Monday, September 24, 2012

THE WILLIAMSON REPORT - COMMITTEE OF 'NON' ENQUIRY












Chief Minister Ian Gorst




COMMITTEE OF ENQUIRY INTO DECADES LONG CHILD ABUSE  



IS TAKING DECADES TO COME TO FRUITION 



THE WILLIAMSON REPORT



HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF?


Remember the Report Lodged by the Council of Ministers under then Chief Minister, Terry Le Squer  in February 2011 R8/2011 and the reasons they gave for not having a Committee of Enquiry? This can read on the link below.

"Jersey's Council of Ministers have done a U-turn on their promise to hold a committee of inquiry into historic child abuse.

When the allegations around Haut de la Garenne broke in 2008 it was feared it was the worst case of abuse anywhere in the UK. 

Shortly afterwards the Council proposed to hold a committee of inquiry once all the prosecutions were dealt with. 

However, they have now changed their mind.

The Council say it would achieve nothing and would cost millions.

The news has angered those both outside and inside the States.

The Jersey Care Leavers' Association (JCLA), who represent victims of abuse on the island, say they are 'dismayed' at the decision and said it was "the final straw" for them.

They released a statement, which said: "It is with the utmost dismay that we hear today that the Council of Ministers has reneged on a promise made in 2008 to hold a full Committee of Enquiry into the Historical Abuse enquiry.

"This really has to be the final straw for us, and the anger felt towards the Council of Ministers over this decision is beyond comprehension. 

"Time and again we have been let down by the States of Jersey, from our childhood right through to this very sad day.

"The lack of caring and the clear intention of the Council of Ministers to not bring closure to this matter, means that exactly the opposite will happen and the public will still have grave misgivings about the whole handling of this affair and the now so transparent cover-up of the historic child abuse investigation.

They added that there had been no consultation with the JCLA over the decision."








Chief Minister, Gorst couldn't get the Council of Ministers (COM)  to agree on the Verita recommendations So he called in Andrew Williamson  a UK care expert. 


Why the (COM) couldn't agree on Verita is plainly obvious


I now give you the Williamson Report. I believe it cost the taxpayer £6,000 pounds but need this confirmed. It must have taken all of 10 minutes to write it.



ANDREW WILLIAMSON

I was asked by the Chief Minister to review both the terms of reference and the recommendations of the Verita report to the Council of Ministers into historical child abuse in the States of Jersey.  The report was published in November 2011 and subsequently considered by the Council of Ministers.

The Verita report recommended that the Council of Ministers should commission a Committee of Enquiry into historical child abuse and listed a number of specific recommendations in relation to the composition of the members of the Enquiry Panel; the various aspects of children’s services that should be investigated and that the timescale for the enquiry should be from 1960 to the present day.  It was further recommended the Enquiry should consider the experiences of the witnesses who suffered abuse or believe they suffered abuse and also the views of staff who worked in the service during this period.

There are also recommendations for the Enquiry to review the actions taken by the Government of the States of Jersey when the various allegations of abuse within the care system were made and finally consider the action the States of Jersey has taken in response to the various reports commissioned over recent years.

Whilst this significant piece of work was being undertaken much work was going on both within the Health and Social Services Department and other departments involved with Children’s safeguarding to ensure all recommendations from recent enquiries and inspections were implemented.

In preparation for writing this report I have carried out a number of enquiries, held meetings with various representative groups for children in, or have been in the care system in Jersey, and also other interested individuals or organisations who responded to the advertisement placed in the Jersey Evening Post in June of this year.  I have also reviewed relevant reports and visited the Jersey Archives to confirm the existence of the relevant records.

One of the most significant developments since the publication of the Verita Report in 2011 has been the implementation of the Historic Abuse Redress Scheme in March 2012.  The scheme is designed to deal with applications for compensation for sexual or unlawful physical abuse suffered by individuals between May 1945 and the 31st December 1994 when in the States of Jersey full time residential care.  This programme was launched with a full apology by the States of Jersey to all those who had been abused and significant efforts have been made to publicise the Redress Scheme to ensure that all those who are entitled to claim for compensation do so within the 6 month timescale which concludes on the 30th September 2012.  Financial provision has been made by the States to ensure independent legal advice is provided to all claimants and financial compensation has been provided for.

