Saturday, February 21, 2015
On Tuesday, February 24th between 7:30pm - 9:30pm there will be a "Any Questions" debate at
St Clement Parish Hall.
Following on from the success of its successful debut I hope that this one will also be well received. I will be sitting on the panel alongside:
Constable Len Norman
Education Minister - Deputy Rod Bryons
Reform Jersey Chairman - Deputy Sam Mezec
Advocate Vicky Milner
I hope as many people as possible come down to this event.
Those who know me will know that I won't be holding back in my opinions concerning the shambolic States of jersey and other such issues close to my heart. You ask me a question and you will get a straight answer.
This is also a great opportunity for the keyboard warriors to come down, ask some questions and say hello to me.
I look forward to seeing James Pearce and Sue Young.
Lets not forget the others that hang on a certain Facebook page and have plenty to say about me. See you next Tuesday.
If James Pearce and Sue Young come down and introduce themselves to me I will donate a £100 to a charity of there choice.
I will be speaking from a grassroots level as I see the direction jersey is going in from an ordinary citizen. I would like to thank Change.Je for having such a diverse panel and giving me the opportunity to voice my views on any questions asked.
Part Time Investigative Journalist.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
|DEPUTY NORTON - LETS ALL HAVE A STREET PARTY AND NOT BOTHER ABOUT LODGING ANY QUESTIONS|
|DEPUTY McLINTON - MY DEPUTY - NO QUESTIONS LODGED|
STATES OF JERSEY
"CLASS OF 2014"
"FOLLOWING TUESDAYS MARATHON TWO HOUR SESSION IN THE STATES CHAMBER - THERE WERE 7 ORAL QUESTIONS LODGED AND 11 WRITTEN QUESTIONS. WHAT IS GOING ON?"
Now that we have had two states sittings in 2015 is this a pattern of things to come? In what has been described as the most illagitmate states assembly in decades we have 11 out of 12 Constables unelected and 6 Deputies who did not contest an election. That is a third of our states members unelected. Is it any wonder alleged Chief Minister didn't want independent electoral observers to oversea the last election?
One of the fundamental tools in a democracy is holding the executive to account. This comes in the form of written and oral questions. Are we now witnessing one of the most ineffective, unelected lobotomised nodding dogs states assembly this Island has ever seen post war. How is it that the newly elected (class of 2014) who had so much to say at hustings, manifestos, radio and TV interviews have now become so mute that question time is becoming obsolete . Are we saying there isn't any serious issues facing our Island that Ministerial policy making and decisions doesn't deserve any questions from our elected representatives? This is a shocking indictment on those who don't engage with the electoral process. Hence, we end up with nodding dogs.
The only opposition or questioning in the States Chamber comes in the form of the only political party Reform Jersey (and Deputy Higgins). Is it right that this burden should fall on the shoulders of so few when we have 38 "independent" backbenchers who can ask questions. Are we really to believe that they can't ask a single question of the executive? Hansard is there to record states debates. This is why all questions should be asked in the chamber and not in the corridors of power. They are recorded for history and the answers can be relied upon for future research and debates and holding candidates to account in future elections.
I would like to see Deputy Norton spend a little more time holding the executive to account and formulating policy by lodging propositions than by organising a 25mile long street party for Liberation Day. This nonsense is best left to others who aren't tasked with formulating policy and steering the direction of the Island.
There are grave concerns that the Law Office and Council of Minister will be dusting off all those dodgy pieces of legislation and propositions that they know would not have stood a chance of being passed by recent assemblies. Now with the nodding dog class of 2015 anything (everything) is possible. After the Constables horrendous erosion of parish democracy by raising the number of signatures required to call a parish assembly from 4 to 10 one has to ask what else are these clowns going to pass in the states.
In the flawed recent referendum the majority voted to keep the constables in the states as they are the link between their parishioners and the assembly . Is that all parishioners want?silence in the states as their constables haven't lodged a single question this year as indeed as mentioned above. All they have managed so far is to erode democracy by making it harder for their parishioners to have a voice.
As the year progresses we shall be keeping an eye on this shambolic states assembly and the silent assassins who remain silent and vote continually with the executive in the hope of a future Ministerial Position. In the mean time here are a few stats on the questions that have been asked so far.
