Sunday, 26 September 2010

Napier Report Imminent?













With the Report of Brian Napier QC, long overdue but expected at any time, Team Voice thought we would refresh our readers/viewers’ memories, over the coming weeks, with some of our publications we believe Mr. Napier QC might, or should be, aware of as part of his enquiry/report.


On February the 23rd 2010 we published THIS Blog posting. In the Blog posting former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM told us, (among many other revelations) “I do not have the technical capability to insert my comments alongside those of Andrew Lewis. It may therefore be necessary for the reader to be in possession of the comments of the former Minister while reading my comments. If this causes difficulty I apologise. It is the best I can do with the resources available.”

In order to assist readers/viewers and indeed, former CPO Power QPM we have decided, to publish a “REDACTED” version of the original post. We have concentrated on this sentence from Graham Power QPM “I do not have the technical capability to insert my comments alongside those of Andrew Lewis."

We hope that this will be helpful to readers and all involved. Although we do strongly suggest reading the original post.

Former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis released his statement in Response to P9/2010 submitted by Deputy Bob Hill, and the sworn AFFIDAVIT of Graham Power QPM.



1. I have sympathy for the concerns that Mr Power has for his family but it must be pointed out that the reason that his daughter became aware of his plight whilst driving to work in Australia was because Mr Power, upon leaving the meeting with me and Mr Ogley at Cyril Le Marquand House, went directly to the BBC radio station to make a statement despite being advised not to do so. This story was immediately syndicated across the world.



1. In this paragraph Mr Lewis attempts to blame me for the publicity regarding the suspension. During the suspension interview he made it clear that it had already been decided that he and the then Chief Minister (who had no lawful role in the matter whatsoever) would shortly be giving a press conference, the arrangements for which had been put in place the previous day, presumably in anticipation of the outcome of the suspension meeting on 12th. It is natural and understandable that in light of this information I should decide to ensure that my side of the story was given comparable coverage.
 
 
 
 


2. Mr Power also suggests that I should have discussed my actions with the previous Minister Senator Wendy Kinnard before carrying them out. In the context of the reasons for his suspension this would have been quite inappropriate as the Minister had handed over responsibility for oversight of the abuse inquiry many months before due a conflict of interest.


2. Mr Lewis claims that any consultation with the previous Minister would have been a conflict of interest. He misses the point. The relevant period of the historic abuse enquiry was undertaken under the political oversight of another person who is not recorded as having expressed any formal concerns. In his actions of 12th November 2008 Mr Lewis was applying retrospective judgement in respect of actions which occurred prior to him assuming office. He was, in common parlance, moving the goalposts after the event. His failure to consult with the person who was actually in political office at the relevant time is a breach of the basic principles of fairness.
 
 
 
3. The act of suspension was fully in line with the disciplinary code and is designed as a neutral act in order to give the Chief Officer sufficient time to defend his position uncompromised by the constraints of office. The code has a clear process of appeal despite Mr Power’s allegations that such provision does not exist.


 
3. Mr Lewis claims that the process he applied was in accordance with the disciplinary code and he appears to imply that it was in some way fair and “neutral.” This claim is made in spite of the strong criticism of his actions by the Royal Court. He does not address this criticism and appears to prefer to pretend that it does not exist. Contrary to his claim, the disciplinary code provides for no appeal against suspension. There is a right of appeal against the findings of a disciplinary hearing. No such hearing has yet occurred and none has been arranged.


 
 
 
 
 
4. Mr Power also claims that the code was rewritten hours before it was invoked, this is quite misleading. The nature of the code was not rewritten it was simply amended for use under the new ministerial government system, which involved replacing the word committee with that of minister. The same has applied to numerous documents right across the States since the inception of ministerial government


4. Lewis says “Mr Power also claims that the code was rewritten hours before it was invoked, this is quite misleading.” If this is genuinely misleading then I am quite happy to be led towards the truth. If it was re-written at an earlier time, who did this and who asked for it to be done? Could it by any chance be the same as yet unidentified person or persons who decided, apparently without any Ministerial authority, to spend a Saturday morning drafting suspension notices for the Chief Officer of Police on the off-chance that the Minister, who according to his statement to Wiltshire Police, “had no reason to believe that they were not managing the investigation well” might suddenly change his mind? Or was it intended that the Minister would have his mind changed for him? Without a proper enquiry we will never know.
 
 


5. Both Mr Power and Deputy Hill claim that the decision to suspend the Chief of Police was somehow rushed, “done on a whim with little consideration and without seeking advise”. I refute this suggestion most strongly. I had been aware for sometime of concerns about the command and control of the Child Abuse enquiry and in my capacity as Minister had been regularly briefed by the Deputy Chief Officer on the progress of an independent review of the case, being carried out by The Metropolitan Police.


