Minister for External Relations when we have not even got a Minister for Children? Far more important. Why have we not got a Minister for Justice? Far more important than giving someone a title to do a job that, let us be honest, Senator Ozouf has been doing a pretty good job before we even had this Assistant External Affairs Minister.

I say to Members, do not support this, force the Chief Minister to come back with something that is fit for the 21st century. Make him come back with something which will provide justice for all.

I think it was Deputy Le Fondré who today said when would justice purely relate to how much money people have got? Well, that happens all the time in Jersey. Many of us in St. Helier see constituents. If they cannot afford to pay for lawyers and they get legal aid, they really may as well give up, because you will get a lawyer who is generally completely not interested or they are so young and inexperienced, it will probably do more harm to your case. If you are in the middle, you are even worse.

Some people would say the Jersey system is bent. I do not say it is bent, because if you imply that, then you think it could be put back into shape.

The Jersey justice system needs a full Turks and Caicos style intervention by the U.K.

We need the U.K. Minister for Justice to fulfil his mandate.

We need the Lieutenant Governor to fulfil the powers that he has got - and I like this Lieutenant Governor, I have had some lengthy conversations with him - but if he does not step in when he should, then what are we paying a great deal of money for?

We need a Minister for Justice, but I think it should be appointed from the U.K. because it is entrenched here, it is so entwined, political power with judicial power, that it cannot be done safely otherwise.

Now I think I will sit down and let our former Chief Judge attack me, as he does so often.



Links

Voice for Children blog has reported the speech, including audio, here.

The comments on that blog post are well worth a read

The full debate in the States is also worth a read.

You can listen to the speech on Youtube, and it will give you an idea of its passion, but it is an irritating recording, and so it is probably best read.

You can get an extended summary of the court case here.




The original post is here.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

GOING, GOING, GONE !


Graham Power

If you already feel saturated by the Jersey scene, just skip this posting. If, like me, you find it rivals Dungeons and Dragons, read on.

I have been puzzling over both the fact and the timing of Graham Power's suspension and I just can't make sense of it. It is not quite keeping me awake at night, but like that final elusive word in a big crossword, is not helping me to get to sleep either.

So I have tried below to put some of my confused thoughts on paper in the hope that this would crystalise them, but I am still as puzzled as ever.

Person 737

One commentator is convinced that the suspension was brought about to stymie the imminent arrest of the well known influential islander currently identified as “737” in the documents published by the Jersey Inquiry. This does not make sense to me.

Evidence to the current inquiry suggests that Power was taking a very hands off approach to Operation Rectangle. He had almost fully handed over the running of the inquiry to his deputy, and successor designate, David Warcup and the SIO was Mick Gradwell who had replaced Lenny Harper. Both of these officers have complained about Power's reluctance to involve himself in Operation Rectangle at that stage.

So getting rid of Power would not have affected any such arrest which he was presumably not pushing for in the first place. In the event, the suspect remained on Gradwell's task list for interview under caution in the first week of December 2008, even after Power's suspension in early November. Of course, we don't know if 737 was actually interviewed, just that the paper intention was still there after Power's suspension.

Abuse of Process

An alternative suggestion is that Lenny Harper's allegedly exaggerated, and uncorrected, revelations about HDLG, along with their further amplification by the press, risked having some upcoming trials dismissed in the face of a likely plea of abuse of process by the defence lawyers.

The thinking here seems to be that the uncorrected sensationalism (murders etc.) surrounding Operation Rectangle was giving rise to (i) hostile hysteria, and (ii) a feeling that the police were “rushing to judgement” and bringing unjustifiable charges. Either or both of these being factors which could prejudice a fair trial,

Warcup and Gradwell, following legal advice, were adamant that these “revelations” had to be publicly corrected before the trials. To that end they organised a press conferencee, against Power's advice, to correct matters and incidentally rubbish much of Operation Rectangle. Power claims that he had no problem with the original script he was shown for the press conference but that what was said at the actual press conference itself flew in the face of what he had been shown.

He could therefore be presumed to be very annoyed at the outcome. But what action could he have taken? What could he have done that would require his suspension to stop him doing it?

So I'm not really convinced by that explanation either.


The Met Report

Then there is the “Met Report” in which the London Met were supposed to have severely criticised the running of Operation Rectangle and in particular the actions of Harper and Power. As I recall that “report” had not been received until after the initial drafting of the letters suspending Power, though Gradwell's own written report and Warcup's views would have been available at the time.

However, the terms of the Met inquiry precluded its use for any disciplinary purpose. Any such use would put the whole system of non-disciplinary peer inspection in jeopardy throughout the entire UK police force.

So, the Met "report" was not available when the plot was hatched and it seems to have been hastily seized on when it arrived to bolster complaints against Power.

For clarity here it should be said that this was not a final report, rather a very initial draft, that the Met subsequently said did not criticise Harper or Power. In fact it was subsequently withdrawn by a Met which was very annoyed at the use to which it had been put.

Mystery

So the mystery of Power's suspension and it's timing remains.

Clearly the politicians, and some of his own immediate subordinates, wanted rid of him. The prime movers had even organised the resignation of the then Home Affairs Minister, Wendy Kinnard, and replaced her with a more pliable alternative, Andrew Lewis, to make sure Power got ditched.