The Rico Sorda Blog is now back in business after a long overdue rest. The below link take you to the Deputy Mézec Blog and is well worth a read.
Part Time Investigative Journalist
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Former Chief Minister Frank Walker & CEO Bill (GOLDEN HANDSHAKE) Ogley
Matt Tapp -6
Take your time reading this
Former Chief Of Police Graham Power Replies.
The Jersey Child Abuse Cover-up
This Posting concerns;
Former Deputy Chief Officer David Warcup
Former Chief Minister Frank Walker
And last but not least; Former Chief Executive Bill Ogley and Media Consultant Matt Tapp
Just like I did with the BDO Review I followed my hunch. I new something wasn't quite right and investigated. The role of outside Media Consultant Matt Tapp has bugged me for a long time. I found it strange how not long after Warcup turned up in Jersey Matt Tapp wasn't far behind.
Stranger still, is how this report found its way to the Defence council in the pre-trial of Donnelly, Wateridge & Aubin. We had Judge Pitchers quoting it in open court as some kind of Gospel on Operation Rectangle. We then have the Jersey Evening Post forgetting about an abuser being jailed and using it through Judge Pitchers judgements to trash the living daylights out of Operation Rectangle under former Senior Investigating Officer Lenny Harper.
This just isn't right. It doesn't look right.
To use the phrase of the former Chief Of Police "It Stinks"
Read carefully what Graham Power is saying here.
Even more bizarre is the actions of Judge Pitchers and his use of this report in court.
Matt Tapp gave a statement to Wiltshire. It must be very reveling to say the least. Anyone who has an understanding of what went on during the lead up to Graham Powers suspension on the 12th November 2008 will understand the gravity of what is unfolding here.
This is only the beginning. I have uncovered more. A lot more.
I have said before that when Graham Power was suspended they didn't use anything to do with the Metropolitan Police but in fact they used the Tapp Report and Warcups own opinions. The Tapp report that was put together under strange circumstances. This is what Graham Power says;
"I since learned that shortly after his meeting with me Mr Tapp had a further meeting with the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley and the Chief Minister Frank Walker (Matt Tapp Communications Review page 5.) It was agreed at that meeting that Mr Tapp would produce a report for the "States of Jersey." (Tapp review page 5.) This might be significant. Having originally been engaged by the Police it appears that Mr Tapp now accepted a second commission, from the Chief Executive and the Chief Minister and that it was this second commission which resulted in the production of his report. I have no information as to what fee was agreed for that commission"
Please keep following my posts as very soon I will blow the lid completely off
Years of very hard work is now paying off. The bloggers have not gone away but stuck to the task at hand
What Im producing will have a profound effect on Operation Rectangle under the leadership of Warcup & Gradwell. We already know what Gradwell was up to and his no show at the Scrutiny Review. We already know about the lies and misleading of the States Chamber by former Chief Minister Terry Le Suer. There are many more who should be worried. This cant go on.
THIS IS ABOUT DECADES OF CHILD ABUSE
I REPEAT - THIS IS ABOUT DECADES OF CHILD ABUSE
I will now let the former Chief of Police Graham Power explain exactly what happened with Media Consultant Matt Tapp and his report.
This is just the beginning
After reading the reply from Graham Power read again the answer given by Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand in reply to a written question from Former Deputy Daniel Wimberly on this very subject. No mention of the issues raised by Graham Power and submitted by Matt Tapp under oath.
Don't underestimate how serious this is
Rico Sorda - Team Voice
Graham Power QPM
I have been asked to make comment on the role of a Mr Matt Tapp, a media consultant, in some of events relating to the abuse enquiry in 2008. I base my comments on my recollections of events and on documents which came legitimately into my possession during the course of the disciplinary enquiries by Wiltshire Police which followed my suspension from duty. Where I make reference to information which is in a document I have given the relevant document and page reference in brackets.