To date, a significant number of applications (nearly 100 by the end of June) to be considered for the Redress Scheme have been received.  The Scheme is well publicised and has received media coverage.  At the time of writing this report there are still three months remaining, for those who feel they have a claim to do so.  I have looked at the way the Redress Scheme is being managed, the States response to claimants, and the support offered and I am impressed by the apparent non-judgemental way in which it operates.  It is worth re-emphasising that the Redress Scheme is available for all former residents of Jersey’s Children’s Homes from 1945 to 1994.

It should also be noted that as part of the recent review of the Children’s Services, in addition to the Redress Scheme and formal apology by the States of Jersey to all children who were abused whilst in their care, the States have financially invested in the Children’s Service to ensure high standards of care are provided and that there is external scrutiny to ensure that these are maintained.  External scrutiny exists both in the establishment of the Jersey Child Protection Committee and the reviews of the service by Independent Inspection Agencies.  To further illustrate this point I understand that that as a follow up to its recent comprehensive review of the Children’s Services provided across the Island the Scottish Inspection Agency has been invited to make a return visit in the near future to ensure all recommendations made as a result of the last inspection have been implemented.

Another significant development in the Children’s Service is that since the completion of the Verita Report all of the Children’s Homes, apart from Brig Y Don, that were in operation during the period of allegations of abuse have closed and smaller more ‘family friendly’ homes have been opened, together with a significant investment in the development of the fostering service.  Brig Y Don has been completely refurbished and the management of this Home, together with all the recently opened Homes have introduced more open and transparent approaches to managing the Homes and involving the young people who are resident.  A good illustration of these developments is the introduction of the Statement of Purpose and Function for the Home which is a document explaining the complaints and suggestions process.

To summarise in relation to the service provided for children in Jersey, many safeguards have been implemented to try to ensure a high quality of service is provided by trained, qualified staff who have all been vetted to ensure none possess a criminal record etc.  It is crucial that this vigorous approach to ensuring high standards is maintained.  The Improvement Plan which is updated on a quarterly basis and provided to the members of the Children’s Policy Group provides regular information to the Ministerial Group of the achievements and areas requiring improvement.  The availability of such information provides a valid benchmark for the delivery of quality services.
With regard to the various enquiries at the former Children’s Home, Haut la Garenne, the police enquiry, Operation Rectangle, resulted in convictions against seven former members of staff working at Haut la Garenne and no further prosecutions are proposed.

There is however a strongly held view amongst some of the people who made contact with me during this review that a further examination of the decision whether or not to prosecute should be undertaken.  Given that the Redress Scheme is currently progressing it may be appropriate for the States of Jersey to commission an independent, legal review of the decisions to prosecute or take no further action.  This could be carried out by an independent non island based lawyer and will involve the reviews of factual evidence.  It must be acknowledged that the police have undertaken a review of how they carried out the original enquiry into abuse suffered and general management of Haut La Garenne Children’s Home.

Given the significant investment in the Children’s Service and the Redress Scheme currently in operation a number of the original concerns have been or are being addressed.  Nevertheless from the interviews I have undertaken and the information I have received there remains a strongly held view that there must be an independent enquiry to examine whether the Children’s Services for a long period of time challenged or examined the quality of the services provided and the overall standards of care.  If this didn’t happen was it a deliberate act and was there a conspiracy within the senior management and political representatives to ignore or deny the issues?

Whilst such an enquiry will inevitably be complex there is a strong determination to learn from the past to ensure that such practices, if they did exist, do not happen again.  I would therefore recommend that, in order to avoid confliction with the Redress Scheme and various ongoing police matters the terms of reference for an enquiry are restricted to the issues of managerial and political accountability between 1960 to 1994 (the same period as the Redress Scheme).  This should be chaired by a lawyer and I would recommend a person who is not a resident of the island.  Further that a review could be carried out of the decisions to prosecute or not following the various police enquiries as a result of the Haut La Garenne investigation.  This could also be undertaken by a lawyer who would review the paperwork which was considered at the time to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to proceed with a prosecution.  Finally the States of Jersey may want to consider establishing a Truth and Reconciliation enquiry following the closure of all the claims made under the Redress Scheme.   This could be undertaken by a national children’s charitable organisation and could provide ongoing support and consistency to those who are making claims in the Scheme but have made it very clear to me that they would not be prepared to give evidence to a formal public enquiry.  They would however appreciate the opportunity to talk about their experiences in a more confidential basis if accepted.  This should not commence until the work of the Redress Scheme is concluded to avoid any possibility of adversely affecting the legal processes as the Redress Scheme draws to a conclusion.