5. In his recent statement Mr Lewis says “I had been aware for some time of concerns about the command and control of the Child Abuse Enquiry.” In his formal statement to Wiltshire Police he states “Until I received the letter from David WARCUP, (on 11th November 2008 – the day before the suspension) I had no reason to believe that they were not managing the investigation well.” (Paragraph 3.) Is Mr Lewis now admitting that his statement to Wiltshire Police is not true? If it helps, it appears that prior to signing his statement to Wiltshire Police, Mr Lewis signed a declaration which among other things (such as page numbers and the like) states “This statement is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and I make it knowing that, if it is tendered in evidence, I shall be liable to prosecution if I have wilfully stated anything in it which I know to be false or do not believe to be true.” If the signed statement to Wiltshire Police is not true then it is a serious matter. On the face of it, his recent public statement, and the statement to Wiltshire cannot both be true. This is something which may require a more formal investigation. I will return to this issue later.
 
 


6. Mr Power had also been regularly briefed on the progress of the review in even more detail than I. He was also informed that the Deputy Chief Of Police was planning to brief Ministers on the 11thNovember on the findings of the review that were expected to be shocking. Despite this Mr Power decided to go on holiday. I questioned this with him but he claimed that there was nothing in the Met report to be concerned about. Subsequent revelations that are now well documented were of course quite the opposite.
 
6. Mr Lewis states that I was aware of the planned briefing to Ministers on 11th November 2008. This is just plain untrue. Pure and simple. This was planned and executed without my knowledge. If he claims that I was aware it might be useful for him to state who told me, and when. He then states “Despite this Mr Power chose to go on holiday.” This is almost a total reversal of the truth. Mr Lewis knows, or at least he should know, that my absence was not a “holiday.” I was attending to family welfare issues in the UK which had by that time been postponed for too long due to work commitments. The evidence indicates that far from my absence being some form of abdication of responsibility on my part, it was seized upon in a series of events which bear all of the characteristics of a planned coup d’ état. The first day of my leave was 7th November 2008. By the following morning persons unknown were preparing suspension notices and, on the evening of my return to the island I was told to attend a meeting the following morning.
 
7. During my final meeting with Mr Power he was not asked to resign he never has been, it was an action that I did not wish to invoke because it was important that a thorough investigation of the allegations made in the Met review was undertaken before any further action was taken in respect of Mr Power’s position. Hence the suspension was an important neutral act. I am not at liberty to disclose the contents of the Met Report as I am bound by the disciplinary code. However I refute strongly the repeated suggestion by Mr Power that he does not know why he has been suspended, full details of the reasons are contained in the two page letter that was given to him at our meeting with him on the 12th November 2008.


7. Lewis states that I was not “asked to resign.” All parties agree on at least one thing. That is that at the start of the meeting I was asked to“consider my position.” I leave it to others to decide what is commonly understood to be meant by this statement. Interestingly Mr Lewis states “I am not at liberty to disclose the contents of the Met Report.” According to his statement to Wiltshire Police he could hardly do so given that he claims “I never saw the Metropolitan Review Document.” (Paragraph 14.) Again, it is hard to reconcile these two statements.
 
 
 
 
 
8. Mr Power also claims that the notes taken at the meeting on the 12thNovember which were later typed from Mr Ogley’s notes some how differed from Mr Power’s recollection of the meeting. The transcripts of the meeting were forwarded to me for my approval. I can categorically state that they were a true and accurate record of the meeting. Mr Power has never corresponded with me to the effect that they did not reflect the meeting.
 
8. In his recent statement Lewis refers to the typed notes which are alleged to be a true record of the disciplinary meeting and says “Mr Power has never corresponded with me to the effect that they did not reflect the meeting.” In a letter addressed to the Minister dated 1st December 2008 I begin “Dear Minister.” I then go on to list a number of issues. In paragraph 5 and 6 I refer to the alleged typed notes of the meeting and list areas of the notes which I consider to be untrue. On 5th December 2008 I received a reply which had been sent on the Ministers behalf. I have copies of both letters. The recent claim by Lewis that “Mr Power has never corresponded with me to the effect that they (the notes) did not reflect the meeting” is a further transparent falsehood and can be shown to be so.



9. I am deeply concerned that the subsequent enquiry into this matter conducted by Wiltshire constabulary has taken so long. I was advised that such an investigation would only take until March 2009. The longer such matters are left the more open they are to wild allegations of conspiracy. Such allegations I most strongly refute. The reasons for suspension were compelling; the process was diligent, professional and painstakingly considered in accordance with the disciplinary code. I took full legal and HR advice from highly competent professionals and followed the prescribed procedure of the day.