I met Mr Tapp only once, that was on 8th October 2008. The meeting had been arranged by David Warcup who was the new Deputy Chief Officer. At some time previous to that meeting Mr Warcup had told me something to the effect that he was taking advice from a media person who he had worked with earlier in his career. I made no objection to that although by nature I am not sympathetic to the engagement of expensive consultants. I believed then and I believe now that highly paid senior officers should for the most part be able to manage without this kind of assistance. I have since learned from other documents that Mr Tapp was in fact approached by David Warcup in August 2008 and formally engaged in mid-September of that year. My meeting with Mr Tapp did not go well. He began by telling me that we needed a plan to announce that "the murder investigation had finished." (Statement made by M Tapp to Wilts Police paragraph 14.) Given that over a period of time we had been repeatedly stating that there was no murder investigation I did not see this as an impressive proposal. Mr Tapp went on to suggest that we should stage a high profile media conference in which the force should effectively denounce some aspects of the early enquiry. I saw this as a bad idea. A gradual and carefully managed process of expectation management had been taking place for months and it was my view that it should be allowed to continue in a careful and balanced way. I felt that the type of event which he proposed would re-ignite sensationalist media interest, create controversy and divisions within the Island, and confuse and demoralise victims and witnesses. I believe that subsequent events have shown that I was correct in those beliefs. At the end of that meeting I concluded that Mr Tapp was not a suitable person to assist the Force and that the further expenditure of public funds for his services could not be justified.
I since learned that shortly after his meeting with me Mr Tapp had a further meeting with the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley and the Chief Minister Frank Walker (Matt Tapp Communications Review page 5.) It was agreed at that meeting that Mr Tapp would produce a report for the "States of Jersey." (Tapp review page 5.) This might be significant. Having originally been engaged by the Police it appears that Mr Tapp now accepted a second commission, from the Chief Executive and the Chief Minister and that it was this second commission which resulted in the production of his report. I have no information as to what fee was agreed for that commission.
I have seen the report which Mr Tapp produced in consequence of that meeting. It is dated "November 2008." but no specific date is given. This may be significant because I was suspended on 12th November 2008. I do not know whether or not the report by Mr Tapp was available to the Chief Executive and the Chief Minister prior to that date. In the conclusions of his report Mr Tapp is critical of the media performance of the former Senior Investigating Officer, Mr Lenny Harper. It is these conclusions which are most often quoted and referred to, particularly by those who are sympathetic of Mr Tapps position. But an examination of the full report reveals that the evidence which is offered in support of this conclusion is less straightforward. Media releases and statements made by Mr Harper and quoted in the report include references such as "we have no allegations that anyone died or was murdered here" and " Haute de la Garenne would be treated as a crime scene although there were no allegations that anyone died or had been murdered there." (Tapp report page 22.) Elsewhere in the report there are references to the role of the media attention in persuading witness and victims to come forward. To some extent this aspect of the Tapp report is similar to the work undertaken by Wiltshire Police who tasked an officer to review records of media interviews by Mr Harper, perhaps in the expectation of finding something inappropriate, only to discover that the officer could find only records of repeated attempts to "tone down" the media coverage and a repeated emphasis that there were no allegations of murder (Wilts Media Report pages 586-582.)
Some time during my suspension I read in a newspaper that evidence from Mr Tapp had been given at a Court hearing connected to an abuse trial and that apparently Mr Tapp's evidence had been critical of myself, and that the Court had made some negative comment relating to my role. I cannot offer further informaiton in relation to this. I was never told of any hearing, let alone asked to contribute or to challenge whatever it was that Mr Tapp had to offer. I have since leared that apparently the report by Mr Tapp was used in some evidential way the the defence team representing a person who was subsequently convicted of Child Abuse.
It might be that the purpose of the Tapp Review has been misunderstood and that it has mistakenly been seen or even represented as an independent review prepared on behalf of the Force to assist the investigation. That does not appear to be the case, and for those with the will to find them, Mr Tapps own words make his mandate somewhat different from the norm. The significant revelation appears to me to be that in the text of page 5 where Mr Tapp tells us that he prepared his report following a meeting with the Chief Executive and the Chief Minister and that the report was for the the use of the Islands Government and not the Force. It is probable that Mr Tapp did not know it at the time, but it has since been revealed in the report by Brian Napier QC, that the two persons with whom he met and who commissioned his report had for some months been meeting secretly with others to devise a means by which the Chief Officer of the Force could be suspended from duty. Against that background their meeting with Mr Tapp, fresh from his disappointment with his meeting with me, and ready to be critical of the Abuse Enquiry, could have appeared as a golden opportunity to move their secret agenda forward.