Conclusions

To conclude therefore I would make three recommendations to the States of Jersey:-

To convene an independent Committee of Inquiry to look at the decisions taken by both political and senior management of the Children’s Services in Jersey during the period 1960 to 1994 with particular reference to the standards of care provided to children in the care system.

To commission a review of the decisions taken whether or not to prosecute individuals identified during the police enquiry concerning the various allegations that culminated in the enquiry into Haut la Garenne. This can be undertaken by a lawyer, not resident in Jersey, and should be a review of the legal evidence available at that time.

Following the closure of the Redress Scheme in May 2013 the States of Jersey may wish to consider commissioning a Truth and Reconciliation Service to assist those individuals who made claims to talk about their experiences and receive support on a confidential basis.  This would also enable those people who claim they’ve suffered abuse whilst in residential care but do not feel able to give evidence to a full public enquiry to talk about their experiences on a confidential basis.  



Andrew Williamson



They said in 2011 that things had changed and now Williamson repeats it in his report. Do you see a pattern emerging here?


The decision on a Committee of Enquiry (COI) and it TOR'S will be down to the Chief Minister, Ian Gorst.


Does he go along with the Ministers and ruling elite who want a damage limitation (COI) or does he show true leadership and bypass these individuals and lodge a (COI) under his own name with a fully robust terms of reference?


 When do we say enough is enough? 


A (COI)  should be simple and nothing less than what Verita recommended.


There can be only one reason why Verita must be discarded.


IT WOULD EXPOSE THE TOXIC UNDERBELLY 


The Ministers who voted against a Committee in 2011 were: 

Senator
Contre

Senator
Contre

Senator
Contre

Senator
Contre

Connétable
Contre

Connétable
Contre

Deputy
Contre

Deputy
Contre

Senator
Contre

Deputy
Contre

Deputy
Contre


6 of the above are still in the Council of Ministers they are:

Senator Gorst (Chief Minister) - Senator Ozouf (Treasury Minister)  - Senator Maclean (Economic Development Minister) - Senator Le Marquand (Home Affairs Minister) - Deputy Pryke (Health Minister) - Deputy Duhamel (Planning Minister)


Is this where the problem lies?

And What influence does Senator Bailhache Have?


We will be looking at this.


Rico Sorda


Part Time Investigative Journalist


Team Voice


Could I ask readers to look at the petition below regarding Mental Health in Jersey.


Thank You



Sunday, September 23, 2012

John Hemming - The JEP- And a Bloggers Challenge






After reading that last leader in the Jersey Evening Post I thought it was now time to 


"PUT UP OR SHUT UP"


I have emailed "The Jersey Evening Post" - Jerseys only Newspaper and laid down a challenge



Will they accept? 


From: rico sorda ;
To: jep ; jon gripton ; Chris Rayner- Jersey
Cc: ben queree
Sent: Sunday, 23 September 2012, 11:53
Subject: Live Debate

Dear Editors 

I refer to your leader that appeared in the  Jersey Evening Post ("JEP") on Thursday 20th September.

I noticed the leader was not backed up with any evidence. 

The Jersey bloggers have been leaked many documents over the years. We have painstakingly exposed the Child Abuse Cover-up.

I will cut straight to the chase here.  

I believe the JEP has walked straight into its very own Hillsborough moment.  By this I mean that the JEP replicates the actions of the Sun newspaper in the UK and its role in the Hillsborough cover up.  I do not need to go into the finer details of the foregoing at this present moment, but what I find fascinating is the handling by the JEP of the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation and subsequent fall-outs.  

