Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Andrew Lewis Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry Transcripts (part 2)

Part two of "the transcripts Blogs" is a continuation of former Home Affairs Minister, and current Deputy, Andrew Lewis' evidence to the Inquiry.

Deputy Lewis is still (unsuccessfully) trying to convince the Child Abuse Panel, and the public, that he didn't mislead the parliament when he said "I have read an alarming report from the Metropolitan Police" and similar statements.

It appears to be Deputy Lewis' position, by saying he had read a damming report from the MET Police, that Members of the parliament would know he was talking about a letter (that he had never mentioned) from David Warcup as his reason for (possibly illegally) suspending Jersey's Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM.

This stuff is beyond parody.

Transcript from Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry: 

I would like to turn now please to the States debate on 10 December 2008. Could you look please first at paragraph 186 of your statement {WS000709/59}, which is on the screen at the moment. You set out there your explanation for what is said in the transcript and we will come to it:

"If I had intended to mislead the States Assembly that I had seen the actual Metropolitan Police report, surely that is what I would have said throughout the debate. The quote that Graham Power picks out ..."

That is in his witness statement to this Inquiry:

" ... is from page 10 of the transcript and is clearly an accidental error I made when under a barrage of inappropriate questioning from States members. At all other times in the debate, I refer to a 'preliminary report', being the letter from David Warcup to Bill Ogley briefly summarising the findings of the Metropolitan Police review. There is no lack of precision in that." Have you had an opportunity recently to read through the whole of the transcript of 10 December 2008?

Yes, I have read through it with great interest, because it has been the source of much quite ridiculous speculation, in my view anyway.

And are you content now that you just made an accidental error on one page and absolutely everywhere else you were referring to David Warcup's letter?


Yes. I mean I can perhaps go further than that because I believe my political colleagues (inaudible) confused either and the Hansard minutes of the debate that occurred on 26 June 2012 during which --

Sorry, can I stop you there because your answer was inaudible. You say "I believe my political colleagues", is it were or were not confused?

Were not confused.

Thank you.

I'm talking about members of the States Assembly.

I would like please to go first to the debate of 10 December 2008. Could we have a look at the transcript please at AL20, page 412 {WD009179/412}.So that's the cover page of the in camera proceedings of 2 December. Could we go on please to paragraph 1.3 {WD009179/413}. You are the Deputy of St John, aren't you? 

I was then.

You were then, yes. And in answer to paragraph 1.3 you say:

"Members will be aware that an investigation has been carried out by the Metropolitan Police and I was presented with a preliminary report on the basis of that investigation. So as far as I am concerned that is the preliminary investigation. I acted on the information that was contained in that and in order to pursue
a disciplinary investigation it was necessary to suspend the police officer."
Anybody reading that would assume surely that the preliminary report was that of the Metropolitan Police?

No, I don't believe so. In fact I'll give you a quote from later on --

We're going to go right through it, so we can come to it.

Well, I've got evidence here that members stated publicly in Hansard that was not their understanding, not their belief and they were not misled and they totally accepted that I was referring to Mr Warcup's letter.

Let's have a look at this. Coming to this as a complete neutral and leaving aside entirely what was said in later years by people who supported your decision, just look at that:
" ... an investigation has been carried out by the Metropolitan Police and I was presented with
a preliminary report on the basis of that investigation."
As an ordinary reader wouldn't you assume that that was a preliminary report from the Metropolitan Police?

But ma'am, you're not an ordinary reader. I was talking to the States Assembly and on the floor of an assembly, a parliament, you don't express yourself in precise terms like perhaps a lawyer would, that's why you have parliamentary privilege.

What, so that you're exempt from the consequences of misleading the States?

No, if you carry on through those minutes and other minutes it is very clear what I was talking about and I say even when it came to the vote later on when Mr Higgins was trying to get transcripts released, the vast majority of the House also agreed and some of them weren't even there that day, so I don't see how you can possibly suggest that I was attempting to mislead the House.

If you were trying to tell the House that what you had seen was a report from the DCO in which he had quoted from the Metropolitan Police report, why not say that?

I could have said that, yes.

My question was why not?

Because I was under a barrage of questions and I didn't have a script in front of me saying "You must say David Warcup wrote the letter". I was referring from information received from Mr Warcup concerning
the Metropolitan review and that is quite clear, made that perfectly clear to others, Napier, for example, and other members, past and present, are fully of that belief having stated that publicly in Hansard minutes in subsequent debates on this issue.

Could we have a look please at paragraph 1.16 {WD009179/418}. It is your answer:

"When I took over as having ministerial oversight of the investigation in question, I began to ask a number of questions and it would seem right and proper to appoint another force to investigate such matters which the Chief of Police agreed to. The result of that is some fairly damning evidence about the command, control and supervision of that investigation."

Stopping there, it is quite clear, isn't it, that you're saying there that there has been some damning evidence that has come from the other force that's  investigated? 