In this context it is difficult to see how either Mr Tapp, or his report, could be fairly described as "independent."
35 THE DEPUTY OF ST. MARY OF THE MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS REGARDING THE AUTHOR OF A REPORT ADVISING THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE ON MEDIA-RELATED MATTERS:
In his reply to a written question from the Deputy of St. Martin on 23rd March 2010, the Minister referred to the lengthy quotation which forms part of the judgement in the matter of the Attorney General v. Aubin and others  J.R.C. 035A. in the following terms “The quotation above which is attributed to an outside expert is a quotation from the report of an independent media expert who was called in to advise the States of Jersey Police on media related matters.” Would the Minister inform members who called for this report, when and why, who conducted it, how were those who undertook the review were selected and what their qualifications were? Will the Minister release the report to members as it has already been used in a public court judgement?
In September 2008 an external media consultant, experienced in working at ACPO level in the UK, was formally engaged by the then Deputy Chief of Police with the knowledge of the Chief Officer of Police to develop an appropriate external communication strategy regarding Operation Rectangle. This was primarily to ensure:
- That trials and ongoing investigations were not compromised or challenged on the grounds of an abuse of process, based on the information supplied to the media by the States of Jersey Police.
- That the public were presented with accurate facts.
The external media consultant gave advice on these matters and subsequently resigned from his role. He then produced a written report in relation to his advice. Other issues relating to the report fall both within the ambit of the enquiry being conducted by the Commissioner and the terms of the first Wiltshire Police Report and it is not appropriate for me to express an opinion thereon at this stage.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
FORMER HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER - ANDREW LEWIS AND THE 6TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS SUSPENSION OF A POLICE CHIEF
|FORMER CHIEF MINISTER FRANK WALKER AND FORMER HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER ANDREW LEWIS THE PUPPET MASTER AND THE PUPPET|
"FORMER HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER - ANDREW LEWIS"
"RETURNED TO THE STATES OF JERSEY AS DEPUTY OF ST HELIER DISTRICTS 3&4"
"ANDREW LEWIS SUSPENDED FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE GRAHAM POWER QPM ON THE 12TH NOVEMBER 2008"
"WELCOME BACK MR LEWIS. YOU STILL HAVE A LOT OF EXPLAINING TO DO"
"6 YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE THEN CHIEF MINISTER FRANK WALKER GOT HIS PUPPET TO SUSPEND THE CHIEF OF POLICE"
There are only two options open to then Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis regarding his suspension of former Police Chief Graham Power.
1. He knew what he was doing when going along with the diabolical actions of then Chief Minister Frank Walker and then Chief Executive Bill Ogley
2. Andrew Lewis simply had the wool pulled over his eyes.
I'm personally going for option No1. They needed a weak yes man in position and Andrew Lewis was that man. All he had to do was hand Graham Power three notes in a certain order during the infamous meeting where Chief Executive Ogley was shredding everything insight. He got it wrong. This will explained below. In fact they got everything wrong. I really hope they have to explain this to the Committee of Enquiry. The multiple suspensions of the Police Chief go to the very heart of this Child Abuse cover-up. I have exposed the suspension of Graham Power in fine detail on my blog. An in depth investigative look.
Andrew Lewis made one horrendous decision on the 12th November 2008. It follows him around to this very day.
1. The chain of events which he set in motion by the suspension has so far cost the Jersey taxpayer millions of pounds which could have been spent on much needed public services. This raises concerns as to whether he is the right person to be taking important decisions where public funds are at risk.
2. The controversy is still very much alive 6 years later. There is no sign of it going away and it is likely to be re-activated by the committee of enquiry.
Let us look at what Graham Power wrote in 2012. This was during the course of my investigation into his suspension.