I am of the opinion that the JEP has towed the establishment line in only telling one side of the story.  It has failed to take a proactive approach in bringing to light the magnitude of evidence, which has been produced and published online by the Jersey bloggers.  You have not demanded answers from our Chief Minister as to why we have had such a long delay in bringing forth a Committee of Enquiry in decades long child abuse.  Nor have you even been proactive in helping survivors of this child abuse to find closure.  By this I mean taking a long hard investigative look at what has gone on.  It is simply ridiculous to call Jersey's investigative bloggers "conspiracy theorists", so ridiculous in fact that I believe the time has come for me, together with the editors of the JEP, to have a live discussion on BBC Radio Jersey where we can see who are the conspiracy theorists, who is able to quote from hard evidential documentation and allow people to phone in and have their say. 

I am prepared to put up.  Are you?

I am sure BBC Radio Jersey would be able to offer us the platform to have this out in the open.  We all know that John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP, used UK parliamentary privilege to highlight the alleged failings in the Jersey system of government.  I thank him for this.  I love my island dearly, but I do not like the role the JEP is playing in it. 

I hope you and the BBC will agree to this suggestion and, so as to be as transparent and open as possible, here is a list of some of the evidence I shall be referring to.


The Napier Report, The Met "Interim" Report, The 4 ACPO Reports , The Warcup Letter, The Failings of Wiltshire and their Report, The Affidavits of Lenny Harper & Graham Power, The Home Affairs Scrutiny Sub Panel Report and findings into the BDO Report, Graham Powers 62,000 word statement to Wiltshire, the suspension review papers of Graham Power and the utter shambles of Home Affairs Minister, Senator, Ian Le Marquand.


This is just a selection of the documentation I will be referring to


Look forward to a prompt reply


Kind Regards


Rico Sorda 

http://ricosorda.blogspot.com/
Citizen Investigator




THE JEP LEADER


Allegations without substance
Thursday 20th September 2012, 4:30PM BST.



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JOHN Hemming, the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, represents a Birmingham constituency. You could, however, be forgiven for imagining that he has a seat in our own States Assembly.
Why? Because he seems to be at least as concerned about what may or may not have happened in Jersey as he is about affairs in his own backyard.
In the House of Commons earlier this week Mr Hemming, a political ally of former Senator Stuart Syvret, asserted that this Island is utterly corrupt and a hotbed of conspiracies and cover-ups. We have, of course, heard all this before, but the one thing that is consistently missing from these allegations is any sort of proof that would stand up to serious scrutiny.
All sorts of wild accusations about the Island and the supposed perfidy of its authorities fly about on the internet – but so do reports of flying saucers and alien abductions.
It is also worth pointing out that if many of these allegations were published in this newspaper it would very likely find itself in court facing a series of libel actions – which would be indefensible through lack of supportive evidence. But the bloggers who are responsible for defaming all and sundry online have little to fear on this score because potential litigants realise that they are men of straw incapable of paying any damages awarded against them.
Meanwhile, given that the UK has an explicit and well recognised duty to ensure the good governance of the Channel Islands, does Mr Hemming really believe that successive governments of various political hues have turned a blind eye to the scandals that he claims to detect? Perhaps he believes that the massive cover-up he is so eager to expose extends all the way to the UK’s corridors of power.
Meanwhile, someone from even further afield than John Hemming, US journalist Leah McGrath Goodman, is keen to investigate the historic child abuse issue. The key word here is investigate, so although she has been refused entry by the UK Border Agency over what seems to have been a visa problem – though some detect yet another conspiracy – our authorities should clearly make every effort to see that she is permitted to visit.
Honest investigation is to be welcomed – even if uncomfortable truths emerge. Unsupported slander fired from the hip under the protective cloak of parliamentary privilege is not.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

JOHN HEMMING - EXPOSES JERSEY IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS







Today in the House of Commons Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming made the below speech using Parliamentary Privliege


I reproduce it in its entirety 


It has various references to the goings on here in Jersey. 

Anyone with half an ounce of sense (unfortunately this excludes about 45 states members) will know that there are some very serious issues that need addressing here in Jersey.



I am pleased, on behalf of the Backbench Business Committee, that this debate has been set up today.

