VFC had asked me to comment on what I saw on the “Inside Out” programme tonight, so I sat down to watch it not knowing what to expect. So many times in the past, the media had promised to tell the truth about what went on in Jersey, and so many times had let the victims, survivors, and all working on their behalf, down. This time I was pleasantly surprised. Within the time constraints of twenty minutes or so, the “Inside Out” team did a pretty good job. Mind you, they had some help in the shape of the hapless Ian Le Marquand.
The aspect of this programme that stood out for me was the testimony of the victims who appeared. Together with Carrie Modral, their courage, determination, and dignity shone through. Despite the trauma this will have re-awakened, and despite the life-long effects suffered, they condemned those who had allowed them to suffer in a manner no one could deny. Watching the programme one could not help but feel anger at those authorities in Jersey who had inflicted such suffering on their own people. Firstly in allowing paedophiles to have unfettered free will in homes that they were supposed to be administering, and then to engage in the crudest and cruellest of cover-ups, not once, but again and again. What brought the qualities of the victims/survivors into stark focus was the contrast with the bumbling, struggling, grasping for words and excuses, Ian Le Marquand. His interview with Sam Smith was a lesson on when people would be better hiding in a TOILET. I doubt if making him look like an out of touch liar will be considered by Sam Smith to be one of her finest journalistic achievements. It was too easy. First he accused her of underplaying the complexity of re-examining the cases where people were not charged, despite myself and others being convinced of the strength of the evidence. “This is more complicated than you are making it” he whined. She demanded to know why.
Stumbling over his words he managed to say, “I don’t think prosecutors will be able to re-visit cases already looked at.”
“Why not?”she said.
“Unless there is new evidence.” However by now he was looking extremely uncomfortable.
Again Smith asked, “Why not?” Then, all over the place and hesitating like a frightened rabbit caught in headlights, he muttered, “Why not? There may be cases where they could do.” And to contradict himself even further, he went on, “In some cases they have.”
As if this was not bad enough, when asked by Smith if these people had not suffered enough he came out with the disgraceful line, accompanied by a smug smile, that “The criminal justice process never moves very fast.”
It certainly doesn’t when people like Ian Le Marquand and others in the Jersey Establishment do everything in their power to stop it from moving at all.
There were other disturbing revelations in the programme also. I knew that I had never had a formal allegation against Jimmy Savile whilst I was in Jersey. Tonight we discovered that “John” had made a formal complaint in 2009 and that the police (presumably Mick Gradwell supervised by David Warcup) had submitted a file to the Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office had ruled there was no further action to be taken. All this without even speaking to Savile. If there was enough to submit a file then surely there was enough to interview the suspect under caution. How did the prosecutors rule no further action without even knowing what the suspect would say to the allegation? John was angry that Saville was not even spoken to. I can understand why.
The Attorney General was asked about the cases which were not proceeded with. He apparently told the BBC that the reasons were made public in 2008 and 2009 and that to the “best of his knowledge” no one had ever challenged the assertions. This is rubbish, and the Attorney General knew it. I had challenged these assertions publicly many times. Indeed, I did it so publicly in one press release and a follow up report that the Attorney General ordered Graham Power to tell me to submit my reasons for criticising his office.
Anyone watching the programme tonight who knew nothing about Jersey would look at the pain and suffering which has blighted the lives of the abuse victims/survivors, and compare their demeanour with that of the man who is supposed to be responsible for the system in place to protect them. They would look at what they were saying, and how they said it, and they would know who is telling the truth. It would be nice to believe that the Committee of Inquiry will be given the teeth and the freedom to get to the truth and bring justice to the people denied it for so long. There is a long way to go yet. The Terms of Reference have been butchered. Important aspects have been left out without an EXPLANATION. Who is to say that the bullies in some section of the government will not intimidate those voting in January to veto the COI altogether? (Although, when you witness the foot stamping in the States when decent members attempt to raise the issue of child abuse, you wonder if it will take much intimidation.) However, there can be no doubt now that the eyes of the outside world are on Jersey and Ian Le Marquand’s pathetic attempt to hide the uncomfortable truth tonight will only ensure this attention intensifies. The blogs of Voice for Children and Rico Sorda will continue to shine the spotlight on the sordid activities of those who have previously only had an acquiescing media to contend with. Now that the UK media has broken the ice, I am sure that others will follow. Let us hope that justice for those so vilely abused is not far away. Lenny Harper(END)