Here we have a reply fro the former Chief of Police Graham Power regarding his illegal suspension during a live investigation into decades long Child Abuse (Operation Rectangle)
I have been asked to provide more information on some of the events and issues which emerged after I was suspended from duty as Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police on Wednesday 12th November 2008. I understand that this is because both the “Warcup Letter” and the “Britton Memo” (sometimes wrongly referred to as the “Met Interim Report”) have been published and have attracted some comment and interest.
Regular readers will be aware that on 10th November 2008 the then Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police, David Warcup, wrote a letter to the Chief Executive to the Council of Ministers, Bill Ogley, regarding what he claimed were the findings of an “Interim Report” by the “Metropolitan Police” in respect of the Jersey Historic Abuse Enquiry. It was claimed that the then Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Andrew Lewis, saw the Warcup letter on 11thNovember 2008. On 12th November 2008 I was called in from leave to see the Chief Executive and the Minister for Home Affairs and I was suspended from duty. The suspension was carried out without prior notice, without a hearing, without representation and without me being shown the letter on which the action was allegedly based. These events have been described in more detail in earlier postings.
I will now attempt to summarise some of the events which followed. For the benefit of international readers the term “Minister” refers to a person holding Ministerial Office in the Jersey Government. The Jersey Parliament is known as “The States” and members of that Parliament are referred to as “States Members.” Elected States Members can be Deputies, Senators or Connétables. The background to these events concerns “Operation Rectangle” which was an investigation into allegations concerning decades of child abuse in institutions operated by the Jersey Government. Many victims and witnesses alleged that some of the abusers and persons covering up the abuse were in positions of authority in the Island.
At the time of my suspension, and in order to comply with the law, the Minister for Home Affairs, Andrew Lewis, handed me three notices in the form of detailed letters telling me the suspension was to take immediate effect and there would be a disciplinary enquiry. During the meeting the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley, took written notes of what was being said. I said straight away that I would challenge the legality of the suspension and soon afterwards I gave written notice that I would be seeking a review by the Royal Court. I asked for a copy of the notes taken by the Chief Executive. I was told they had been destroyed. I was given what was claimed to be a typed record of the meeting which had allegedly been prepared from the handwritten notes. The typed document said things which were not true and left out things which were in my favour. I examined the three notices given to me at the meeting.
All were signed by the Minister for Home Affairs, Andrew Lewis and dated 12th November 2008. The letter formally notifying me that I was to be suspended with immediate effect referred to matters which the Minister had allegedly discussed with me “At our meeting earlier today,” at which it was alleged that he had informed me that “I was considering whether you should be suspended from duty.” That was untrue. There had been no earlier meeting and I had been given no prior notice that suspension was being considered. I understand that nobody disputes this or has attempted to explain why the Minister falsely claimed in his letter that there had been an earlier meeting. The letter then goes on to say “I have now decided, in accordance with the terms of the Disciplinary Code and the provisions of the Police Force (Jersey) Law 1974 to suspend you from duty.”
The most likely explanation for this discrepancy is that the Minister for Home Affair, Andrew Lewis, had been advised that the letter telling me that I was to be suspended should not be given to me straight away. He had been told to meet with me first and pretend to take account of any representations I made. He was then supposed to say that he would consider the matter, close the meeting and delay announcing his decision for a short while. That might enable him to claim he had given careful consideration to anything I had said. The next step would be for him to arrange for someone else to hand me the letter telling me that after considering the issue he had decided to suspend me. But he botched the job. He got flustered and gave me the signed letter telling me that I was suspended within moments of me entering the door, without closing the meeting and pretending to “consider” the matter. Hence I was given a letter referring to an earlier meeting which had never happened. It is also possible that he just did not allow himself enough time to pretend that he was giving the issue proper consideration. During the suspension meeting the Minister let it slip that the media conference to announce my suspension had already been planned for that afternoon and that a media statement had been drafted the previous evening. He therefore found himself attempting to keep to a planned order of events under time-pressure and he simply failed to cope. These are the best explanations I can think of for the reference in the letter to an earlier meeting which everyone agrees did not take place. Nobody, including the Jersey Government, has suggested better ones.