9. I am grateful for the comments of Andrew Lewis in this paragraph. He confirms that he and others were apparently misled as to the duration of the disciplinary enquiry, stating that he was told that it would be concluded by March 2009. It is now of course almost March 2010 and the matter is still outstanding. He does not say who misled him or speculate as to their motives. He says that he is “deeply concerned” about this issue. His concerns, if authentic, are appreciated. During this time he has of course been getting on with his life. I am the one who has been suspended until such time as there is no possibility of a return to work, and I have therefore effectively been dismissed.
 
 
 
 
10. I had on a number of occasions publicly and privately extolled my respect and admiration for Mr Power as competent manager and Chief Police Officer. Which was why I was deeply shocked by the revelations and allegations presented by other competent independent policing authorities concerning Mr Powers command and control of Jerseys biggest ever criminal investigation.



 
10. In this paragraph Mr Lewis praises my professional virtues. He then says that he was shocked by the revelations presented by “competent independent policing authorities.” He does not say who these authorities were. Whoever they were they could not have been the Metropolitan Police whose report he “never saw.” (Witness statement paragraph 14.)


 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Such allegations must be and I am led to believe have now been thoroughly investigated. I now look forward to the publication of the Wiltshire Constabulary’s report, which I have fully cooperated with. If further enquires are proved necessary I would fully support and cooperate with such a process.


 
11. Mr Lewis states that he will now “look forward to the publication of the Wiltshire Constabulary’s report.” In that respect he may be disappointed, given that Wiltshire have ruled their report to be confidential and stated that their report is exempt from any Freedom of Information laws on a number or grounds, including the claim that any disclosure would be “likely to prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and Jersey.”(Confidentiality rules. Wiltshire report.) I will of course abide by the confidentiality rules imposed by Wiltshire. Andrew Lewis apparently intends otherwise. In this paragraph Mr Lewis goes on to state that he would fully co-operate with any further enquiries which may be necessary. I am pleased to hear this in view of what I have to say below with regard to this issue.
 
 
Personal comment. 


Having concluded my comments on the recent release by Andrew Lewis, I now offer the following thoughts: 

Among all of the conflicting accounts and confusion a number of things appear to be evident. Nobody appears to dispute that important evidence, in the form of the original record of the suspension meeting was wilfully destroyed.

There is evidence that suspension documents which bore the date 12th November 2008 and which claimed to be in response to information received the previous day, were, shall we say, deficient in authenticity.

There is an apparent conflict between things said in the legally admissible statement made by Andrew Lewis and the things which he is saying now. There might be an explanation for this, although none is immediately apparent.

In these circumstances I believe that there is a compelling case for a full independent investigation with intrusive legal powers, into the actions of Andrew Lewis and others on and around 12th November 2008 and that given the circumstances, a full criminal investigation, by an independent police force, may be appropriate. This is of course a matter for others to decide. Nevertheless, notwithstanding my effective dismissal from the police service, I remain fully committed to support any enquiry, criminal or otherwise, into the events of November 2008. 

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Lenny Harper Guest posting.


Former DCO and Senior Investigating Officer of the Haut de la Garenne Child Abuse investigation (Operation Rectangle) Lenny Harper continues to answer the many questions that still remain surrounding this Investigation.


When will our “powers that be” start to realise that the truth is out, with more to come yet? In the meantime a big thank you must go out to Lenny Harper and Graham Power for continuing to support the survivors of unimaginable abuse and for having the courage and integrity to continue defying those who set out to intimidate and demoralise them into silence.


VOICE FOR CHILDREN – ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS

I have been away from home for a couple of weeks and on my return I have noticed that a number of people have asked questions which they would like me to answer. As the postings have now been superseded with others, I have put them all together in this document which VFC has agreed to pass on.


The first few questions were posed by Rob Kent. In respect of the situation regarding evidence when I left I recall that we had, I think, eighteen priority suspects. Among these were several still employed in senior posts in the States and some with frightening access to vulnerable children. Senior civil servants and the ministers concerned in those departments were all aware of the situation as was the then Attorney General who had been briefed personally by me. Of these, at least eight were capable in my opinion of being charged. There might have been more. This number contained at least two of those mentioned above as being still in positions of trust. I had also personally briefed at least one Head of Department about someone under his command within the Health Department. I was continually patronised by senior legal figures who insisted that they as lawyers were the only ones who really knew if there was sufficient evidence to charge someone. This of course is utter nonsense. Thirty years of involvement in prosecutions, including charging and presenting our own cases in court, then close working with the CPS in England, the DPP’s office in Northern Ireland, and the Fiscal’s Department in Scotland had left me with massive experience in when there was sufficient evidence to charge. Events in Jersey proved this also, with me defying the then AG to have Wateridge charged and subsequently convicted, and in the case of the couple assaulting children with cricket bats when even the Centenier agreed that there was sufficient evidence to charge in spite of the Law Officers ordering us not to.

