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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Deputy Mike Higgins, Sunday Express, Exclusive and State Media.

Fellow Blogger Rico Sorda and VFC, have once more been recognised, by the National Media,  and have featured in today's edition of the SUNDAY EXPRESS. Also featured in the Express article is Jersey Politician Deputy Mike Higgins who was asked by the paper for a contribution, as a direct result of our previous Blog Posting where we published Deputy Higgins' evidence to the PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE.

Ted Jeory, Home Affairs Editor of the Sunday Express, who  recently visited the island with Author and Investigative Journalist, LEAH MCGRATH GOODMAN, and documentary filmmakers, also published an article on Jersey two weeks ago as featured on Rico Sorda's Blog HERE yet very little, or any of this, has been mentioned in the local State Media.

Today VFC contacted Deputy Mike Higgins and asked if ANY of the local State Media had contacted him as a result of his evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee, or the publications in the Sunday Express. The deputy told us, that he was contacted by a local journalist about the Justice Select Committee and its visit to Jersey. It was reported that the Deputy had made a submission but no details were published of its content and no one has contacted him regarding the Sunday Express article. The Deputy informed us that the only media that has contacted him, in this regard, is National Journalists and documentary filmmakers after reading the articles on this Blog.

As a result of us contacting the Deputy today we were able to obtain the un-redacted document he had sent to the Sunday Express which, for whatever reason, was unable to be published in its entirety and we offer it Exclusively here (below).

Deputy Higgins' submission to Sunday Express (un-redacted)


It is said that the rule of Law is an essential element in a democracy. Parliaments pass laws, the police enforce them and the courts and judiciary deal with those who break them. But what happens when one or more of these institutions fails to do its duty?

Take Jersey, for example. The States of Jersey Police stand accused of: failing to properly investigate a bank for fraud; some civil servants for perjury and others for physical and sexual abuse of children in state care homes; entering premises without a warrant or just cause; playing fast and loose with their surveillance powers, and losing evidence that would help child abuse victims get compensation. They also stand accused of failing to investigate criminal acts allegedly carried out by police officers on other police officers, and of stonewalling all attempts to obtain information and redress. Even the Chief and Deputy Chief of Police are alleged to have perverted the course of justice. But who looks over these guardians of the law. Not the parliament where the Home Affairs Minister when asked if he has called in an external police force to investigate the allegations refuses to answer questions and states that he would like to change the parliament’s standing orders to prevent such questions being asked in future. Not the Data Protection Commissioner who has failed to prevent the abuse of subject access legislation and enforce disclosure.

The lack of accountability and transparency by the States of Jersey Police and the failure of those responsible for overseeing them is seriously damaging the public’s trust in the police, the Island’s parliament, the Data Protection Commissioner and other institutions, such as the Judiciary who also recently faced the ignominy of a judge being jailed for fraud.

"I believe that this should act as a warning to all citizens and politicians on the mainland who believe in democratic accountability. Without transparency in the police, government and a free press with courageous investigative journalists who are prepared to expose these abuses there is the feedstock for corruption. Unfortunately for most people they will only realize how bad it has got when it directly affects them and then it is usually too late.(END).

It should be said, that those accused in this posting will strenuously deny the allegations against them which is why there needs to be an investigation in order to get to the bottom of all this alleged corruption on the island or is it already time for the UK to intervene?

Furthermore, the longer Jersey's State Media attempt to keep a lid on this stuff, the longer the Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media) and National Media will be interested in discovering why they choose to keep it buried?

Monday, 24 June 2013

Deputy Mike Higgins' Evidence.

The House of Commons Select Committee that reviews the Justice Ministry which has responsibility for good governance in the Crown Dependencies are on the island.

The Select Committee, in the coming days, will be meeting with Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, the unelected Lieutenant Governor Sir John McColl, Law Officers and unelected Bailiff Sir Michael Birt. Then they will be meeting with States Members. The Select Committee WILL NOT be meeting with the public.

Jersey politician, Deputy Mike Higgins, among others, has submitted a written submission (below) which makes for extremely alarming reading, yet an oh so familiar tale of alleged corruption in Jersey's government, Civil Service, Judiciary and elsewhere.

Deputy Higgins has told us; "I have been contacted by more than 15 people, to include, former Police Officers, family members of serving Officers and members of the public. The number of cases is growing on a daily basis." The Deputy went on to say; "I am swamped with allegations/evidence of the breakdown in the rule of law and am working round the clock in an attempt to address them all."

Deputy Higgins said "I have attempted to raise these matters in the States (Island's parliament) and the Home affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, refuses to answer, or evades, questions regarding allegations of perversion of the course of justice by the Chief Officer and Deputy Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police and whether he will call in an external Police Force to investigate these allegations. Indeed the Minister has gone one step further and stated he doesn't believe that questions such as these should be asked in the States and would like to see Standing Orders (rules) changed to prevent them being asked in future."