I also examined the presentation and content of the letters. They claimed that the Minister was acting upon information received on the previous day in the form of the Warcup letter. The implication of this was that the three letters had been prepared after the Warcup document had been received. I did not think that to be plausible. I came to this view following a consideration of the detailed and legalistic tone of the letters and my assessment of the abilities of those who would have been responsible for producing the documents within the timescale which was being claimed. In plain terms the letters were to complex, too legalistic and too “good” to have been produced in the time available by the people involved. I could not think of anyone at the heart of the Jersey Government who would have the ability to produce the three documents between the Minister seeing the Warcup letter on 11th November 2008 and the suspension meeting on the morning of 12th. It turned out that I was right in that assessment. But my efforts to confirm that suspicion revealed a great deal about the Jersey regime’s attitude to transparency, fair play and justice.
I served written notice on the Chief Ministers Department that I was requesting technical information from the government database regarding the times and dates on which the three letters were created. Under the States of Jersey Code on Access to Information I was not obliged to give any reason for this request but I nevertheless, at various stages, indicated that the information was needed by me to assist with my Judicial Review, my defence against disciplinary allegations and to test the integrity and reliability of those who may be witnesses against me. My application was fiercely contested by the then Chief Minister of the Jersey Government, Senator Terry Le Sueur, with the full support and representation of the Jersey Law Officers Department. The matter dragged on for almost a year and eventually went to a full hearing before a Complaints Board convened under the Administrative Decisions (Review) (Jersey) Law 1982. The Chief Minister was represented by the Law Officers Department. I represented myself with the able assistance of the Connétable of St Helier, Simon Crowcroft. After a full hearing the Complaints Board found in my favour and said that the Chief Minister should release the information.
Once the Complaints Board had published its decision the information which I had requested almost a year earlier was finally disclosed on behalf of the Chief Minister. I received written details from a person responsible for information technology services for the Jersey Government informing me of when the three letters issued at the suspension meeting were first created. One of the letters, the one in which the Minister told the Chief Executive that he was considering disciplinary action, was first created at 1400 hours on 11th November 2008. That was the day on which Andrew Lewis said that he first saw the Warcup letter, although elsewhere he had indicated that he was also influenced by a presentation he had received on the evening of 11th, which casts some doubt on the credibility of the letter created at 1400 hours that day. If he did take a decision after seeing the Warcup letter then he did not take much time over such an important matter. However, in respect of the other two letters the position is more straightforward. The letter from the Minister telling me that he was starting the disciplinary process was first created at 0844 hours on Saturday 8th November 2008. The actual suspension notice was first created at 0848 hours, also on Saturday 8th November 2008. In other words the key disciplinary and suspension documents were created days before the alleged “Interim Report” had been received, days before the Warcup Letter was even typed and days before Lewis claimed that he had taken his decisions. It is also worth noting that under the Disciplinary Code the letter from the Minister to the Chief Executive is supposed to be the document which starts the process. Yet it was the last to be drafted. By the time Lewis recorded his decision on Tuesday 11th November 2008 to ask the Chief Executive to begin the implementation of the Disciplinary Code the suspension notice had already been in existence since the previous Saturday.
“Bang to Rights” you might think. Surely the Jersey Government had been caught red handed. The most obvious interpretation of the known information was that the decision to suspend had been taken first, and the necessary documents prepared and checked by unidentified senior figures who were the real decision makers in this matter. After that task had been completed, others had been given the job of “finding some evidence” to justify a decision which had already been taken, and to produce a “cover story” to be agreed between the parties. Not so according to the then Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur. After the information regarding the times at which the letters had been created was disclosed he stated that the drawing up of the discipline and suspension notices in advance of the evidence being received was just “contingency planning.”
It is worth taking a step back and looking at the sheer implausibility of what we were being asked to believe in this explanation. We were asked to accept that on a Saturday morning in November 2008 senior staff in the Chief Ministers Department decided to come to work and prepare suspension notices for the Chief Officer of Police as a contingency for the possibility that the Minister for Home Affairs might want to take action on the basis of a report which had not been received and which neither they or the Minister would be allowed to see, and a letter which had not been written. Amazingly, some States Members appeared to believe this account. Some plainly did not. Led by Deputy Bob Hill a growing number of States Members decided that they wanted to know more, and they wanted to hear it from a more independent and trustworthy source than the Jersey Chief Ministers Department.