Among these cases where a number where if the allegations had been made in the UK there would have been prosecutions on the basis of similar fact evidence. One of these involved a high ranking States Official with access to children on a daily basis. Two separate individuals had made allegations against him which would have been considered both to be Rape in the UK. In Jersey, because of the law, one was seen as an indecent assault. I considered this to be semantics because the facts of the cases were still similar enough to charge. But not according to the Law Officers’ Department in Jersey.

As for part two of Rob’s question regarding how the investigation would have developed, there are a number of aspects to this. The investigation had already been extended out from the wardens and employees. As I have said, there were several in extremely high positions already being investigated. We would have, and I expected Gradwell to continue to do the same, kept on with the same lines of enquiry. We would have just kept on plugging away and gathering evidence in the same fashion. We were already looking at the investigations involving the Sea Cadets, some suggestions of a ring at HDLG (supported by witness statements in the convictions of other abusers – you may recall the ‘lending out of children to members of the boating fraternity), and the abuse by victims. All of these lines of enquiry seemed to be terminated when Gradwell and Warcup arrived.


I should have had some inkling that something was not quite right when on one of his visits over, Warcup spent several hours with the AG (longer than he spoke to me) and pronounced that he had got on very well with him. I should add that we had closed the live enquiries involving allegations of assaults within the Sea Cadets as the offences we uncovered were either not proceeded with by the law officers or the victims were reluctant. Allegations of cover-up by police officers, sea cadet officers, and other officials were not part of our remit at that time although I have no doubt that the evidence was so strong of threats, intimidation, (towards the victims) and downright dishonesty among certain officials (such as in the case of Maguires) that someone would have had to look at this eventually. The one exception to this was the involvement of a senior States of Jersey Police Officer who was clearly involved in obstructing earlier attempts to investigate HDLG and the involvement of other senior police officers in cover-ups. Graham Power and I instigated an investigation by one of the Yorkshire forces into this and I liaised closely with them. During all of this time I was being kept informed and all the signs were that the report would find this officer culpable of a number of discipline and possibly criminal offences. After my retirement I heard nothing of this enquiry and to the best of my knowledge it has been completely suppressed. When I retired the investigating officers were only a matter of a few days away from delivering their report. My view was that given the time, resources, and of course the political and establishment will, then prosecutions and convictions could have been brought in respect of these crimes which made worse the abuse already suffered by the victims. However, as can be seen from the moronic foot stomping and jeering in the States by certain members at the mention of child abuse, this was never going to be allowed.

Someone else mentions the cellars. I have gone over this again and Bob Hill has of course blew it out of the water, but such is the denseness and sheer lack of objectivity of the JEP and its editorial team (oh dear – I am just about to bring another attack on me in its pages!) that it is worth repeating again. I personally escorted a number of those who have criticised the enquiry and subscribed publicly to the theory put about by Gradwell and Warcup that there were no cellars, around HDLG. This includes Diane Simon of the JEP, (she who has memory lapses from one article to another and forgets that she reported the fact that I refused to mention shackles), Deputy Andrew Lewis when he was in Home Affairs, Frank Walker (and his wife) when he was Chief Minister, and a number of others. They all clearly saw the cellars because I stood over them with all present and described what evidence we had about what had gone on in there. Their denials show either the onset of Dementia or outright lying. Only they know which it is.

And of course there is one other strange bit of behaviour recently highlighted by Voice For Children. That of Deputy Kevin Lewis. When we had allegations of abuse in the cellars we were at a loss as to where these were or had been. Deputy Lewis very kindly came up to HDLG, described them to us and took us to the spot where we could access them. It was thanks to him that we found the cellars and all the teeth and children’s bones that we found in there – including those which the Anthropologist in Sheffield said were “fleshed and fresh” when burnt and buried. Why he did not come forward and contradict the obvious untruths in the now notorious press conference by Warcup and Gradwell, only he knows. It is perhaps a “tribute” to the power and the ruthlessness of those who do not want the truth to be known that a man like this is scared to do the right thing. For make no mistake about it, these people are powerful and ruthless. The examples are numerous. My own experience when early in the abuse enquiry I was being stopped for scurrilous reasons by the AG’s Honorary Police and the subject of false complaints which didn’t stop until I challenged the AG in a letter which I subsequently published in Senator Syvret’s blog, and all that has happened since then show the lengths to which they will go. This continues even recently when the charity I do some voluntary work for received anonymously, copies of the Jersey establishment malicious allegations against Graham Power and myself. Perhaps Kevin Lewis, as others, does not want to let himself in for this.

The new heating system was installed, we believed, late sixties or early seventies.

These are the answers to points I believed I missed whilst away. I apologise if I have left any out.

Lenny Harper



Friday, 17 September 2010

CHILDREN: NIL - FINANCE: EVERYTHING



Deputy Trevor Pitman has agreed, despite his heavy workload, to put together a few words on his experience in the States on what could be called “Black Wednesday” (for those of us who care about our most vulnerable………..children).