Written evidence from Michael Higgins Issues relating to Good Government.

My name is Michael Higgins. I am a Deputy representing St Helier Districts 3 and 4 in the States of Jersey, the Island’s Parliament. I was first elected to the States in 2008 and subsequently in 2011. We all currently serve a three year term of office.

By way of background I was a Commissioned Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) for twelve years. A lecturer in Economics, Law and Banking at Highlands College in Jersey for 18 years and a member of the Legal and Policy Team at the Jersey Financial Services Commission (the Island’s Financial Regulator) for 12 years before entering politics.

The purpose of my submission is to draw to the Committee’s attention my serious and grave concerns, which I know are shared by a number of my colleagues and many Islanders, about various aspects of the governance of Jersey and in particular the Criminal Justice and Legal Systems, the lack of separation of powers between the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive and the recent Referendum on the Structure of Government.

As each one of these topics would take volumes let alone 3,000 words to elaborate on the purpose of my submission is to request that the Committee be prepared to accept highly detailed evidence based written submissions into these areas in the near future (dossiers are currently being compiled) and to hear oral evidence either in Jersey or in the United Kingdom, so that the Committee can judge the validity or otherwise of our concerns.

To give you an appreciation of some of my personal concerns I will list some of those relating to the to the States of Jersey Police which are primarily based on evidence I have received from numerous sources:

1. The failure of the States of Jersey Police and the Jersey Financial Services Commission to properly investigate allegations of fraud by a financial institution;

2. The failure of the States of Jersey Police to properly investigate allegations of perjury by Civil Servants in a Court of Law, especially when it was alleged some of their former colleagues were involved;

3. The failure of the States of Jersey Police to properly investigate or even accept complaints of perversion of the course of justice and other unlawful activities by serving officers;

4. The failure of the Data Protection Commissioner and her staff to properly assist members of the public who put in subject access complaints to the States of Jersey Police in order to pursue cases against the Police when they are blatantly obstructed by the police;

5. Possible abuses of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Jersey) Law, which is modelled on the UK legislation by the States of Jersey Police;

6. The failure of the Home Affairs Minister to take any action, or if he has done so, any effective action in cases where he has been advised by former police officers that serving police officers have been perverting the course of justice;

7. The loss of evidence from police custody relating to child abuse (Haut de la Garenne) and which is highly relevant to the States Compensation Scheme for victims of abuse;

8. The collusion of civil servants and politicians to remove a Minister from Office which was revealed by a former Chief of Police;

9. The swift and in my view illegal removal of the same former Chief of Police;

10. The working of the legal aid system which means that ordinary citizens have almost no chance of getting any justice in the legal system.

Whilst the Committee may have difficulty in believing that such things are going on in a well regulated financial centre with its own democratically elected government and parliament all I ask is that the Committee be prepared to accept the written submissions when they are completed and hear oral evidence from those with the concerns rather than the normal Executive members and Civil Servants the UK authorities normally hear from and have contact with.

I am turning to the Committee for assistance because it is exceptionally difficult to successfully address these issues in Jersey and external assistance is needed to end the abuses that are occurring in this Island. Unfortunately what I am describing is nothing new but most people are afraid to raise their heads above the parapet as they know they will experience a whole range of subtle and not so subtle pressure to keep quiet or go away.

May 2013(END)

Despite that last paragraph, Deputy Higgins has told us that a growing number of those submitting evidence to him ARE now willing to "put their heads above the parapet" and are prepared, if needs be, to appear at any tribunal/hearing/court and swear their evidence under oath. The Deputy has also said "if this is what they can do to former policemen and members of Jersey's parliament then what are they doing to the more vulnerable members of the public?"

Although the Deputy has said he is swamped with evidence of wrongdoing he would still like to hear from anyone else who has been wronged, or failed by, the States of Jersey Police, the Criminal and Civil Justice System or the Data Protection Office and has evidence to support their claims.

Deputy Higgins can be contacted by e-mail at michael.higgins@jerseymail.co.uk

The Justice Select Committee's remit, and further submissions can be read HERE.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Leah McGrath Goodman Exclusive Interview.


As published in the previous BLOG POSTING US investigative journalist and author Leah McGrath Goodman has been back to the Island of Jersey continuing her research into the Haut de la Garenne atrocities after being BANNED from the UK and Jersey for two years, later reduced to a year after the intervention of UK MP John Hemming and an ONLINE PETITION set up by Jersey politician Deputy Trevor Pitman. Miss Goodman was banned after it became apparent that she was investigating the decades of paedophilia and Child Abuse that has occurred in State run "care" homes and elsewhere on the Island.

Leah McGrath Goodman was joined, on her latest visit to the island, by a number of UK journalists including Home Affairs Editor of The Sunday Express Ted Jeory who has published an article in this weeks edition which we recommend readers take a look at HERE. Miss Goodman was also joined by (among others) a documentary filmmaker but more about that in an up-coming Blog.