But why? He was apparently operating in a very hands off way, having turned almost everything over to his successor, David Warcup. He says himself that he would have gone quietly at that time if he has been asked politely to retire. It was only the method of his dispatch that got his back up.

The only advantage, for the administration, of suspension over retirement or dismissal, was that it kept Power on the books and limited the extent to which he could go public with any grievances. Dismissal, in any case, would have involved getting parliamentary approval and God knows what might have come out in the wash.

But it is still not clear why he had to go, and in such an apparently tight timeframe.

A Cock Up?

The only explanation that might make sense would be that 737 panicked at the thought of being brought into play by Harper and Power and instructed, somewhere along the way, that they be got rid of or neutralised.

Then Harper had retired and Power was more or less out of it, but this feedback was either not understood or resisted and the instruction maintained. So the administration had to figure out a way to get Power off the stage and ensure he was kept quiet, and suspension was the magic bullet.

Maybe I'm missing something very obvious here. If so I hope someone tells me what it is.

By the way, for all you crossword fans out there. The Jersey Inquiry's redactions relating to person 737 have now been rendered moot as his identity was publicly revealed late last month at an offshore event in London.

I have commented on Graham Power's evidence to the Jersey Inquiry here.

Original post here.


Saturday, 19 December 2015

That Speech

Following the recent death of a child abuse survivor, who was one of the first to alert Stuart Syvret to what had been going on on the Island of Jersey for decades, Stuart has done an initial posting/tribute.

In the course of this he has reproduced the full text of the speech that he had prepared in 2007 for his Father of the House Christmas speech in the Jersey Parliament (States).

Those who have been following the Jersey saga will know that, when he tried to deliver the speech in the States, he was persistently heckled by members and eventually had his microphone turned off by the Speaker (Bailiff).

He first published the text in 2008, and while I was aware of it, this is my first time actually reading it.

I am reproducing the text below as it is a speech that deserves to be widely read. It is thoughtful, considered, angry and well crafted.

It reminds me of Edmund Burke's speeches to the British Parliament on the question of government and consent in the matter of the American colonies. I studied one of those in college many years ago and it, and others in the series, have always remained with me as fine examples of oratory, not just in the expression but in the content.



CHRISTMAS 2007

FATHER OF THE HOUSE SPEECH
TO THE STATES ASSEMBLY
BY
SENATOR STUART SYVRET

Sir, Your Excellency, fellow members – but especially the people we are here to represent,

As Father of the House, it is customary for the senior Senator to lead the seasonal exchange of greetings with which we end the year.

In these addresses, it is common to reflect upon the year past – and to contemplate the coming year. And it is the birth of Christ that we mark with these reflections and which we celebrate in this season of goodwill.

Christ taught many things in the course of His life. Amongst His teachings was the virtue of honesty.

For even though I am an ordinary, fallible person, with no particular religious convictions, still, I could not stand here and falsely claim that the past year has been an episode upon which we, as an assembly, could look back upon with satisfaction – or even self-respect. This has not been a year in which we have displayed wisdom, compassion or even basic common sense.

As is now public knowledge, we as a society – Jersey – this community – have begun the awful task of facing up to decades – at least – of disgraceful failure – and worse – towards children.

I will not refer to my personal experiences of 2007; perhaps I will speak of such things on another occasion.

Instead, I wish to speak of the children, the victims, the innocent – the many – who have been catastrophically failed by the edifice of public administration in Jersey – year in and year out. Decade after decade.

We like to imagine ourselves as being some kind of model community; a safe, well-governed and happy group of people. Whilst I cannot speak in detail of individual sufferings now; nor of the many betrayals – I can say this: that as far as I am aware the coming months and years are going to require the most painful reconsideration of our communal values, our competence – and our collective ethics.

Indeed, I am not aware of a more wretched and shocking example of communal failure in the entire 800 year history of Jersey as a self-governing jurisdiction.

How much worse could things be than the systemic decades-long betrayal of the innocents?

As we approach the birthday of Christ, we should reflect upon his words. When on an occasion, some little children were brought to Jesus, Jesus’ disciples became angry and rebuked those who had brought the children into Christ‘s presence. Scriptures then tell us, “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them “ Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Jesus is also recorded as saying, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name received me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”

I would hope that these simple words – that place children and their welfare at the heart of human values – could be accepted by any decent person – regardless of their particular religious thoughts or beliefs.

Greater minds than mine have said that we may gauge the quality of a society by how it treats its children. Having learnt what I have learnt in the course of this year I have to say that our smug self-satisfaction as a charitable and civilised community in fact conceals a festering canker. For though it would be bad enough for us to have amongst our midst’s the abusers that are to be found in all societies – the victims in Jersey have been doubly betrayed – betrayed with indifference, betrayed with contempt, betrayed with the naked and idle self-interest of an administration that should have been protecting these – the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

Sir, some people seem to enjoy being politicians. This is not a view I ever understood. My 17 years as a States member have, to me, been a fairly consistent period of struggle; on some occasions so Kafkaesque, so dispiriting that many times I just wished to cast it all aside and seek a civilised occupation instead. But nothing – nothing – nothing in those 17 years even begins to approach the sheer existential bleakness of this year; of trying to contact, to listen to, to help so many people whose childhoods and lives were wrecked by abuse – often abuse at the hands of the States of Jersey and its employees – and doubly wrecked by the conspiracy of cover-ups engaged in by public administration.