Although Deputy Pitman makes mention of Assistant Home Affairs Minister Jackie Hilton, he does not, in my opinion, do justice to the appalling, dangerous and ignorant speech she made in the States on “Black Wednesday”. Deputy Pitman is aware that Team Voice will be publishing a Blog about Deputy Hilton as soon as the Hansard is available, so I am guessing this is why he did not dwell on the subject in this guest posting.

From Deputy Trevor Pitman.

Many would say that there have been a lot of dark days in the States under this Council of Ministers and they would be right of course. But Wednesday 15th September 2010 must be right up there amongst the very blackest. If you happen to care a jot about the future of this island’s children, that is. Not to mention believing that there is actually meant to be a balance between the development of the social and the economic when it comes to policy.

Trouble is if you are a politician stubborn - okay, maybe that should be stupid - enough to voice such opinions in this Assembly; an administration that is probably the most right-wing and arrogant with it since about 1944 then you are going to be a member of a heavily outnumbered minority. My God, for once even the Jersey Evening Post seemed to sense something wasn’t at all right here with the Thursday headline: “Cuts hit classroom…but the States find £400,000 to support finance!

Am I just a ‘leftie rebel’ being over the top again? Well, just consider the facts…

During the course of the debate on behalf of the ESC & Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel I attempted to persuade States Members to protect a long-standing agreement that costs the States just £33,000 per year which ensures our youngest children get to visit and participate in absolutely brilliant learning sessions at Durrell Wildlife.

You might have thought that ensuring our children get to learn – hands on – about the natural world and their place in it would be something that the Council of Ministers would appreciate as important. I mean…the Chief Minister was once upon a time actually a schoolteacher. And the learning opportunity offered by Durrell does actually cost the organisation more than the said grant to keep running But no.

Most of your representatives couldn’t give a damn. Okay, so there were a few Members who would definitely, or might have voted the right way not present – Deputy Shona Pitman and the Constable of St. Mary were both off ill after suffering bereavements; Deputies Roy Le Herissier and Kevin Lewis had incredibly seen fit to go on a CAP jaunt to Kenya (in Business Plan week!!!). But even then, the result of 31 -14 against says it all.

The Scrutiny Panel also tried our best to save the cutting of a Child Psychologist post. Surely we would be successful on this one – we had just had, in fairly quick succession the Williamson Report, the Vulnerable Children’s Services Review and the School Suspensions Review (the latter two both of which I sat on) and the need for support in this area couldn’t have been hammered home more forcibly. The sum involved was also just £88,000 for expertise that often actually saves lives.

Did any of this count? Not a jot. The amendment went down 33 – 13 as the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party closed ranks to bury this one too. Yet maybe the result was not even the worst bit? During the course of the debate both Deputy Jackie Hilton and Senator Paul Routier expressed the mind-boggling sentiment that regardless of their concerns at the cut of such a post they would be taking a chance and voting with the Council of Ministers as per instructions. I had to express my total disbelief of course, but it didn’t matter obviously. Maybe they can explain their thinking?…….. I can’t.

But maybe Deputy Geoff Southern would have some better luck? Surely eight school foreign language assistants at £67,000 would be valued? Nope. Even with Senator Ozouf feeling a sudden and unexpected pang of guilt this was battered down by the motley collection of right-wing ideologues, Hooray Henries and assorted wannabe Muppets who follow them 25 – 20.

School milk, then – this had to be winnable, surely? Deputy Southern, love him or loathe him, had fought and won this battle on no fewer than three previous occasions. Not this time. The excuses were startling. The Health Minister and then even ESC Assistant Minister, Deputy Anne Dupré pitching in to give one of her seemingly twice yearly contributions urging members to vote against.

Apparently this service had to stop: obesity, you know. Being a professionally qualified fitness instructor I did point out that anyone who would argue that small quantities of skimmed milk makes people fat must be as mad as a balloon - more likely factors being sugary drinks, unhealthy diet generally, and inadequate physical activity within schools these days - but to no avail. 30 – 14 once again to the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party.

Depressing it certainly was. And then we came to the Youth Service.

Okay, so I really should have known better than to bring this one. I apologise. I mean, what was I thinking of? So what that for obvious reasons I happen to know more about this department than the whole Council of Ministers put together? So what that, despite years of denials a confidential independent report had recently backed up exactly what I, and Deputy Shona Pitman before me, had said about the management structure I now wished to re-direct monies from being top heavy?

So what that the proposed ‘saving’ of £50,000 had been originally sold as investment in front-line services in the first place; and that I now wanted to invest this in some very key front-line areas like youth employment work; anti-social behaviour initiatives, political education raising awareness about democracy and the workings of government; and much-needed anti-racism initiatives that might just help put an end, for example, to the appalling attacks we have seen on foreign students, and contribute to a more tolerant community?