This led, early in 2010, to the appointment of Brian Napier QC to conduct a review and publish a report. This appointment was achieved in the face of reluctance by Ministers and some still unexplained watering-down of the terms of reference after the appointment had been agreed. By that time it was apparent that heads had been got together and it had been agreed that the “contingency planning” story could no longer stand up to examination. This was particularly the case once it became clear Napier would discover that the Chief Executive had spoken to the Solicitor General regarding powers to dismiss the Chief of Police on 24th September 2008 and preparatory work for a suspension was underway in mid-October, (Napier report paragraphs 28 and 79.) So in making their submissions to Napier, Ministers and their allies came up with a third account of events. The “third version” claimed there had been concerns (albeit according to Napier not documented) which had been growing for some time and that these justified suspension when taken together with the Warcup letter. When asked by Napier on what basis these concerns had been formed it was said were “coming out in meetings of the Gold Group” (Napier Report paragraph 79) on which the Chief Ministers Department was represented. In exchanges in the States following the publication of the Napier report the Chief Ministers representation on the Gold Group and the (undocumented) negative messages which his representative was allegedly bringing to Ministers were used as a lifeline and were repeatedly relied upon by the Chief Minister and others. But in taking this line other problems were created.
To begin with there were the written statements made by Andrew Lewis and others to the Wiltshire Police Disciplinary Investigation. These statements contained a legal declaration warning the person making the statement that it could be used as evidence in a Court of Law and if that happened a person who had said anything false in the statement could be prosecuted. Lewis and others signed to say they had been made aware of that possibility.
In his statement to Wiltshire, Lewis said “Up until I received the letter from David WARCUP I had no reason to believe that they were not managing the investigation well.” The statement made by Lewis was supported to varying degrees by the Chief Executive Bill Ogley and other members of the governing group. But according to the information revealed in the Napier report, Lewis and others, who included Ogley and the then Chief Minister Frank Walker, had been secretly meeting and communicating for months to discuss the means by which the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police could be removed from office. This is no longer denied by anyone. So the written statement made by the then Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Andrew Lewis, to an investigation conducted by Wiltshire Police under the provisions of the Police Force (Jersey) Law 1974, gives a false and misleading account of how the Minister came to his decision. It is difficult to see how such a material inaccuracy could have been recorded other than with a clear and calculated intent to deceive readers of the statement, and to conceal from myself, my defence team, the Jersey public and States Members the true circumstances surrounding the unprecedented action taken by Lewis.
It might at this point be worth reflecting on what the reaction might have been had this revelation emerged in respect of me or Lenny Harper (my former Deputy who initiated the Historic Abuse Enquiry.) What would have been the reaction of Ministers had it become known that we had knowingly made false and misleading written statement to an enquiry of this nature? Or for that matter what might have happened had we been found to have destroyed the original notes of a meeting in an apparent attempt to prevent them being seen by the Royal Court as happened with the notes taken by Ogley at the suspension meeting? No doubt there would have been high-minded political condemnation and perhaps calls for prosecutions. The current Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian le Marquand, may have felt that it was his duty to spend one or two million pounds on an “independent report” into the matter which could then be launched in a public fanfare with no right of reply. As it was the revelations related to loyal and obedient servants of the regime so nothing happened. It was all quietly buried.
It might now be worth recapping on what is understood to be the stated position of the Jersey Government in respect of the justification for the suspension of the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police during an investigation into long running child abuse in establishments managed by the same Jersey Government. As it is commonly understood, their third position, taken subsequent to the revelations in the Napier report, and after their first two accounts had been demolished by the evidence, is that the suspension was justified on two grounds. Firstly the Warcup Letter of 10th November 2008 and secondly the evidence gained (but for some reason not recorded) in the preceding months. So it appears that there are two grounds said to justify the current Jersey Government’s position which might be summarised as follows:
- The first of the two grounds is the Warcup Letter dated 10th November 2008 which contains allegations of deficiencies in the command and control of the investigation, the pivotal allegation being “There is no evidence of a strategic coordinating group (Gold Group) which is required to set, review and update the strategy.” (Warcup letter third page.).......... AND:
- Concerns which had built up over a period of months as a consequence of “information coming out of meetings of the Gold Group.” (Napier Report paragraph 79.)
