Sunday, 28 February 2016

Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry (Submission of VFC).

In December 2015 the Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry invited
members of the public to make submissions under phase 3 of its work. The Inquiry had set three questions, each of which had a 500
word response/answer limit.

VFC, as readers would expect, made a submission (below) and attempted to answer the questions which did prove a little taxing as they reinforced the realisation that the ordinary folk of Jersey have no realistic chance of cleaning up the rot that has set in. We don't elect the people who run the island (the judiciary/Crown Appointees/Law Offices). We can't hold any of them to account and, as we don't have a Party Political System, we can't change our government.

Although the MSM get a bit of a kicking in the submission it must be said that the JEP has turned itself around in recent times under the new Editor Andy Sibcy. It's reporting of the Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry has been, for the most part, fair, accurate and challenging. The JEP has (rightly) come in for a lot of criticism on this Blog for its past atrocious reporting during Operation Rectangle and related issues but credit has to be given where it is due. Not least for this excellent editorial exposing disgraced former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis.

News items are now being published in the JEP that would never have seen the light of day under its previous Editor/Deputy Editor. Probably one of the most telling points that the JEP is starting to get things right is that I've never heard so many members of "The Establishment Party" attack it so much. Back in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 The Establishment wouldn't have a bad word said about the paper. Sibcy is making his own mark on the paper, and so far, as far as VFC is concerned, it is for the better. That's not to say that I agree with everything it prints (or doesn't) it just means that credit should be (and is) given where it is due.

BBC Radio Jersey has also made an attempt to distance itself from its sordid and ghastly past reporting during the Rectangle era. Its reporting of the COI has also, for the most part, been fair, accurate and challenging. Items are being broadcast, challenging the likes of the Bailhache Brothers, and the Establishment Party, again that would never have seen the light of day under its previous Editor. 

ITV/CTV remains under the same management.

So back to VFC's submission to the COI.

"For Jersey to deliver a high quality system of care for children that would set an example to the world:

What would be required?

It could be argued that Jersey has had adequate Child Care policies/provisions and legislation in place all through the decades of horrific treatment, abuse and paedophilia, inflicted on children in the care of the States Of Jersey.

The problem is that those who rule Jersey are unelected and unaccountable. A recent Jersey Evening Post article published a “Christmas Message” from four of our leaders they were: The Dean (Bob Key) unelected, unaccountable who has a seat, and is able to speak/sway votes in our parliament. The Bailiff (William Bailhache) who is Chief Judge, unelected unaccountable, Crown Appointee, Civic Head and unelected speaker of our parliament. The Lieutenant Governor Unelected, unaccountable Crown Appointee who sits in the Island’s parliament and is (as far as I understand his role) supposed to be the eyes and ears for The Crown and ensure good governance and the rule of law in Jersey/Crown Dependencies. Despite being shown/made aware of alleged judicial/political corruption at the highest level he has turned a blind eye, he has, and is, failing in this duty and has no accountability. The Chief Minister (Ian Gorst) the only elected, accountable (at the ballot box) “leader” out of the four leaders.

Some kind of outside (or even inside) accountability would be required in order to make the islands’ children safer. The Inquiry has seen, and heard, evidence from a number of witnesses who have explained that those who are in a position to hold perpetrators to account ignore policy/legislation and instead of dealing with the perpetrator in the correct fashion, more often than not, will be friends with the perpetrator, and in order to avoid any bad publicity or uncomfortable situations will either turn a blind eye, or merely move the perpetrator sideways rather than sack them or report them to the police.

What would be required is for the Jersey authorities to abandon “The Jersey Way” and face up to its sordid and ghastly past and set about cleaning up the politicised and corrupt judicial system. Authorities need to start putting the people/children of Jersey before the reputation of Jersey.

What would need to change?

Jersey needs an independent prosecution service as in the UK. Too much power is given to the (politicised/conflicted) Attorney General who, as the Inquiry has seen/heard, evidence of, has many questions to answer as to which cases are/aren’t prosecuted in the courts. There needs to be affordable legal representation for victims of crime and the Jersey Government/Law Offices’ Department. An ability to bring private prosecutions against those cases the AG refuses to prosecute. As things stand the AG’s decision NOT to prosecute CANNOT be appealed, he has the final say and cannot be held to account for his decision. Jersey needs regular outside INDEPENDENT scrutiny for all its departments and in particular the judiciary. For instance, according to the Home Affairs Minister, the Jersey police force has had NO outside scrutiny/review for SEVEN YEARS. The Inquiry will be aware that (pre-Harper and Power) the Force was accused of complicity in the cover-up of Paedophilia and other such crimes. If the force (or any other public authority) is not regularly, and independently, scrutinized there is potential, and strong possibility/probability that the rot and corruption that Jersey is so infamous for will (if it’s possible) only get worse and send us back to how this all started in the first place.