No, I was obviously being very foolish and the result showed it with another 33 – 12 defeat. I just wasn’t being realistic along with the other usual suspects who keep banging on about this need to balance the social with the economic, people matter type nonsense. After all, the Council of Ministers had made it quite clear with their stance on agriculture and tourism.

We had to make cuts.

Every department was the same.

There was no alternative.

Industries just had to face up to standing on their own two feet.

The world had changed…

And then the ‘Couldn’t Give A Damn About Children’ Party and their followers had bullied through a £400,000 increase to the Finance industry (2009 profits £809 million) for a ‘promotional’ office in Abu Dhabi…

£400,000…

Only £21,000 short of what it would have cost the States – and more importantly we taxpayers – to secure all of the initiatives for children and young people that I outline above…

£400,000

And there would be a whole lot more to follow…

I had constituent meetings after the States on Wednesday night but when I  got home around 9.30pm I admit I was feeling pretty dejected. Still, looking at my e-mails and listening to what totalled 23 contacts expressing complete disgust for the Council of Ministers’ actions I soon picked myself up.

Tomorrow would obviously be better, wouldn’t it? I mean, on behalf of the ESC & Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel I was bringing an amendment to secure funding for the ten years overdue anti-discrimination legislation.

Everyone in the States was against discrimination…….weren’t they???????????

Submitted by Deputy Trevor Pitman/VFC.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

The needless and avoidable suffering of Family “X”




The Press Release below from Hanson and Renouf is self explanatory.
As regular readers will be aware the case of family “X” brought about the “Serious Case Review” (SCR) that was scathing of just about every department of our States and Law Offices who are involved with the “care” of our children.


Senator’s Jimmy Perchard and Ben Shenton have been critical of former Senator Syvret’s tenure as Health Minister, but what happened on their watch? Could further horrendous ABUSE of family “X” have been avoided? Did SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS of tax payer’s money need to be spent? Are Senator’s Ben Shenton and Jimmy Perchard qualified to ignore the advice of Childcare Experts? And what is the human cost when they do?
 



PRESS RELEASE



13th September 2010 



Senator Jim Perchard – “£600K wasted by Former Minister’s intransigence over children’s care” 

In a week where the States is concentrating upon budget cuts Senator Jim Perchard has finally been counting the cost of his intransigence. In a written answer to his own question it was revealed this afternoon that some £600,000 in costs were incurred by virtue of his steadfast refusal to agree that Family X received the correct care that all the experts said that they needed.



In November 2008 Children’s Service and all experts were agreed that the children in Family X needed specialist therapeutic care in England that could not be delivered in Jersey and so as to attempt to put right the decade of abuse which they had experienced when the system failed to intervene and protect them. At that time the Health Minister Senator Ben Shenton declined to make the monies available and this decision was persisted in by his successor Senator Jim Perchard until he eventually resigned and was replaced by Deputy Anne Pryke in 2009.

Whilst the current Health Minister apologized publicly for the failures that led to the X children suffering over a decade of abuse, and also agreed to the funding being made available, the intransigence of her predecessors had already led to a costly legal battle involving Jersey lawyers, medical experts and specialist English barristers.

The case involved contested care proceedings in the Royal Court, two Judicial Review applications and two appeals to the Court of Appeal where the children eventually overturned the position defended doggedly by Senator Perchard.

Barbara Corbett, Head of Hanson Renouf’s Family team commented that:

 “As early as November, 2008, I had spoken to Senator Shenton advising that his department’s plans to warehouse these vulnerable children in unsuitable care homes in Jersey would be opposed and that it was inevitable that significant legal and expert costs would be incurred if his department continued to ignore the recommendations of all the experts, including Children’s Services. Ultimately, the Court of Appeal confirmed what we had been saying all along, including that the Minister and certain key officials had acted in breach of natural justice and had acted unfairly. Unfortunately, it was not until the outcome of the Serious Case Review earlier this year that the children received a public apology for the system’s wider failure to halt their appalling treatment. ”

On the issue as to why it is important for children to have representation from a Guardian and a Jersey lawyer, Advocate Hanson stated:

“This case and the failures referred to in the Serious Case Review demonstrate why it is important for children to be properly assisted in legal proceedings. The result would have been completely different without legal and expert advice being made available. We can however cut future legal costs by efficiencies and competitive tendering without hacking away at children’s rights.”

As to feeling any anxiety from politicians who have different agendas, Advocate Hanson said this:

“We all know that funding for anything is tight but we do need someone to be speaking up for children’s rights as otherwise they risk being overlooked. Jersey is a wonderful place but unfortunately complacency and fear often mean that people who could make a difference, keep quiet.” 

In July 2008, when Senator Perchard was the Assistant Minister for Health and Social Services, he welcomed the Williamson Report and its recommendations saying that he was delighted the report had given the island’s child protection services “a clean bill of health”. The Serious Case Review published in February, 2010 showed how complacent such an observation had been and the apparently superficial approach by some Ministers to legitimate child protection concerns.