A few brave people – front-line staff, victims, and whistle-blowers began to bring these failings to my attention. As my understanding developed, I took extremely high-powered specialist advice on child protection issues – and I think this assembly should acknowledge with gratitude the involvement of Chris Callender, Andrew Nielson and their leader, Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform. The support and guidance of the Howard League was a great source of strength to me and those whom I was working with in Jersey.

Likewise Professor June Thoburn, who agreed to bring her world-renowned expertise to the post of Chair of the Jersey Child Protection Committee.

In particular I believe we should acknowledge the bravery, integrity and unshakable commitment to child welfare exhibited by Simon Bellwood. He alone – amongst the entire panoply of the child “protection” apparatus in Jersey – said that the way we were treating children in custody was simply wrong. He alone took a stand against the appalling ill-treatment of children who needed care – not abuse. That he was sacked for his efforts really speaks volumes, and illustrates well the ethical void within the system we are responsible for.

Sir, I repeat, we must focus upon the victims – and the friends and families who suffered along with them.

For a period of many months, I investigated these issues – and the more I investigated – the greater became my alarm and anger at what I was learning from people throughout our society. Jersey being the kind of place where many people know other people, the chains of contacts which developed – the networks of victims and witnesses simply grew and grew. Sometimes new revelations occurred – almost by the hour.

As I met, and spoke with people of all ages – young teenagers to retired people – it became clear to me that what we were facing was something far worse than occasional, isolated instances of abuse. What Jersey had tolerated in its midst was a culture of disregard, abandonment and contempt for children – especially those children in need; the vulnerable; the defenceless. During these dark days, when I contemplated how people could treat children in these ways, I was often reminded of the words of Sartre, when he said “hell is other people”.

But, the strength and bravery of the many victims was a source of strength to me as I contemplated several years of bitter struggle against the Establishment, who were clearly going to use the predictable range of oppressions against me in an effort to keep the truth concealed.

So when the States of Jersey Police Force took me into their confidence and gave me a comprehensive briefing about the work they were doing – it was as though a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I had been steeling myself for years of struggle to expose the truth and to seek justice for the victims. The realisation that I was not going down this road alone was a tremendous release – to me – and to the victims. So I must pay tribute to the leadership of the Police Force. This time – finally – there is no hiding place.

During my work I have had conversations with people – teenagers, parents, young adults and older people. People from all parts of society and all backgrounds. Many of these people – victims and witnesses – naturally enough found speaking about their experiences extremely difficult; and many of them were, and are, reluctant to become identified. Likewise the many brave front-line staff who still contact me regularly – notwithstanding the blocking by management of e-mails sent to me by Health & Social Services staff from their work computers.

Such is the climate of fear that victims, witnesses and decent staff experience, that very many of the meetings I have taken part in – have had to be arranged in great secrecy. For example, one brave employee who gave me very important information, made initial contact with me via a text-message sent from her daughter’s mobile phone.

I went about the back-streets, the housing estates, the tenement blocks, the foul, overcrowded and exploitative “lodging houses” in which the poor in Jersey often dwell. And I listened to people opening up; often for the first time in their lives speaking of what they experienced – what they saw – and how they had been failed by everyone. For many of these people, I was the first person in authority they felt able to speak to about what happened to them.

I listened to things – things sometimes said through tears – that I hope never to have to hear again.

As time passed, I found myself moving from these dark rendezvous with witnesses – going amongst the soaked and blackened streets – experiencing encounters with victims – and clandestine meetings with brave whistle-blowing front-line staff.

In the early stages of this odyssey – this drizzle-soaked sodium-lit quest amongst the night roads and back alleys of St. Helier – in the unspoken underbelly of Jersey – I realised what I was seeking – and finding – were ghosts.

Shades and spectres – the vaporous trails of long-departed children – still haunting the outer shells of people I met. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of these ghost children – in eye – or word – or gesture – and you want to reach out to them – but these burnt and vanished phantoms disappear into the scars, the tattoos, the needle marks, the self-harm lacerations, the haunted faces and the wrecked lives.

Although many of the people I met are in their twenties, thirties, forties, fifties and sixties – I cannot but see them as children still. And many of these children have passed through the hands of the States of Jersey ‘system’ – I cannot bring myself to use the phrase “care”. Some of these children ended in custody for minor offences – and such was the cruelty, abuse, neglect and violence they suffered – many went on to become habitual criminals. When many of these people explained their criminal life-styles, they did so with humility, many candidly use the phrase ‘we were no angels’, and they have said they were not proud of the things they have done. But as a States member – I cannot look at these people – these victims – and not ask myself the awful question: “had these vulnerable, confused and angry children been treated with love and respect and care by the States, perhaps they would have avoided criminal life-styles; perhaps they would not be – in many cases – alcoholics, drug addicts – often broken and shattered beings, wrestling with mental health issues.”

Could I – could any of us – say with confidence that our failures have not contributed to, or led to, such tragic outcomes for so many people?

No, we cannot say that. We must, at the last, admit the awful truth that many of our regular inmates at La Moye Prison are there because of what we – the States of Jersey – did to them as vulnerable children – in the time in their lives when they most needed love, care, support & nurturing.