There needs to be a separation between the legislator and the judiciary. This has been recommended in a number of reviews/reports including Clothier and Carswell. The parliament needs to have an elected/accountable speaker who does not have a conflict of interest.

Jersey needs to be cleaned up but who can clean it up is the sticking point. Constitutionally the UK (as mentioned above) has responsibility for the rule of law and good governance in all Crown Dependencies including Jersey. The UK exercised this power not so long ago when it stepped in at the Turks & Caicos Islands but is abdicating its duty when it comes to Jersey. My personal view is that the current UK government is probably as corrupt as our judiciary (the real power in Jersey) and the Island, or its children, would be no better off if it was to attempt to restore good governance and the rule of law.

There needs to be a cleaned up judicial system that protects whistle-blowers and doesn’t subject them to secret Kangaroo Courts for speaking up for victims of alleged horrible crimes. A judicial system that won’t force gagging orders on those who try to protect their children. A judicial system that will make a criminal out of those who harm our children and not those who try to protect them.

Jersey would benefit from “Mandatory Reporting” which I believe is being considered in the UK. This would make it a criminal offence to turn a blind eye to Child Abuse and will act as a deterrent to those wishing to cover it up and will be a protection/safeguard for children. That said we’d still need a non-corrupt/politicised judiciary.

What part could you play?

The people of Jersey are powerless to play any part of changing the system. We cannot change our government because we don’t have a party political system. We can’t vote out the Attorney General/The Law Offices’ Department or the lieutenant Governor because NONE of them are elected or have any kind of accountability. We have a mainstream media who question nothing and see it as their job just to copy and paste government Press Releases. It has buried damming evidence and alleged corruption of the authorities for years.

The only part that can be played by ordinary citizens is to try and put some kind of pressure on those in charge by reporting their failings on Social Media. Realistically there is nothing that can be done to rid this island of the rot and that is a sad, and frightening, reality because it means children are no safer now (nor will they ever be) than they were in the 40’s/50’s/60’s/70’s/80’s/90’s/noughties."(END)

So we ask readers; what is the answer, how can Jersey be cleaned up? We know what's wrong with the island but we want to know how can it be put right? How do we get out of the problem and into the solution? Can the Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry deliver a report that is capable of cleaning Jersey up? Can it give us a fit for purpose non corrupt/non politicised judicial system? Is that in its remit? How can children/whistle-blowers/VictimsSurvivors and ordinary members of the public be protected against the corruption of this island?

Did you make a submission to the COI? Do you want it published on this Blog? Why not make a submission answering the three questions for publication on here? The COI is no longer accepting submissions so we'd like to hear some of your solutions in cleaning up Jersey and protecting children who, as things stand, are no safer today than they ever were.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Blowing The Whistle.

Yesterday Wednesday 17th February 2016 rather a lot happened. Those who were lucky enough to witness the second appearance of ANDREW LEWIS before the Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry were treated to a cringe-worthy performance of epic proportions, for which the term “stranger to the truth” was never more applicable. As reported by Rico Sorda HERE. The clinical and forensic dissection of Lewis by Advocate for the Inquiry Cathryn McGahey was a sight to behold. Team Voice attended the Hearing and at times we could only wince and I had to confess to coming close to feeling sorry for the hapless, clueless and abandoned Lewis. Nobody should do that. He made his bed and now he lies in it. In every sense. His position as a States Member surely now MUST be untenable.

But “Operation Whistle” is another matter altogether. On the same day the States of Jersey Police effectively announced that the police Investigation into historic sexual abuse in the island, and reportedly in at least one "care" establishment (Haut de la Garenne) run by the Jersey Government, is back up and running. Except that it is no longer “Operation Rectangle” but “Operation Whistle.” Bit of a pity really we rather liked the name “Rectangle,” but we will settle for “Whistle” provided that it does the job properly. No cover-ups, no bending to political pressure, and the investigation driven by police officers who are not afraid to blow the said “whistle” if there is even a hint of dubious practices, from either their senior officers or the much discredited Jersey Law Officers who purport to represent the interests of the “Crown.” (Yes, remember that if you are reading this you learned assembly of lawyers. The Crown is worn by the Queen, not dodgy businessmen with influence or third rate politicians with a bad attitude. It is worn by the Queen and so far as we know she expects her officers to deliver a justice which is blind to social class, background, political persuation or personal history. You forgot that in the past. Do not mess up again. While you are at it, how about some genuine and transparent independence around your decision-making, perhaps something that inspires public confidence rather than creating suspicion.)
The press release for Whistle is fairly substantial in its detail, according to
ITV/CTV (granted not the most reliable source) there are:  