ENDS

Submitted by VFC.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

I’m a Jersey Politician……Keep me in here.

Now that we are at the end of the television show “Big Brother” and will soon (for those that choose to watch) be subjected to “I’m a celebrity get me out of here”. These shows offer viewers the chance to vote out the contestants by phoning up a premium number phone line.


The contestants that get voted out early on are those that “rock the boat”, are “controversial”, put their “heads above the parapet” and are not “afraid” to “stand up and be counted”. They get noticed and offer the viewer a reason to vote them out. They get “bad press” horrible things written about them by the “accredited” media.

Then you have the quiet ones, they fly under the radar, don’t get noticed, keep their mouths shut. Even if they do have an opinion, are too cowardly to voice it in fear of being voted out. They make for very boring viewing but manage to weasel their way, relatively un-noticed to the final, despite the fact they have contributed nothing or very little to the show or the viewer and get nice things written about them by the “accredited” media.

So then we get to our politicians.

I am conscious that Rico Sorda is soon to start a series on his Blog where he will be writing about “The Foot Stamping Lackeys of the Motherland” (FSLM). Those are our politicians that say, or do, little in the States other than to grumble, grown, or shout down anybody that mentions anything about the Child Abuse scandal or related issues.

Deputy Kevin Lewis doesn’t fit into the FSLM category, because he doesn’t even do that. Despite being an authority on the Haute de la Garenne building and having spoken with former residents he is able to supply contradictory information to that of which has been published in a Press Release by Mick Gradwell and David Warcup but he has (to the best of my knowledge) said or done nothing with this contradictory information at any States Sitting.

In November 2008 Mick Gradwell and David Warcup released THIS Press Statement. Part of that Press Statement reads “These are floor voids. They are not cellars, and it is impossible for a grown person to stand up straightin the floor voids under Haut de la Garenne.” but in an e-mail to me, some time ago, the Deputy said this  “I met up with the senior investigating officer (Lenny Harper) and took him around the building pointing out cellars (my emphasis) and how to gain access.”

In the same Press Statement Mick Gradwell and David Warcup had this to say “This bath in the under floor voids has no water supply and has not been used as a bath since the 1920’s” but in another e-mail to me some time ago, the Deputy said this “the comments below is information I have received from former residents from 1935 onwards (my emphasis)” Deputy Lewis also said “originally the Bath area was accessed by an external door (existing)” . so if, according to Mick Gradwell and David Warcup “This bath in the under floor voids” then how come there was an external door leading to it? Furthermore if Deputy Lewis was told by former residents of Haute de la Garenne - post 1935 residents - “all the boys had to line up and were sent in ten at a time having to scrub the back of the person in front then out and the next ten in.” then why has he never mentioned any of this in the States?

I am led to believe (and stand to be corrected) that all States members were given a copy of the Gradwell/Warcup Press Release and it certainly has been quoted from in the States. Then why has Deputy Lewis been so silent about it all? I did ask him and he said “The reason I have not made any comment is that the investigations were ongoing”

Well if ever there was a time to “make any comment”, surely it is while the investigation is still live isn’t it? If he, as a States member, is being given contradictory information to what he has been given, in most cases from the Home Affairs Minister, then surely he has a duty to impart that information doesn’t he?

Why has the Deputy been so quiet over the HDLG affair? Why has he never (to the best of my knowledge) shown any States Member, who have questioned and put their head above the parapet, any support?

Is he a shrewd “contestant” who doesn’t want to get voted out for rocking the boat or voicing his opinion on controversial issues? Does he want to stay in the “show” for as long as possible? Do the wrong people get voted out and receive the bad press? Shouldn’t all the attention be turned on those that are doing and saying nothing in our States as apposed to those that are questioning and attempting to hold Ministers and their Departments to account? Those that aren’t afraid to put their heads above the parapet and tackle controversial issues?

I reproduce the latest e-mail sent to Deputy Kevin Lewis. The e-mail was sent on the 3rd of September (a week ago) and despite sending him a “reminder” on the 7th of September he still has not even acknowledged receipt of the e-mail. You will see by the e-mail that I was prompted to send him it due to the comments on the previous posting

E-MAIL TO DEPUTY KEVIN LEWIS 07/09/2010

Kevin.

I would like to point you towards my latest Blog posting.http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.com/2010/09/bewilderment.html
You will see in the comments I have written this.

"This is something very curious.


Here is some “redacted” parts of an e-mail correspondence I had with Deputy Kevin Lewis, some time ago."

“the comments below is information I have received from former residents from 1935 onwards” 


“originally the Bath area was accessed by an external door (existing) to enable buckets of hot water to be brought in I believe the bathroom then was uncovered, at that time it was a boys only school, all the boys had to line up and were sent in ten at a time having to scrub the back of the person in front then out and the next ten in.”