Amongst our victims have been many many children who had not misbehaved; children who had to be taken into “care” for their protection; or children who had to be taken into the States-run institutions because of the death of their parent. I have met with siblings who’s mother died of cancer when they were little children. I have met with several of the victims of this particular States-run institution. But when I met with the brother & sister – now adults – and listened to their experiences – all I could feel were two things: shame – that the States of Jersey allowed these things to be done to them – and anger that upon the tragedy of the death of these young children’s mother from cancer – we – the States – heaped violence, cruelty, battery and abuse upon these already bereaved children who needed our care, support & love.

Towards the end of my conversation with them – they embraced tearfully, and the brother repeated a vow that no one would ever harm his sister again.

That meeting took place in a room in this building. And I confess at that moment I seriously considered walking from the door and never setting foot in this place again.

Another, older, man I met explained his experiences of being a resident in Haute de la Garenne in the mid-nineteen sixties. Even for the “standards” of the day, the treatment of the children there was barbaric & cruel – at best; for worse things happened.

What really struck me about my meeting with this man was that he was not especially bothered at the treatment he received. I was touched and moved that his overriding concern was – and still is to this day – the fate of his best friend in that institution. He gave me the name, and some details, such as he could recall, from these days far ago in his childhood.

I was able to look into what happened to this boy who was in our care in Haute de la Garenne in the mid-sixties. Little information was available, but the Office of the Deputy Viscount was able to supply me with the following facts:

Michael Bernard O’CONNELL
  • Aged 14 years
  • Died on 7th or 8th October 1966, by hanging from a tree, off Rue des Haies in Trinity.
  • Inquest held on 17th October 1966.

The memory of this young man is kept alive by his friends – children – people who had similar experiences and who – in the midst of their own struggles with their lives – keep the flame of their friend burning.

But let no one imagine that the things of which we speak are confined to the past; an age of dark and sick attitudes. No – today we have the very same problems.

Recently, I made the appointment and accompanied a young man to the police station so he could add his experiences to the present investigations. This young man had fallen foul of the law in some very minor ways as a young child – and thus he suffered the awful fate of falling into the maw of the so-called youth “justice” system of Jersey. Such was the counter-productive barbarity of the treatment meted out to him – and others like him – that his behaviour became more angry, bitter and lawless. At various stages he passed through Les Chenes and then Greenfields. This young man was, at one stage, held in near complete isolation for two months – passages of solitary confinement which went on for weeks. Having induced – unsurprisingly – a complete mental collapse in this child through this solitary confinement – the response of the institution to his needs was to send a “councillor” from CAMHS to speak with him – for half-an-hour – once-a-week.

As I listened to him recount his experiences over about 2 hours to the police officers who were conducting the initial interview, I kept looking at the vast cross-hatchings of self-harm scars which make his left arm look like a road map of New York, and I listened to him explain how he lay bleeding from these wounds alone in his cell and untended – as a child – I looked at him and I thought “we have done this to him”; “we have wrecked his life”.

It is striking just how many people who passed through the hands of the States of Jersey as innocent children emerged from the other side of that experience, bitter, angry, contemptuous and lawless. Former inmates – current inmates – and those about to become inmates – many many of them are our victims.

Society has a low regard for those who break the law, and that view is routinely echoed in this chamber. So it is not often a member asks us to reflect upon those who have crossed the law and to consider that amongst these people are many – far too many – children who were broken and betrayed in so many ways – especially by the States.

For amongst these people who find themselves imprisoned, these adults cast adrift – within them linger still the ghosts of the children they were – and the spectres of what they should have been.

So Sir – today – the expression of seasonal goodwill, the greeting, the recognition and the charity I stand to offer goes, from me at least, to all the victims of abuse, all those who have suffered – and all those whose childhood experiences have led them to become prisoners. Those who have languished in La Moye – or who are still there now – I want them to know that if their lives are wrecked, their actions driven by the nightmares of their childhoods – some of us understand. Some of us recognise them as victims – tragically and shamefully – often victims of the States of Jersey.

I wish to finish by quoting the final verse of a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter:
Somewhere in a dream like this
The light of love leads us home
Broken worlds will not be fixed
Vengeance take us as thy own
We’re just like beggars now
On our knees we hear our names
God forgives somehow
We have yet to learn the same.

Excerpt from Dead Man Walking by
Mary Chapin Carpenter

Senator Stuart Syvret
Christmas address to States of Jersey
2007

Original post here

Saturday, 5 December 2015

POWER POINTS


Graham Power
Click on any image for a larger version

Background

In 2000 Graham Power was recruited from the Scottish Police to take over as Jersey's Chief of Police. This was against a background where the Jersey administration knew there was a problem both within the police force and in policing on the Island.

Jersey is a small tight community ruled by a few families and there can be a general resentment of people or ideas imported from other jurisdictions. Scotland, however, has its own legal system distinct from that of England and Wales and this was a factor in Power's favour. It was expected that he would be adaptable and sensitive to the local environment, at least up to a point.



Lenny Harper

When Power felt he needed a strong Deputy, in 2002, he recruited Lenny Harper, who was then with the Scottish Force, but who had served in the London Met and the Northern Ireland RUC.

The pair were in the process of cleaning up the Jersey scene when the child abuse scandal broke in 2007. At first the police operation (Rectangle) was covert. The rationale was to get it established without political interference and then launch it in public with such a high profile that it would have its own momentum and in this way not be subject to political interference. The fear of political interference came from Jersey being a small community where the concept of the rule of law was tempered by kinship and proximity. There was also a fear, in this case, that many prominent people could ultimately be found wanting in the area of child protection.