Readers with a sharp eye for the customary rules of logic may have spotted that something is not quite right with this position. They are correct.
While the holding of two contradictory views at the same time is not an unknown feature of Jersey politics, readers might find this a particularly interesting example. The Jersey government position appears to be that the suspension was justified on grounds which included there not being a Gold Group, and also on the basis of negative evidence emerging from the Gold Group. Perhaps history will pass its own judgement on the ethical and intellectual qualities of those supporting this argument.
In order to remove any confusion, the true position regarding the Gold Group is as follows. The formation of a multi-agency Gold Group was considered in the early stages of the investigation. The problem at that time was that the detailed and far reaching nature of many of the allegations had not been fully assessed. There were a number of allegations which touched upon senior figures in government agencies. The establishment of a multi-agency group would have presented the risk of potential suspects or their associates having an oversight of the enquiry. The complications and risk of compromise which this would present were considerable. It was therefore decided that it would be unsafe to create a multi-agency group until the position clarified. After further assessment I gave approval for a Gold Group to be formed in the summer of 2008 and it operated from that time. This position is not accurately reflected in the Warcup letter, nor could it be if it was to serve its intended purpose. The Gold Group and other issues had to be presented in that letter as part of a crisis which required immediate and ruthless resolution. Had it been made clear that the Gold Group was an issue which had been identified, addressed and resolved some months earlier it would have been hard to argue that drastic action was justified. But that is now history.
In spite of all of the conflicting and contradictory accounts offered by the Jersey Government we can be sure of some things which have emerged from this issue. The facts of this story support a view that senior figures in the Jersey Government are willing to lie, to make false statements, to destroy evidence, to withhold the truth, to invent accounts and to cover-up for each other. And this is not a story about me. I am not a victim of child abuse. I do not have to seek justice from the very authorities whose conduct and ethics have been exposed by their actions in this case. It is no wonder that the survivors of decades of abuse in Jersey Government institutions have little faith in the Island’s political and legal system. If the regime will lie about one thing then they will lie about another thing. If they will destroy evidence in one case then they will destroy evidence in another. If they are willing to collude and cover up the truth in relation to one matter then they will do the same about other things. If the Jersey regime could do this to me and get away with it then think what they could do to others. Think what they could do to the victims of abuse. Think what they could do to you. Think about it.
Graham Power went for Judicial Review. Although losing his review the court made this observation of his suspension.
"We are conscious that the Minister has not responded to these criticisms of Mr Power (because the events of 12th November are not the subject of the application) and that we should therefore be slow to criticise the way Mr Power appears to have been treated. However, we feel constrained to voice our serious concern as to the fairness of the procedure apparently adopted by the Previous Minister. He was dealing with a person holding the most senior post in the police force and who had enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Bearing in mind the implications of suspension, we would have thought that fairness would dictate firstly Mr Power being given a copy of the media briefing and Mr Warcup’s letter and secondly an opportunity to be heard on whether there should be an investigation and, if so, whether he should be suspended during that investigation. Whatever disputes there may be as to precisely what occurred at the meeting with the Previous Minister, it is clear that no such opportunity was afforded to Mr Power."
Even the Jersey Evening Post went with this headline:
By Diane Simon
Former States police chief Graham Power
FORMER Police Chief Graham Power was suspended without proper evidence of incompetence in handling the historical child abuse inquiry, a report has revealed.
The independent report by employment law specialist Brian Napier QC released today says that there were procedural failings in the handling of the suspension of Mr Power in November 2008 which was carried out by the then Home Affairs Minister, Andrew Lewis, in the presence of States chief executive Bill Ogley.
Mr Power was suspended on the same day that it was revealed by acting police chief David Warcup and Det Supt Mick Gradwell that there had been no child murders or bodies buried at Haut de la Garenne.
• See Friday’s Jersey Evening Post for the full report
Article posted on 8th October, 2010 - 3.00pm