'THE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST'
Former Health Minister Stuart Syvret responds
FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE STATES OF JERSEY - BILL OGLEY
FORMER CHIEF MINISTER - FRANK WALKER
The actions of these two men have to be seriously looked at. What has come out since looking at the role of Media Consultant Matt Tapp is shocking.
OPERATION RECTANGLE WAS AN INVESTIGATION INTO CHILD ABUSE - THIS CHILD ABUSE HAPPENED TO CHILDREN WHISLT IN THE CARE OF THE STATES OF JERSEY.
THE WHOLE OF THE JERSEY CHILD PROTECTION APPARATUS WAS IN THE SPOTLIGHT - THIS WAS ALSO HIGHLIGHTED IN 2007 WHEN THE THE THEN FORMER SENATOR/HEALTH MINISTER STUART SYVRET SAID WE HAD FAILURES IN CHILD PROTECTION.
We all know what happened - Frank Walker had the Health Minister removed - The 'CEO' Bill Ogley was also involved - as highlighted by Graham Power in his Sworn Affidavit.
And they weren't finished there
I believe it is a must for any researcher on these issues to read the Brian Napier QC Report into the procedures and events leading up to the suspension of the former Chief of Police Graham Power. One of the big shames concerning the Napier Report is that we only received it after its 3rd draft. The first couple having been nailed by the Law Office
What is the 'CEO' & Chief Minister doing getting involved in Policing Matters regarding OPERATION RECTANGLE?
SURELY THAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CONFLICTS OF INTEREST YOU CAN GET
When they went behind the back of Chief Police Graham Power on October 8th 2008 they crossed straight into policing matters.
Matt Tapp wrote a Report for the SOJ. In producing his report Matt Tapp had full access to witness statements - I REPEAT - he had full access to witness statements.
The 'SOJ' were now commissioning reports to discredit an investigation into the 'SOJ'
Has this ever happened before? Could this ever happen in the UK?
This is what the Home Affairs Minister said in the States on Tuesday. To be honest Im not sure if Brian Napier really appreciated what was going on here. One of his TOR's got changed without anyone being told;
0:01 ILM: Sir, I will assume that the question relates to Mr Tapp, that ties in with the question of Deputy Higgins, who was a specialist media consultant, who was appointed by Mr Warcup, in order to advise the States of Jersey Police on knee jerk related issues Following a disagreement with Mr Power as to the correct way forward, he resigned. He was then asked by the chief executive Mr Ogley , with the consent of the chief minister at the time, knowledge and consent of the chief minister at the time, Mr Walker, to produce a report, which he did. That report was not available until after the original suspension. The involvement of Mr Ogley in this and Mr Walker and Mr Tapps involvement is all covered at some length in the Napier Report , and Mr Napier does not express any concerns in relation to the part which Mr Tapp played or indeed Mr Ogley in this way, and I’m frankly puzzled as to why there is now excitement about Mr Tapp’s role when this has been in the public domain for quite a long time
I would like to thank Stuart Syvret for this response. Now is the time to look at the legal issues concerning the suspension of Graham Power and the Cover-up of Operation Rectangle.
I have been asked by Mr. Sorda for my views on certain aspects of the scandal concerning the unlawful suspension of the Police Chief Graham Power, Queens Police Medal.
Of the questions that have arisen, it seems to me there are two particularly pressing matters:
1: The then Chief Minister Frank Walker and Chief Executive Bill Ogley had been actively working for a period of some months on contriving a set of circumstances by which they could suspend the Police Chief, and behind which they could hide their real motivations. Was it lawful at all – was it even legal in the criminal sense – for either man to have been involved – in any way – in any kind of actions designed to obstruct, handicap, damage or remove the Police Chief?