To cut a long story short, the island administration finally came to the conclusion that the high profile investigation, accompanied by some riveting, if not entirely evidence based publicity, was shafting the island's reputation internationally. This was a serious problem as Jersey was highly reliant on its financial sector, effectively a tax haven.

Within a fairly short space of time, the Health Minister who had responsibility for child protection and who was not only supportive of the police investigation but had carried out his own investigation, was dumped. The Home Affairs Minister, also supportive of the police, resigned under pressure, to be replaced by more pliant successors. The Deputy Police Chief (Harper) retired in the normal course but was subject to a concerted campaign of maligning by the administration. And finally the Police Chief (Power) was himself suspended from duty in a rushed, botched and illegal operation by the administration. Following all this, the police operation was shut down and life appeared to have returned to normal.



Frances Oldham, Chair of Inquiry

But the thing just won't go away. Following pressure from a variety of sources within Jersey, and particularly a few parliamentarians and a group of bloggers who just wouldn't let go, a public inquiry into child abuse by State run institutions was eventually set up.

Effectively, this was to determine (i) the extent of child abuse that occurred since the end of WWII (ii) who had been responsible (iii) if the State's response had been adequate, and free from political interference and coverup and (iv) what should be done next.

In its first phase the inquiry, apart from scoping its work, heard from survivors of child sex abuse. In its present phase it is examining the role of those on the State side with responsibility for this area. And that is where the former Police Chief comes in. He has just given his oral testimony, over a day and a half, and this, along with some 1,200 pages of background documentation which he submitted to the inquiry, is now online.

I have just finished reading that material and I am setting out below some of the points that struck me as particularly interesting.

For those who may wish to go directly to the source, documentation it is available online as follows: documentation submitted by Power (PDF 67MB); day one transcript (PDF 580KB); day two transcript (PDF 643KB).

Power's Submission

Power's submission consists of

(i) a personal statement on oath. This is 181 pages long and is a serious indictment of the administration.
(ii) a further 1,026 pages of backup documents, some of which are particularly revealing:
  • Decision by Complaints Board on request for dates of suspension letters.
    This may sound trivial but it shows the lengths to which the régime will go in an attempt to protect its own wrong doings. It contains blatantly ridiculous reasons for refusing access to the information sought. It may, however, have attained one of its goals, ie obstructive delay. I have looked at this in more detail under the suspension heading further down this post.
  • Report of the Wiltshire Constabulary on the conduct of the child abuse operation (Operation Rectangle).
    This report was commissioned by the Jersey administration to provide the basis for disciplinary action against Power. It is a flawed report which judges Power (and Harper) against criteria which apply to the police in England and Wales, but not in Scotland, and particularly not in Jersey. It is therefore very critical of both CO Power and DCO/SIO Harper. Power is seen as weak and not properly supervising Harper. Harper is seen as headstrong and resisting appropriate oversight and customary checks and balances. The report accuses them of a lack of strategy for dealing with the evolving inquiry, sloppy paperwork, and their risking jeopardising upcoming court cases by leaving the States of Jersey Police open to accusations of abuse of process, where their "sensationalist" publicity could preclude a fair trial.

    Presentation of the report faced the authorities with a dilemma. If they chose to act on it and further discipline Power, they were admitting that English standards and procedures were all applicable in Jersey. If they chose not to act on it they were exposing its flawed terms of reference and the waste of £1m on a useless report. So with a customary Jersey sleight of hand, they just published a slightly redacted version and simply indicted Power in the court of public opinion.

    This is now the first time that the unredacted version is published. You can get an idea of the original redactions here. I should clarify that I am only talking here about the one 383 page summary report, a redacted version of which was published by the Jersey authorities, and the unredacted version of the same report included in Graham Power's documentation publishd by the Inquiry. I understand that the full documentation of the Wiltshire Report would fill the boot of a family car and that the extent to which the summary report reflects the voluminous evidence is hotly contested.
  • Power's interim statement to the Inquiry by the Wiltshire Constabulary
    When the authorities refused Power legal representation for what was expected to be a week long interview with Wiltshire, he chose, as was his right, to confine himself to a long written statement in which he contests points being put to him arising from the statements of other witnesses. While this statement preceded the drafting of the final report it is effectively a critique of the report itself. A further and more pointed critique is contained in an interview with Power by the Voice for Children blog. Power's statement to Wiltshire was published on Stuart Syvret's blog and leaked to the BBC in Jersey. However, the broadcaster has not referred to it to this day.
  • Transcripts of phone calls
    These were only made available to Power on his way into the Inquiry and he was then quizzed on them. These are very confusing and even the Inquiry's lawyer seemed at a loss in trying to interpret them.

To follow the story it is important to clearly distinguish between two things.

The first is Power's suspension from duty. This is a basis for criticising the régime and Power is the victim here.

The second is the conduct of Operation Rectangle itself, which shows up shortcomings by the state administration but has also led to criticism of the roles of Power and Harper.

These are dealt with separately below, insofar as it is possible to separate them, and all this is in the context of Power's appearance before the Inquiry.


The suspension

On 12 November 2008, Power was called into his office by his Minister (Andrew Lewis) and in the presence of the Chief Executive (Bill Ogley - head of the Civil Service) served with (draft) letters of suspension and told he had an hour to "consider his position". He was informed of a letter written to the Minister by Power's deputy (David Warcup) which, largely on the basis of a review report from the London Met, said he had mishandled Operation Rectangle.