But in the Gradwell/Warcup Press Release they say this

“This bath in the under floor voids has no water supply and has not been used as a bath since the 1920’s”

Like I said this is very curious. Deputy Lewis, it would appear, has witness testimony from residents of Haute de la Garenne who used the bath which is from 1935 onwards. But Gradwell and Warcup have another story."

What I would like to know is - did you inform Mr. Gradwell and Warcup that you had this witness testimony that contradicted what they had published in their Press Release, if not why not, and if so could you please elaborate?

END E-MAIL.

One can only hope that Deputy Lewis will start asking some meaningful questions of our Home Affairs Minister regarding these contradictions and other related issues concerning HDLG in order that we can get to the TRUTH. If he chooses to keep his head down he might just find that the game has changed…….keeping your head down just might get you some bad press and inevitably get you voted off the "show."

Deputy "Kevin" Lewis should not be confused with Former Deputy "Andrew" Lewis.



Former Deputy "Andrew" Lewis held the posistion of Home Affairs Minister for a matter of weeks. During that time, the only significant "Ministerial Decision" he made was to suspend our most Senior Police Officer and then retired from politics. The Royal Court, and others, were critical of the procedure, or lack of, that Andrew Lewis employed, or didn't, in the suspension.

Submitted by VFC.

Friday, 3 September 2010

"Bewilderment?"

video


After weeks of not having a reply to my e-mails from Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand, I was told yesterday, by his Assistant Minister Deputy Jackie Hilton that he has chosen to ignore them!, the good old Jersey "Democratic" way.


However, to cut a long story short, I would like to share with readers the "encounter" I had with Senator Le Marquand this morning, before going into his Scrutiny meeting. He told me that he will reply to, and answer, the questions in my e-mail(s) that I have been asking for months to no avail. If/when that happens all will be published on here.

I have entitled this post "bewilderment" because, although it doesn't describe the feeling I experienced today, I truly can't think of a word that does.

While talking with Senator Le Marquand I was trying to explain the complete "nonsense" that the general public are expected to swallow concerning the Haute de la Garenne Child Abuse enquiry and I put a couple of examples to him. One being the fragment of child’s skull/Coconut, (which is the subject of the e-mails he has not been replying to) as in, how does a piece of child’s skull containing 1.6 per cent Collagen (which is only found in Mammals) turn into a piece of Coconut? Where is the scientific data? An audit trail? But more about that in an up-coming post. What I asked him today was, why was this skull/Coconut sent for more analyses in the first place? Not only that, but why was it sent, approximately a year after it was discounted as evidence? It had no evidential significance in the Haute de la Garenne investigation (Operation Rectangle).

Then we have the SIXTY FIVE CHILDREN’S TEETH which were not discounted as evidence and indeed Mick Gradwell and David Warcup are quoted as saying “It is possible for more tests to be done on the teeth to clarify age and other factors.” So why have we heard no more about the teeth which did/do have evidential significance, and we are told the skull is a Coconut which has no evidential significance? Un-surprisingly the good Senator was not able to answer this, and I'm not sure he grasped how nonsensical it is.

Now we come to the “bewilderment” bit. I explained to Senator Le Marquand that there is, in my opinion, fact based scientific evidence and analyses that says some of these teeth, that were found at Haute de la Garenne “could not have been shed naturally” or words to that affect. Implying that the teeth could only have come from the mouths of dead children due to, possibly among other factors, the amount of root that was still attached to the teeth. I explained to the Senator that the only other scenario’s the public have been given are that the teeth were left out for the tooth fairy, or the Senator’s very own “Talk-back” special where he told people around the world, live on radio, that the teeth must have dropped out of children’s mouth’s and fallen through a gap in the floor-board all in the exact same place.

I asked Senator Le Marquand to bear with me while I demonstrated how I believe this must have worked. I walked up the corridor and said “careful of that gap in the floor, one of your teeth might fall out (with root still attached, although I didn’t say that bit) and land on top of the SIXTY FOUR OTHER TEETH that are down there.” I asked “is that what you really believe happened, despite there being strong scientific evidence to the contrary?” To which he replied, along the lines of “yes that is exactly what I believe” .

Well, you really had to be there to experience the feeling. Is “bewilderment” the right word? I don’t know. But running through my mind was, how the hell can you argue against that kind of mentality? Somebody who believes there is a chance that up to sixty five different children walked past this gap in the floorboard and every one of them had a tooth fall out (some with root attached) in the exact same place!!. I mean the odds of that happening have got to be in the billions - one. Yet here we have a Home Affairs Minister, who has had a thirty year career in the Law and Court system who apparently believes this is even remotely plausible. Possibly even more frighteningly he thinks the general public could believe it!

You just couldn’t make this stuff up.

Submitted by VFC.