"So, yes, the process was adopted and the outcome was a report that was presented to me that gave me absolutely no choice other than to suspend the Chief Officer of Police in order to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct in terms of management, supervision and control of quite considerable sums of money and quite considerable resource."
So again there's a reference to an outside force, there's a reference to evidence and there's a reference to a report and all three appear to be linked. 

And all three were in David Warcup's letter to me.

Again why not say, "I haven't seen the report, but the salient points, as I understand it, have been summarised to me by David Warcup"?

I see no reason to have done so. People have made much of this since because they seem to think it's so material in the defence of Graham Power. I'm afraid Graham Power's actions are indefensible. He has only ever criticised the process that we adopted to suspend him, he has never defended the reasons why we suspended him.

I'm asking you about your actions.

This is yet another attempt to try and rubbish the process of suspension. There is nothing to be learned from this whatsoever. I reported to the States what
I had done, why I had done it. I omitted to use the words "letter from David Warcup", that is all.

If we look at paragraph 1.17 please {WD009179/418}, this is Senator Syvret speaking:

"The Minister has made reference with great store on the preliminary or interim review by the Metropolitan Police."

So clearly there Senator Syvret believes that you're talking about the preliminary or interim review by the Metropolitan Police, doesn't he?

I think that's what Mr Syvret wants to believe. That's what he continues to believe.

That's what he says.

Mr Syvret said lots of things, ma'am, none of which I believe are terribly credible.

Mr Syvret is responding to the information that you have just given to the States, isn't he?

On this occasion he is.

Yes, so his understanding there is:

"The Minister has made reference with great store on the preliminary or interim review by the Metropolitan Police."

Correct. Which was contained in a letter from David Warcup.

Why didn't you at that point take the opportunity, having heard the Senator's comment, to say "I don't want there to be any misunderstanding, I have not seen that report"?

If I thought eight years later people would still be forensically going through my words on the floor of the Assembly, I quite probably would. At the time I saw no significance in it at all. I had plenty of information from Mr Warcup, who had seen the Met report, he had reported that to me, he had given me indications as to what was in that report and that's what I was talking about: the letter from Mr Warcup, nothing else.

Could we look over the page please at your reply {WD009179/419}:

"The Senator's conspiracy theories continue to astound me. I was not part of the Council of Ministers until but a few weeks ago. I am not conspiring in any way at all. The Senator consistently conspires in his own mind to work out conspiracies. This is nothing about that. This is a matter of great interest to me as the Minister for Home Affairs, as a resident of Jersey, as a custodian of the public purse. I am bringing a chief officer to account. I am giving him every opportunity to defend himself. As far as the accusation you raise about the Metropolitan Police, when I saw the preliminary report I was astounded. So much so that my actions, I believe, are fully justified. If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal. So my successor will have an interesting time. The report that I was shown gave me no doubt at all that the actions that I took were justified and we will await the outcome of the investigation as to whether it was."

So the "main report" was going to be the Metropolitan Police's full report, wasn't it?

Your words. Yes, I assume so, yes. 

Well, you said it.


"Lord knows what the main report will reveal", you're referring there to the Metropolitan Police's main report, weren't you?

That's right.

You weren't expecting another report from David Warcup?


So "If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal", any listener is going to assume that the preliminary report and the main report are to come from the same source, wouldn't they?

 This was one point in the debate that I could have taken the opportunity to clarify it. I didn't. I have no particular regret about that. The members at the time I think were perfectly clear what I was talking about and many months later even a member of the Assembly that wasn't there that day said that it was very clear that I was referring to -- when mentioning the words "preliminary report" in this element here, that I was referring to Mr Warcup's letter, "so he was not intent, I do not believe, on deceiving the Assembly at all", that is a quote from Senator Le Gresley, a much respected Senator, who wasn't even there that day, so I don't see how anybody could possibly suggest or read into this that I was trying to mislead anybody. 

Well, as you said, the Senator wasn't there.

I can give you quotes, ma'am, from people that were there: the Constable of St Mary, the Deputy of St Ouen said exactly the same thing and they were there.

Senator Syvret we can see, and you have agreed, was under the impression that you were talking about a report from the Metropolitan Police, yes?

If that's what he wanted to presume, ma'am, that's a matter for Mr Syvret.

No, that's what you agreed. You looked at the transcript, you said he was responding to the information you had given and he was under the impression that you were talking about a Metropolitan Police report.

I was, ma'am, because there was information about the Metropolitan Police report in the letter from David Warcup, which was more than a letter, ma'am, it was many pages long. You have seen it.

Well, it wasn't a preliminary report, was it?

It was from Mr Warcup, yes.

Well, were you expecting him to --

He wasn't giving me a full report because it, as you know, wasn't complete at that stage.

When were you expecting him to give you his full report then?

I presume he would be giving that when it was completed, which was when the new minister took over.

So you thought that Mr Warcup's report to you, his letter to you, was a preliminary report?