Power took it that he was being given an opportunity to go quietly but he refused and objected to what was being done and the way it was being done. This seemed to have surprised those present and they were not prepared to deal with this turn of events. In the event Power was suspended (on full pay) on the spot.

When Power joined the Jersey police he was accountable to the Home Affairs Committee, under the committee system which was the form of government then in operation in Jersey. This was subsequently replaced by Ministerial government and he was now accountable to a single person, the Minister for Home Affairs. And there was no appeal mechanism against the Minister's decision. The administration were careful to suspend him on full pay as otherwise it would be construed as a dismissal and would have to be got through the Jersey parliament.

Despite the fact that proper procedure had not been observed on the day, Power felt there was even more to this kangaroo court than appeared and he subsequently asked for a load of information, including the dates on which the various letters which had been produced at the meeting had first been drafted. The point here was that the grounds for his suspension were a letter from Power's deputy which the Minister had received only the previous evening and which the Minister claimed was the sole factor leading to the suspension. Power eventually succeeded in determining that two of the three letters had actually been drafted three days earlier. And the London Met report was subsequently withdrawn as it was confidential to the force and specified not to be used for any disciplinary purpose. The Met subsequently confirmed that it had not criticised Power or Harper in the report.

So, all in all a very serious abuse of process. This abuse was subsequently compounded by the Minister for Home Affairs when he scuttled Powers Judicial Review of the original decision by a masterful sleight of hand which should not have been allowed. He confirmed the suspension, but this time surrounded by minimal legal hocus pocus, and this made the original (illegal) suspension decision obsolete and not subject to judicial review. At every turn the administration dragged out its dealings with Power in the hope of keeping him at bay until his official retirement in 2010. It succeeded in this.

So what has all this to do with child abuse and why is Power testifying to the Inquiry? Well, for one thing, the whole suspension process shows very clearly the lengths the administration will go to in order to cover its tracks when it makes a mistake or does something illegal.

This is really well illustrated in the attempt by the administration not to reveal the dates of the original drafts of the letters mentioned above. I suppose that this aspect appealed to me because it was a saga in an attempt to get access to information. I have operated Freedom of Information legislation within the Irish administration and the antics of the Jersey administration in this one were really something to behold. Jersey did not have FOI legislation at this time but there was a code for access to information which more or less amounted to the same thing.

After going unsuccessfully through a number of hoops Power ended up at the States of Jersey Complaints Board (on administrative decisions) which, to give them their due, found resoundingly in his favour. But what really caught my fancy was the Minister's varied and ridiculous reasons advanced for refusing access.

In the first place he claimed that the information was not information in the sense covered by the code because it was on a computer. Then, to give it to Power it would have to be transcribed and that would then be different from the original, something newly created, and which would not be covered by the code. And if that failed the Minister was claiming that it was legally privileged. And remember this was effectively metadata relating to documents in Power's possession and it was also germane to his (original) judicial review. When the Complaints Board had some difficulty understanding the legal privilege objection, the Minister explained that the the time intervals involved could possibly have allowed Power to figure whether legal advice had been obtained or not. Now Power was only looking for three specific dates, and nothing more. As I said he got them in the end and they were devastatingly significant.

The Jersey administration had tied itself up in legal knots along the way, with the Minister even abusing the concept of corporation sole to avoid overturning the original suspension decision, but that is sort of another story.



Ian Le Marquand vs Ian Le Marquand (aka Andrew Lewis)

The reason I'm labouring the above story is that it is such a clear example of the lengths the administration went to to cover up its wrong doing. If it does it for this what will it not do it for?

While the Complaints Board's report is included in the documentation submitted by Power it was not specifically referred to at the oral hearing. I thought that a pity as its message is so clear.

You can read the Board's full report here or just it's conclusions here.

Operation Rectangle

Operation Rectangle must have scared the living daylights out of a lot of people in the upper echelons of the administration. They had succeeded in sacking the Health Minister because he was critical of the level of child protection on the island and now they were faced with a full blown police investigation into child abuse which was attracting international attention.

Their instincts would have been to close down the inquiry as quickly as possible, but they were now hoisted on their own pétard. They had brought in two policemen from the "mainland" to clean up the place and they were now faced with the same two policemen who were determined to see this investigation through no matter whose boat was rocked.

This led to serious tension between the police and the rest of the administration, particularly the AG and the lawyers. Power was the Chief of Police and Harper the Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Retangle. They divided their tasks with Power fending off political and other interference and Harper ploughing away at the investigation.

Harper was seen by some in the administration as indulging in unnecessarily sensationalist publicity involving possible human remains and homicides. Harper felt he needed to keep the investigation in the public eye to reassure survivors who were coming forward. He felt he was also attempting to pre-empt leaks to the press. The whole situation was very murky and at times it seemed the operation was spinning out of control.

In the heel of the hunt Harper retired in the normal course and Power was illegally suspended. Their replacements, who had not distinguished themselves, scarpered when the going subsequently got rough, and by then the operation had been quietly closed down.

The current Inquiry is probably the last chance of vindication for Power and Harper but the chances of another police operation are slim, and there are even doubts about the bona fides of the current inquiry which has been sloppy and unprofessional in many respects. It may turn out that its only long term benefit will be the publication of documentation and the hearing of witnesses, not in itself a small matter, but way short of many people's expectations of closure for the survivors and justice for the perpetrators.