2: Although he himself has issued directly contradictory statements, and thus has zero credibility as a witness, the then Hone Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis has claimed to have had no concerns about the performance of Police Chief Power and oversight of Operation Rectangle, until he received the letter from Deputy Chief David Warcup which, supposedly, contained such damning criticisms that Lewis “had no choice”, he claims, “other than to suspend the Police Chief immediately”. Thus the question arises, in general terms, as a Minister, what would have been the correct and lawful response upon receiving a letter of the alleged seriousness of the Warcup communication? Both of those questions are, in essence, legal questions. And that is an advantage to those trying to understand the matter because – strange though it may seem – “legal” questions are capable of a more robust analyses and answering than mere “political” assertions. Political opinions and claims can be – and frequently are – whatever people wish to claim for them. Legal questions - on the other hand – are often capable of objective answer, albeit those answers must be plucked from amongst a nest of vipers. So to get to the heart of the matter and try and understand the two questions above, we can first set aside all political considerations. Simply forget the political opinions of Walker & Lewis – forget whether they were good or bad politicians – forget whether Ogley was an incompetent civil servant. The questions we are addressing here are far simpler:
Were the actions of those three individuals lawful? Were they legal?
And I ask those two questions because there is a difference – an important difference – between some actions being “unlawful” – and an action being “illegal” in the sense of it being a criminal act.
It is possible for an action to be unlawful – to be ‘ultra vires’ or outside the law – in the civil sense, without it necessarily being criminal. For example, a public authority might cause some injury to a person through negligence. Causing that harm through negligence is an unlawful act in the civil legal sense and the authority becomes liable for the harm done via a civil legal claim. If, though, some authority or person acts in ways calculated to cause harm – or acts in ways, say, calculated to conceal crimes, or to thwart criminal investigations, or conspire to pervert the processes of justice – then those are – unambiguously – criminal acts. Those committing such criminal acts should be charged and prosecuted.
The questions we must address are, therefore, fourfold;
1: Did the Chief Minister, Chief Executive and Home Affairs Minster act unlawfully in respect of their involvement and actions, concerning the suspension of the Police Chief?
2: If they did act unlawfully, were their actions only ultra vires in the civil sense?
3: If they acted unlawfully, did those actions transcend the merely civil ultra vires – and instead enter the realm of the plainly criminal?
4: If unlawful acts occurred – either civil – or criminal – where does responsibility lie?
All three individuals – Walker, Ogley and Lewis – had, at all relevant times, the legal status of ‘public authorities’. It is important to understand that; it is important to de-personalise, when appropriate, the analyses. Just think of them as public authorities ‘A’, ’B’ and ‘C’
Public authorities – just like private individuals or companies – are bound by the law. Public authorities – in addition to the standard laws - are bound by a specific area of law, known as ‘administrative law’. There is a huge body of UK case-law – much of it established via judicial review – that has defined the standards and parameters of what is – or is not – ‘lawful conduct’ by public authorities. So the legal tests we need to apply to the Jersey situation are not hypothetical. We can look to solidly established principles, and ask, ‘does the conduct of Jersey’s public authorities fall within, or without, the definition of ‘lawful conduct’ as established in the case-law?’ Here are just a few established grounds upon which the actions of a public authority become unlawful under ‘administrative law’:
“Misuse of powers granted in law”, for other purposes – purposes not conferred by the ‘legislative purpose’ of the law.
“Insufficient inquiry”, a public authority making decisions and taking action without having first investigated and considered the relevant facts.
“inconsistency” – applying different standards and parameters to different decisions.
“Structural unfairness” – a public authority using a decision-making methodology that is substantially unfair.
“Relevancy / irrelevancy” – a public authority taking into account ‘irrelevant’ information – or failing to take into account ‘relevant’ information – when making a decision.
“Human rights compliance” – all decisions must comply with human rights legislation.
“Bad faith / improper motives” – a public authority must not exercise powers for improper purposes.
“Bias” – any exercise of the official powers and functions of a public authority must be objective – and free from any contaminating factor.
If any of the above factors are evident in respect of particular decisions and actions taken by a public authority – such as a Minister or a Chief Executive – then those decisions and actions are unlawful.