I think moments ago you said you didn't think it was.

No, his preliminary report.

Could we have a look please at paragraph 1.18 {WD009179/419}. This is Senator Syvret's question:

"Will the report be published when it is completed?" And your answer is:
"No it will not, because the report of the Metropolitan Police contains Crown evidence that will be used in the prosecutions that are currently underway and potential prosecutions that may come from this investigation."

Which report of the Metropolitan Police were you talking about there?

Well, the police report that I was aware had been done.

So that's the interim one?

I think --

Or the preliminary one, which ever you prefer.

I think a lot -- the preliminary report was a report from David Warcup. The interim report my understanding was a report from the Metropolitan Police that wasn't complete at that stage, hence the word "interim", and as it states there, I could never have seen this report because of one of the reasons that's mentioned in that paragraph.

So why not tell Senator Syvret "I have not seen that report either, I have seen only a letter from the DCO"?

I would have hoped that Mr Syvret and others would have known enough about these types of things that if I say it contains Crown evidence then I wouldn't see the report because I'm not a crown prosecutor.

So they are supposed to guess from that that you haven't --

I don't think they need to guess. These are intelligent people. They know that you don't look at this type of information if you're a politician. You don't mix policing with prosecutions. Sorry, you don't mix politics with prosecutions.

So you think it was clear from what you were telling the States that you had not seen the Metropolitan Police interim report?

Not only do I believe it's true, most of the members believe that and that is in Hansard. I have given you that in my evidence. You have had it released to you because of the consistent efforts of Deputy Higgins who, for reasons unbeknown to me, has attempted to expose me as some kind of person that I'm certainly not. I have a large degree of integrity here. I am doing the best I can in a difficult situation to inform the Assembly of the happenings that are occurring, why we're taking this action and it's in the best interests of the public of Jersey, the abuse inquiry itself, that it maintains its integrity and continues unhindered, and also the public purse. That is my intention on that day with that statement. Why others choose to continue with their attempts to discredit me on this note can only be because they wish to support Graham Power. 

Could we look please at paragraph 1.22 {WD009179/420}. This is at the bottom of the page, the question from the Constable of St Helier:
"The Minister said that part of his action has been motivated by concern for Mr Power. Does he, therefore, think it is satisfactory that Mr Power's daughter learned of his suspension on the public radio and does this not indicate that the process that has been followed was an accelerated one? My second question, and it is in an effort to be helpful and it is a question I have already asked the Minister and the Chief Minister, is will he not go away with the Code and with his legal advisors, and with an HR
(human resources) professional ... and check that he has fully complied with the Code? If he has not, not only is he putting Mr Power and his family through unnecessary grief, but he will put the Island through an extraordinary amount of embarrassment and reputational damage. I really do think it would be more courageous to admit that we've got the process wrong. It often happens in HR; goodness knows I have done it myself. The process has to be correct or we will be in trouble and I would urge the Minister to go away and at least agree to look again at the decision-making process."

And your answer -- you deal with the media issue and then halfway down: 
"Secondly, as far as the process is concerned,
I have taken advice. I have taken advice from other HR professionals within the States of Jersey's HR Department. I am perfectly satisfied that the Code has been followed appropriately. I have taken advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, they feel that such action is wholly appropriate in the circumstances. I have read an alarming report from the Metropolitan Police which led me to this decision in the first place."

Now, you were stating clearly there, weren't you, that you had seen the Met's report? 

I have read a report from David Warcup and that is what I should have put in there and I have told you this -- I don't know how many times I need to say it again: I'm on the floor of the Assembly, I'm under a barrage of questions from members and yes, in a perfect world I could have said at that point that I'm referring to a letter from David Warcup. Far too much has been made of this, ma'am. There is very good reason for the suspension. It is contained in the letter of David Warcup. It has been completely corroborated with 19 points damning about Mr Power's performance in the Wiltshire report subsequently.(END)

By reading this transcript the reader gets the impression that Deputy Lewis had no understanding of the forum he was in. This is a Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry who is searching for the truth by using documented evidence. To make recommendations to prevent such atrocities occurring in the future. To expose weaknesses and failings in the system. It appears that Deputy Lewis thinks he is addressing the parliament, can say what he likes, despite the evidence against him, and move on. He looks to have no idea of the damage he has done (is doing) to his own, and Jersey's reputation, by continuing this absurd storyline against the mountain of evidence discrediting it. He is demonstrating that nothing has changed on this island and believes if people (he) denies something (under oath) then that is an end to it. The very traits that allowed the Child Abuse to thrive for decades.

PPC is demonstrating the same Trait(s).

As mentioned in Part one of this series; Deputy Lewis should now  seriously be considering his exit from politics and lay low before the Committee of Inquiry publishes its report. It is inconceivable to believe that the Inquiry (or anybody else) believed a word he said and this has to make part of the Inquiry's final report.

Part one of this series can be viewed HERE.

The original transcript of this day (138) can be viewed HERE.