In any event, at this stage of the proceedings Power's sworn statement (pages 1-181 of his 67MB submission) is well worth reading in full.

Power at the Inquiry

I have only read a few of the statements submitted to the inquiry, but having read them and then followed the related transcripts, I am struck by the lack of focus in the oral hearings. I know that the oral hearing is not a cross examination strictly speaking. The Inquiry lawyer is supposed to be helping the witness present relevant material from their statements and endeavouring to test this for consistency.

But my strong impression in the cases of Bob Hill and Graham Power is that the lawyers "interrogation" of the witness simply serves to dilute their contribution. In Hill's case he was quizzed on documents he hadn't seen and the lawyer was jumping all over the place. In Power's case, as I mentioned, there was no following up on the access to information angle which would have encapsulated the stance of the administration and seriously undermined their overall credibility. And Power was also quizzed on confusing documentation which he had not had a chance to consider in advance.

Equally a major revelation about missing files in the statement from Trevor Pitman was not followed up. There is also an impression that witnesses are being rushed through and boxes being ticked.

None of this bodes well for a good result from this inquiry.

Some revelations in passing

There have been some further interesting points arising out of Power's submission.

Wendy Kinnard
As Minister for Home Affairs and Power's political boss, so to speak, Wendy Kinnard had been very supportive of Operation Rectangle. Power reveals, however, that she was being bullied by her male ministerial colleagues, and at one point she relinquished her responsibility for Operation Rectangle to her more pliant deputy Andrew Lewis. This was followed sometime later by her resignation as Minister and Lewis taking over just as Power was about to be suspended.



Wendy Kinnard

The unredacted version of Wiltshire in Power's documentation suggests that she relinquished control of the operation because she had a personal interest in the case. While this is revealing it poses more questions than it answers. No doubt it will provoke speculation over the next while and we may learn a little more in response to this. It was generally felt that her ultimate resignation resulted from a refusal to become involved in Power's illegal suspension but other more mundane reasons have been speculated on. She has so far refused to comment on any of this.

Person 737
The inquiry has redacted some of the submitted statements before publication. They have done this in an unbelievably clumsy and incompetent fashion. I have seen this in the case of both Hill's and Power's statements.

The most tantalising and amusing redaction has been of the identity of person 737 in Power's statement. This person was suspected of sexual assaults on adult females but, as far as is known, was not arrested or charged. The extracts blow, reproduced from the statement, do not leave anyone with a knowledge of Jersey in any doubt about the identity of the person in question. Now if the island had more than one newspaper, it might be a different matter entirely.



Person 737
Click on image for a larger version

Brian Moore, Chief Constable, Wiltshire
The Wiltshire report, referred to above, has played a big role in demonising Power and Harper, so I thought you might like to see Power's own view of this flawed report. It is not contained in his statement or oral contribution to the Inquiry. It is taken from an interview with Power by the Voice for Children blog and dates from June 2012.



Brian Moore

Moore was an "absentee investigator" if there ever was one. He never met with me and he even planned to have the disciplinary interviews conducted by subordinates. He did not get the basics right at the beginning. He accepted terms of reference which invited him to assess my conduct against the rules which apply in England and Wales (which were incorrectly described as the "UK.")At an early stage I pointed out that these rules did not even apply to Scotland, let alone Jersey, and that I had a clear political mandate to disregard any UK guidelines which were not consistent with local practice. I also drew attention to the fact that the political mandate not to apply UK guidelines in Jersey had been re-enforced by the advice of the Attorney General of the time (now the Deputy Bailiff William Bailhache) who would be called as a defence witness should the matter ever come to a hearing. But Moore carried on regardless without ever resolving that contradiction. In the end he could only do his report and ask an English Lawyer what disciplinary offences would apply to an English Chief operating under English rules. He then said that it was up to the Jersey authorities to decide whether to apply the same reasoning locally. This was an awkward problem for the Jersey Authorities. If they decided that English Guidelines did not apply in Jersey then the whole case collapsed. However, if they decided that English guidelines did apply then those guidelines would then become the "bible" for policing the Island and 800 years of policing tradition would go out of the window. This dilemma presented quite a problem. In the end Ministers dealt with this in the time honored way. They put off making a decision until it was too late anyway. That is after all "the Jersey Way". What a waste. An enquiry built on sand. No matter how much work is done, if the foundations are not sound then the whole thing falls over. Having accepted wide ranging terms of reference Moore compounded his error by authorizing "fishing expeditions" which involved trawling through every email I had sent and every document I had created. Interviews were conducted with people I worked with 20 years ago, asking them to remember something, anything, that could stick. By any standard this was foolish, wasteful, but also contemptible. A more professional approach would have involved a tight "ring fenced" enquiry focusing on specific relevant issues and bound by clear timescales and budgets. This was never done, and in consequence the investigation took on a life of its own, perpetuating one line of enquiry after another until the original purpose became lost in the mass of data. He also failed to get a grip of the timescales and the spending behavior of his own staff whose apparent determination to leave no expense unclaimed provided a welcome boost to the local hotel and hospitality industry, but did nothing for law enforcement. Perhaps he could not believe his luck that so much Jersey money was being siphoned off into his Force accounts. In all probability he will have made good use of it for the benefit of the citizens of Wiltshire. The benefit to the citizens of Jersey is less apparent. I expect that he will have his excuses but the result speaks for itself. Over £1m and nearly two years spent on an enquiry with no result. And he was the Investigating Officer. Not “overseeing” the enquiry, not the person with executive responsibility, he was the named person in charge. Nobody with their name on the failed Wiltshire enquiry should have the nerve to criticise anyone else's conduct of any enquiry ever. They have forfeited their right to criticise anyone else. They have allowed themselves to be drawn into a political vendetta, they have wasted over a million pounds, and they have produced a flawed report when they knew it was too late to do anything with it.