In the (exclusive) interview below Leah McGrath Goodman explains how she has received information that the Jersey authorities are still treating the abuse victims/survivors the very same way as they were treated while they were being abused. The victims/survivors are, according to Miss Goodman, still being portrayed as liars and criminals by the governments lawyers involved in the redress scheme. We hear of "lodgers" staying at Haut de la Garenne while it was still being run as a children's home, and as mentioned in Ted Jeory's article Bergerac being filmed while children were still resident.

Miss Goodman also tells us "we WILL be naming them" in regards to the abusers who have not yet faced "justice." She recounts what she was told by a victim/survivor who said "if I could just wake up and know that they were sorry I could live again." We are also told how Jersey's reputation, on the world stage, is being damaged by those attempting to cover up the truth.



Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Leah McGrath Goodman Returns to Jersey.

Previously banned US author and Investigative Journalist Leah McGrath Goodman arrived back in Jersey last night on a flight from Gatwick airport which touched down at 8:35pm.

Ms Goodman, as regular readers will be aware, was banned from the UK, and Jersey, after it became apparent she was investigating the decades of child abuse atrocities on the island as reported HERE. The controversial ban was lifted, after intervention from Jersey politician, Deputy Trevor Pitman, UK MP John Hemming and an ONLINE PETITION was signed by more than 3,600 supporters.

The US journalist, before arriving in the Island last night, had spent a number of days in the UK mainland where she met (for the first time) JOHN HEMMING MP at the Houses of Parliament and personally thanked him for his support in having her ban lifted and his continued support for the work she is undertaking in researching the child abuse atrocities and related matters. While in the mainland Ms Goodman also took the opportunity to meet with other UK MP's to discuss issues surrounding journalists being prevented from carrying out their work in the UK and we hope to bring readers a fuller report on this, and other issues in the coming days.

Team Voice welcome the return of Leah McGrath Goodman to the island and hope she is able to carry out her research without hindrance from those, in powerful positions, with something to hide.

Ms Goodman has agreed to an in-depth video recorded interview  which we will publish in the coming days.




Thursday, 6 June 2013

Senator Philip Bailhache Grouville Parish Hall Meeting.


In our PREVIOUS POSTING we gave our opinion on Senator Philip Bailhache's agenda for the meeting he had called at the Grouville Parish Hall and how we believed it was all part of his bigger plan to break ties with the UK. The meeting was apparently called in order to inform churchgoers what the implications are of the Visitation from Bishop John Gladwin concerning the suspension of Jersey's Dean, his subsequent reinstatement, and related constitutional issues.

What we hadn't foreseen was how this meeting could be used as a platform to discredit the abuse victim (HG) particularly in light of recent events surrounding the Haut de la Garenne atrocities and the Jimmy Savile rein of terror where lessons are supposed to have been learnt.

Former 30 year MET Police veteran, Jersey politician, and Human Rights Campaigner, Bob Hill B.E.M, asked Senator Bailhache, at the meeting, a legitimate question (video below) asking "do you think "HG" (victim) was unfairly treated and will you be putting as much effort into ensuring she gets as well looked after as the Dean?" Senator Bailhache appeared stomped by that question, and it was left to Dr. Ashenden to fend it off the best he could. Dr. Ashenden told the crowd "There wouldn't be anybody in the Island's church who would want to do anything but show support and concern and love and understanding" (for HG). But we ask readers WHO in the island's church has spoken out in support of the victim HG? There has been many letters, from churchgoers, in support of the Dean but thus far, as far as we are aware, not one churchgoer has publicly declared their support for the victim. As we have previously reported we have spoken with a number of churchgoers who DO support HG but are too scared to speak up in fear of repercussions from the Jersey church hierarchy. Indeed we have received, as yet unconfirmed, information that repercussions have already taken place against, at least one individual in the church, who DID NOT support the Dean.  

Bob Hill was not going to accept Dr. Ashenden's intervention and pressed Senator Bailhache for an answer where the Senator, in our opinion, further set about discrediting HG. He also believed the question was "not fair" and by the mumblings from the good Christian crowd, it appears, he was not alone in thinking that.

Senator Bailhache made much of HG's so-called "mental illness", her "committing a criminal offence" and so forth. How she was "extremely sensitively and well treated by the Magistrates court" who bound her over to leave the island for 3 years (deported her) where she was left penniless, and homeless, in mainland England.

A churchgoer who had previously written a letter to Jersey's only "news"paper claiming that HG had made similar abuse allegations in Guernsey asked questions about this at the meeting and what transpired (in the video below) was somewhat ironic considering the questioner, and letter writer, talked of "inaccurate statements in the Korris Report."

All in all a number of us were left with the impression, after the meeting, that the good Christian Folk appeared more interested in protecting the Dean, and discrediting the victim, than they did protecting, or supporting, victims of abuse which does the Jersey church no favours at all.