Hillsborough is a cover-up that has failed, although it took a long time to fail. Sadly, there are too many cover-ups that continue to succeed. For example, David Southall’s experiments, where he made babies breathe lethal concentrations of carbon monoxide, were covered up by the investigator calling CO an “inert gas”. My constituent Michael Andrews has revealed how he has come under pressure to misreport statistics by my local hospital. The response of the hospital management has been to take action against the whistleblower.

There is a country where there are allegations that crimes by powerful people are not being investigated and prosecuted. A journalist has been refused entry to stop reporting about an issue. The chief of police has been suspended to stop him investigating crimes. Bloggers are being threatened to stop them talking about people. Decisions by the state not to prosecute cannot be challenged, nor is private prosecution allowed. The country is Jersey. The journalist is Leah McGrath Goodman, who is an American. The chief of police was Graham Power. Furthermore, Andrew Marolia, David Minty, David Wherry and Jonathan Sharrock Haworth have, with the assistance of the Jersey Government, obtained a super-injunction against ex-Senator Stuart Syvret—under the Data Protection Act of all things—to prevent from him saying things about them on his blog that are true. Mr Syvret has evidence that criminal offences are being swept under the carpet, but nothing is being done.

A lay judge—known as a jurat—called John le Breton has been allowed to sit as a jurat, even though he was vice-principal of Victoria college when he wrote to the governors in support of Andrew Jervis-Dykes, who ended up getting a jail sentence. Mr le Breton was appointed to judge on a case even though he is a personal friend of a director of the defendant—this is a defamation case where the local politician, Trevor Pitman, has been taking legal action against the local newspaper. The end result in Jersey is that part of these events has been struck from the state’s version of Hansard, and the culture of cover-up continues. Jersey is an independent country, but the UK Government have a responsibility for ensuring good governance in Jersey. The UK is not doing its job properly.

The UK is not as bad, but at times it has a good try. The situation in England and Wales is so bad that foreign countries are expressing concern about the abuse of human rights in the English courts. Over the weekend, there was a three-hour programme on Slovak television debating a case in England. In England, however, we are banned from discussing all the details of the case in the media. International conventions, such as The Hague convention and Brussels II bis, are predicated on the concept that each country can trust the legal system in each other country. As such, the country in which people are habitually resident determines the legal system that has jurisdiction. The existence of the Council of Europe and its European Court of Human Rights—it is not the European Union that deals with the ECHR—provides a body that can adjudicate on cases in the domestic courts. The Government of the Slovak Republic have publicly stated on the Slovak Justice Ministry website that they are willing to support their citizens in any case that reaches the Court. It is clear that the Slovak Government believe that there are a number of cases—not just one isolated case—where the human rights of their citizens are being undermined in England.

To my knowledge, this situation is unique. It does, however, raise the question of whether the human rights of UK citizens and others have been regularly and consistently abused in English and Welsh courts over a number of years. One recent Court of Appeal case involved a judge refusing permission to appeal because no evidence had been provided. The appellant had been given a deadline to provide that evidence by 4 pm on 23 September 2011, which they had met by submitting the evidence earlier that day, but the judge had looked at the case before that had happened. It is therefore not surprising that the judge had concluded that the evidence was not there. That was a clear procedural error by the court administration, but domestic proceedings have now been exhausted. The case also involved a citizen of another country. That country has not yet expressed its view on the matter.

A slightly worse problem is referred to in early-day motion 536. The family division of the Court of Appeal appears not to be correcting all the public family law cases that reach it and that it should correct. Clearly, if it were to correct more of the lower court’s decisions, questions would be asked about how well the system was working, but maintaining public confidence in the system is not a good enough reason to sweep problems under the carpet. Permission to appeal was granted in a case today, however, so that is not always the case.

The only objective analysis of psychological expert reports from Professor Jane Ireland found that around two thirds of the reports submitted to the family courts in care proceedings were either poor or very poor. However, that does not appear to be being picked up by the appellate system. My estimate, on a statistical basis, is that around 1,000 children are wrongfully adopted each year. One advantage of having foreign countries’ human rights commissions reviewing cases affecting their citizens is that we can try to get a better estimate of the total number of miscarriages of justice. It would be nice if our Equality and Human Rights Commission were willing to look at these issues as well.