Happy Christmas from Santa

Original post here

Thursday, 26 November 2015

"Independent" Jersey "Care" Inquiry


Trevor Pitman

An explosive interview with former States' Deputy Trevor Pitman.

I had been intending to do a post on the shortcomings, to put it at its mildest, of the Jersey Child Sex Abuse Inquiry, but pending that you can blow your mind with this interview.

If you have any difficulty viewing it on the blog, you can view it on Youtube directly.

Original post here.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Liberation Day



HAPPY LIBERATION DAY
Click any image for a larger version

Yesterday, 9th May, was Liberation Day in the Channel Islands. This is when islanders celebrate the end of the Nazi occupation in 1945. The islands were unique in being the only part of the "British Isles" to have been occupied by the Nazis during WWII. The occupation had its brutal elements and the Nazis turned the islands, and Jersey in particular, into a huge fortress with massive surface and underground defences, mostly built by very badly treated POWs.

So the people of Jersey, the island with which I am most familiar, had much to celebrate on this day in each year following the end of WWII. This year was special as the 70th anniversary and it was seen as marking perhaps the end of those celebrations in which aging survivors of the occupation could take part in any numbers.

So I tweeted my friends in Jersey a happy Liberation Day and I meant it. What follows refers to Jersey alone.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

It seemed a good day, without hopefully spoiling the party, to recall some unfinished business left over from the liberation. There was an opportunity then to revamp the whole system and also free the islands, and Jersey in particular, from a much more embedded occupation dating from previous centuries.

The island is a Crown Dependency, which means it is directly governed by the Queen who appoints its principal officers. It has appropriated much of the nomenclature of a modern democracy but its structures remain essentially feudal. Asserting one's human rights under the present system is somewhat haphazard in its results and can depend very much on the proximity of one's association with the ruling clique.

The montage above is of Philip Bailhache, the more prominent of the Bailhache brothers, both of whom have held most of the island's major offices over recent decades. Philip, a former Bailiff and currently Senator and Foreign Minister, is seen as the puppetmaster though it is clear that there are others pulling his strings.

His most recent contribution to good governance on the island was to try and sabotage the current inquiry into decades of child abuse and cover-up, an area in which he is seriously conflicted himself.


REVOLVING DOORS

This is Philip's brother William. Currently Bailiff, he was previously Attorney General during a period when many prosecutions of alleged child abusers were either dropped or refused. His period in office at that time will hopefully come up for review in the course of the current inquiry into child abuse on the island.


ONE MIKE THAT WILL NOT BE TURNED OFF TODAY

The policing function on the island is complex. Each of the twelve island parishes has its own police force and it is only in more recent times that an all-island force has been developed to any significant degree. There are serious contraints on the all-island force, including political ones, and recent years have seen these exercised aggressively by the establishment when it illegally sacked the police chief and smeared the senior investigating officer as their inquiries into earlier child abuse were getting too close to the bone.

A more compliant central policing régime was then recruited, the current head of which is Mike Bowron (above), renowned for chatting to ordinary people in the street and ignoring them when they come as supplicants to his office. The wide discretion available to the policing function in Jersey (there is no separate independent prosecution function) means that whether you are charged with an offence or not frequently depends on who you are.

The reference in the caption is to Philip Bailhache, then Bailiff and Speaker in the States (Parliament), turning off the microphone of the then Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, as he tried to raise the question of child abuse in the House on an earlier Liberation Day.


PROTECTING MORE THAN DATA

Emma Martins is the Data Protection Commissioner. Her principal contribution to the island to date seems to have been (i) to support the "Gang of Four" in their effort to have Stuart Syvret brought before the courts (another partial institution) for publishing information which was clearly in the public interest and (ii) to have Stuart's blog taken down from Blogger/Google on spurious legal grounds.


HAUT DE LA GARENNE - a misdemeanor, move on

It would be unfair to leave out Emma's daddy, John Nettles aka Bergerac, whose BBC TV series was set in the island and was shooting footage at Haut de la Garenne (the notorious centre of child abuse) while there were still children resident on the premises. BBC have recently called off a rerun of the series in the face of public protest. In recent times Nettles has attempted to downplay the significance of the centre. I really couldn't leave him out as Emma has declared that she frequently takes her daddy's advice.

The above are most of the tweets I tweeted yesterday for Liberation Day.


I couldn't finish, however, without recalling this event from the obverse of the liberation coin. Arising directly from his principled conflict with this deficient system of administration and justice, Stuart Syvret has already done a few stints of porridge and may yet come to do more.

So let us wish a happy LIBERATION PHASE 2 to the people of this beautiful island.

Note: you can see all the tweets here. You may have to click "Show photo" to see individual images.

Original post here.