7 investigators on the team

26 new complaints since Operation Whistle went live in June 2015

33 of the suspects are deceased including 11 in the public eye

41 named victims currently engaged with officers

9 suspects arrested

13 interviewed under caution

2 charged, with 1 conviction in February 2016

7 released on police bail pending further enquiries or legal advice

3 files with the Law Officers Department for consideration of prosecution

31 on-going investigations
4 UK investigations aided by SoJP


Subsequent media reports indicate that both Jimmy Savile and Ted Heath stand accused of sexual assaults in Jersey and that some of the alleged crimes occurred at, as mentioned above, Haute de la Garenne. Well if they need to dig it up again we know quite a few people who would happily lend a spade.

So what are we to make of it? The police Press Release, and the subsequent release of more details in response to media questions, together constitutes a substantial and detailed release of information relating to a sensitive Investigation. Was it the right thing to do? The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has in the past released guidance to police forces on this very issue. We do not have access to those guidelines and ACPO no longer exists, but we do have an extract from the (possibly illegally) suspended former Police Chief Graham Power’s statement to the Wiltshire investigation in which he quotes from the guidelines.

In paragraph 308 he says

“Providing more detailed information to the general public can increase the likelihood of generating additional valuable information.” That seems like common sense to Team Voice. Telling the wider public that there is a live and active investigation taking place can encourage victims and witnesses to come forward and add momentum to the Inquiry. It is the right thing to do.   Unless of course your name happens to be Lenny Harper or Graham Power and the year is 2007 or 2008. If that is the case then what you are doing is “sensationalist” and “damaging to the reputation of the island.” Funny business don’t you think? What in one year is near to high treason is a few years later best practice and the right thing to do. It is an odd paradox. Perhaps we can persuade Sir Philip Bailhache to make a speech about it as he did at the height of “Rectangle.?” 

Come on Sir Philip, give us the benefit of your wisdom.  Is the real scandal the damage to the reputation of the island or do Child Abuse Victims get a look in this time?

Extract from Philip Bailhache’s Liberation Day speech:

“Yet many journalists continue to write about the Island's so called child abuse scandal. All child abuse, wherever it happens, is scandalous, but it is the unjustified and remorseless denigration of Jersey and her people that is the real scandal.” 

So why, so far at least, is the Jersey Establishment not braying for the blood of the police officers who have issued this Press Release? Why has nobody been suspended? Is it because the “good guys” are now in charge, or is it because the Establishment are afraid? From where we sit, they are still attempting to extract themselves from the mess they created by the (possibly illegal) suspension of the Police Chief in 2008 and it might be that they just no longer have the nerve to attempt the same again?

But let us give credit where it is due. Lenny Harper and others broke down the door to the chamber of dirty secrets in Jersey. Warcup and Gradwell, backed by the Jersey Establishment and sections of the Jersey media,  (of the time) boarded up the door. But now it is open again.

So how should we react to this development? We confess that this is a question which has caused Team Voice some difficulty and our opinions might differ, but on balance for now, we say give it a chance.

If you have any information which might assist “Whistle” then get in touch with the investigation and have your say. We know that we have a lot to be cynical about, but give it a go but let us all keep our eye on it just the same.  Let us watch it, monitor it, and report what we know about it. If you are on the Whistle team, and if you have a whistle to blow, get in touch with Team Voice. We protect all of our sources of information and we are good, very good, at blowing whistles and we have a growing international/worldwide readership.

After some discussion among ourselves we decided to give Whistle a chance to finish the job others (Operation Rectangle) started. But we will be watching and OUR whistle is ready for us to blow.

Jersey Police can be contacted on 01534-612612.

Monday, 1 February 2016

The curious incident of William Bailhache in the night-time (and the daytime).

To begin this Blog Posting we thought that it might be a good idea to include a quote from the world’s most famous detective. Disappointingly, this is not Lenny Harper but Sherlock Holmes, whose conversation is reported as follows:

"You consider that to be important?" he [Inspector Gregory] asked.
     "Exceedingly so."
     "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
     "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
     "The dog did nothing in the night-time."
     "That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
     The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1893)
     Inspector Gregory and Sherlock Holmes in "Silver Blaze" (Doubleday p. 346-7)

In this extract Holmes identifies the often ignored evidential significance of doing nothing. In a world, which seeks instant quotes and instant action the headline “man does nothing” is unlikely to sell many newspapers, but doing nothing can be very significant. It can allow the personwho does nothing to go unnoticed while those who did something become the focus of critical attention. Knowing about something and doing nothing is emerging as a significant feature as more of the truth about Jersey’s Child Abuse scandal unravels.