Michael Mansfield has suggested that the country needs a “commission of truth” to discover cover-ups. My response, in part, is that we already have a body that can do more on this. That body is Parliament. Parliament needs to be willing—collectively, through a Committee—to consider a limited number of individual cases, to work out whether there is evidence of a cover-up. It would not take much use of the collective power of Parliament to identify where a cover-up had happened.

Over the years, our constitution has, to some extent, failed. That has created a situation in which matters that should be more widely considered are being left within the judicial estate of the constitution. That applies particularly to cases involving a lot of secrecy, in which people are prevented from discussing matters. I have already mentioned the fact that Slovak television had a three-hour debate on an issue whose details we are not allowed to discuss. There might be a report in the UK media today following today’s hearing, which, although anonymous, might give some guide as to what has been going on. In practice, enough material is available to enable a three-hour discussion on Slovak television, yet we in the UK are unable to debate the matter.

It is clear from my discussions about other cases that this involves not only the Slovak Republic and one other country; other nations are concerned about the matter as well. People are also leaving this country for these reasons. A Channel 4 report broadcast before the recess highlighted the fact that people were leaving this country because they felt they could not get a fair trial in the family courts in the UK. I follow such cases all around the world, and I will be happy to talk to colleagues about them if they are interested. Such cases demonstrate that the system is not working. However, I had some news today that makes me think that perhaps it might work better in future. These are complex systems.

From a scientific point of view, there has been a tendency to try to rely on unreliable opinion. I was a member of Birmingham city council for 18 years, and its deputy leader for a year, so I got quite used to the council’s operation. The Ministry of Justice believes that an assessment is the same, whether it is carried out by an employee of the council or by an independent assessor. I know, however, that councils are set targets. For example, Surrey county council has been working on its performance assessment figure C23 target to try to increase the number of adoptions from care. We know that the Prime Minister wishes to see more such adoptions taking place, and there is pressure on local government to increase their numbers. That tends to go down the management structure, and those people employed by the council are therefore subject to a conflict of interest. This is nothing new; it has been the case for over 12 years.

I think the Ministry of Justice is making a really big mistake when it considers in the family justice review that a report written by an employee of the council has equal merit to a report written by, say, an independent social worker. The advantage of having an independent social worker is that such a worker is genuinely independent. If a system is run on a cab-rank basis, some independent consideration of the issues is likely, which would not be the case if it was driven by the management structure of the local authority.

Anyone with any experience of local government will understand that biases and pressures are often placed on employees, and sometimes there are bullying management systems. The difficulty comes when judicial decisions are made that rely on that skewed information. As I say, this is nothing new; it has been going on for a long time. Hon. Members will be aware that I often bounce up and down about this issue. At least I now have some Government support—sadly, it is not from the UK Government, but from the Slovak Republic. I would prefer that the UK Government recognised what the Slovak Republic recognises, which is that there are very serious problems here.

I think this matter will go a lot further. Today’s hearing is very positive and things will develop from it. I am aware of the concerns of other east European Governments about exactly the same issue. They might decide to take a robust position in the same way as the Human Rights Commission did in the Slovak Republic. It is unclear whether any of these cases will get before the European Court of Human Rights so that we will see a representative from the UK Government arguing for the UK’s position and a representative from a foreign Government arguing from the alternative perspective. Obviously, if a matter is corrected in the Court of Appeal or in the Supreme Court, it will not get there, but it would be interesting to see how the European Court of Human Rights or the European Court of Justice, which I think has a similar jurisdiction for the purposes of EU members, will deal with this issue. This is a really big problem; there has been a really big cover-up, and it needs to be sorted out.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Team Voice Blog TV - Live this Thursday 7pm





This is what should be waiting for the editors of the JERSEY EVENING POST and their role in the Horrendous child abuse cover up. Kelvin MacKenzie = Bright & Shipley..






I would like to remind readers that Team Voice will be starting their Blog TV this coming Thursday. 

We will start Broadcasting Live at 7pm. 


We will be discussing many of the issues that are current. 


These include the Comptroller and Auditor General and the way he had the rug pulled from under him.


The Committee of No Enquiry 


And the Jurat system.


The Link to the live Broadcast can be found here:







Rico Sorda

Part Time Investigative Journalist