Former CEO Bill Ogley.

Now we turn to the most recent revelations regarding the role of the key players in the (possibly illegal) suspension of Jerseys Police Chief, Graham Power QPM, in 2008 in what many see as a direct government attempt to shut the lid on the Child Abuse Inquiry which was putting Jersey and its politicians under an unwelcome spotlight. Overseen by the then Chief Minister Frank Walker, the hapless Home Affairs Minister AndrewLewis supervised by Chief Executive Bill (Golden Handshake/Shredder) Ogley, suspended Jersey’s Police Chief, at the height of the Child Abuse Investigation, and did it, so it would appear, contrary to unambiguous legal advice from both then Solicitor General (Tim le Cocq) and the Attorney General William Bailhache. And let us not forget the background to all of this. 

The Island’s force was investigating decades of Child Abuse carried out in institutions run by the Jersey Government and a range of sexual offences, which occurred elsewhere. Some of these offences were alleged to have been committed by people connected to those in government at that time. Questions about who in authority knew what and when were being asked daily. Never before had the force been in such an exposed position, investigating the very government to which it was accountable, and never before did it have greater need of the support and protection of the Crown and its officers. To their credit, when they learned that the Chief Minister and his inner circle were planning to suspend the Police Chief, in what many suspect was a blatant political attempt to bring the investigation to an end, the Law Officers advised them not to do it unless they were in possession of  the full Metropolitan  Police Report. Not the alleged "interim Report" and certainly not a letter from the Deputy Chief Officer and soon to be made Acting Police Chief David Warcup. It had to be the full Met Review which should be without qualifications or caveats. Legal advice does not come clearer than that yet that advice was ignored.

What has yet to emerge is who led the Law Officers to believe that a Review Report could be used for disciplinary purposes anyway? The Met should never allow that and they have said so. They have also dealt robustly with any claim that the report was critical (or to use Andrew Lewis' term "damming" of the Role of Chief Officer Power, DCO Lenny Harper, or anyone else involved with Operation Rectangle. in a separate Report OPERATION TUMA  they said:

"The review does not criticise the investigation. The Review does not criticise any individual involved in Operation Rectangle"

Former Attorney General and current Bailiff
William Bailhache.

So what did Her Majesty’s Attorney General (William Bailhache) for Jersey do in the aftermath of this defiance of his advice and the blatant political intrusion of politicians into a criminal investigation in which they had a clear vested interest? Not a lot it appears.  Like the “dog in the night-time” he did nothing.  Or at least nothing positive that we know of.  But there are some things that we can be sure that he subsequently did or did not do. For example he provided legal support for the Jersey Government in resisting the Police Chiefs attempts to have his suspension reviewed in the Royal Court, and he is likely to have been party to a determination to ensure that the Police Chief was not provided with any representation for himself. He represented the Jersey Government in its attempts to withhold information on when the suspension notices were first prepared (which turned out to be several days before the alleged “evidence” in the Warcup Letter was received.) His actions in these matters were bad enough but his omissions were worse.

Over the past seven years at various times and places the politicians involved have been challenged and questioned on the grounds for the suspension and at every stage they have led us all to believe that they followed legal advice. We now know that they lied (by omission or otherwise). They lied to the public, they lied to the media and they lied in the Islands Parliament and William Bailhache heard what they said and did nothing.  When Brian Napier QC was appointed to conduct an independent review of the suspension it appears that Bailhache did not disclose the advice he had given to Frank Walker and Bill Ogley. 

Why an independent QC investigating the suspension was not told that on the night before the suspension took place the Attorney General, no less, told the Ministers that they did not have the evidence required to go ahead is another mystery which is yet to fully unfold.

Brian Napier QC.

The fact that the advice has emerged in the public domain at all is only due to the work of the Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry and its extensive powers. Credit has to be given to the Committee of Inquiry for obtaining, and using, this crucial evidence. If William Bailhache, and others, did not disclose this crucial evidence/e-mail to the Napier Review then questions will now have to be asked as to the validity of Napier's findings if crucial evidence had been withheld.

So what was this servant of the Crown (William Bailhache) actually thinking of during all of this? Was he perhaps thinking of the need to defend the integrity of the Criminal (in)Justice system from political intrusion? From what we know apparently not. Which leaves open the possibility of a nasty suspicion. Could it be that he was content to go along with the suspension and do his bit for preserving the reputation of the Island from the damage of the Abuse Investigation, so long he had the “insurance” of the legal advice in his back pocket in case things got really tough? We might never know. But what we do know is that it might be hard to trust him now (that is for anyone who trusted him in the first place.)

As Sherlock Holmes might have said; “it is the curious incident of William Bailhache doing nothing.”