They are unlawful in terms of being not compatible with the standards of “administrative law”.
Further – if such unlawful actions have caused actual prejudicial impacts upon people – then in addition to administrative unlawfulness of the kind that may be established through judicial review – the legal avenue of ‘tort’ opens up; that is, those harmed by decisions and actions that have been, in some way, unlawful, have the possibility to bring a claim for damages. So, having established how the question of civil ultra vires might apply to the conduct of public authorities – let us return to the two primary questions – namely, was it lawful for Walker & Ogley – as public authorities – to be involved at all – in any way – with the actions against Graham Power – and did Lewis act lawfully when deciding to suspend the Police Chief?
The answer to those two questions is “no”.
It isn’t even ambiguous.
Consider one of the established grounds upon which a public authority will be found to have acted unlawfully: “bias”. Here is what the Judicial Review Handbook says:
“A body must not have a direct interest in the outcome of a decision, or show actual bias or a real possibility of bias.”
What that means is that a public authority – a Minister for example, or a Chief Executive – must not be biased – by having a direct interest in the outcome of its decisions – nor can it be contaminated by even the risk of bias. So – the Police Chief was Graham Power – and under his leadership, the States of Jersey Police Force was investigating a wide range of serious criminal complaints - including complaints against the States of Jersey. Indeed – The Jersey Police Force under the leadership of Police Chief Graham Power was investigating a number of serious criminal complaints - including, specifically against the Council of Ministers – and against various senior civil servants. For example, complaints of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and of obstructing the lawful discharge of the Children (Jersey) Law.
Amongst the various signed statements of criminal complaint provided to the Police are statements concerning corruption, conspiracy and misconduct in a public office, provided by me, in both March and April of 2008 – in which people like Ogley and senior and immediate colleagues of him, were named. Therefore the ‘public authorities’ of Chief Minister, Chief Executive and Home Affairs Minister all had a direct “interest” in the decisions they were making – an “interest” most strongly biased towards seeing the Chief Officer of the Jersey Police Force undermined, obstructed, thwarted and removed from post – and some other individual – more compliant to those direct “interests” of theirs – put in his place.
The Public authority of Chief Minster – and the public authority of the Chief Executive had both played a direct, overt and plainly unlawful role in sabotaging the proper discharge of the Children (Jersey) law.
And let there be no illusions about just how direct – and profound – a conflict of interest we are speaking of. For in July 2007, Bill Ogley actually led a meeting of senior civil servants , at which they were conspiring to unlawfully sabotage and engineer the removal of a Social Services Minister, because that Minister was exposing the many gross failings of those senior civil servants responsible for Jersey’s child “protection” system.
We know that for a fact – because Graham Power was present at that meeting – and an attempt was made to co-opt him into the corruption, and to garner his support for it.
Shocked – he utterly rejected the idea – left the meeting, and made a formal file-note about it upon his arrival back at Police Headquarters. I published that entire file-note by Graham Power, on my blog on the 23rd December 2009. Here is an excerpt from it:
“Bill Ogley and the others were persistent and I was left with the clear impression that they were attempting to draw me, in my capacity as Chief of Police, into a civil service led attempt to remove a Minister from Office.”
To be clear – it was – and is – simply unlawful for ether the Chief Minster – or the Chief Executive - to have been involved in any way, shape or form – in any kind of obstructions, harassments, interference and suspension of Graham Power.
Any involvement at all, on the part of the public authority under criminal investigation, in any interference with the Police Chief – is a manifestly unlawful act.
And to concluded, let’s just consider that question in respect of the actions of the Home Affairs Minister, Andrew Lewis. He claims to have received a letter from David Warcup – a letter that was so damming – so extraordinary – it merited the immediate suspension of the Police Chief. Even setting aside other factors, and just looking at that action as a stand-alone decision – was it a ‘lawful’ decision by the Minister as a public authority? Remember that a public authority, when making a decision – is legally obliged to undertake “sufficient inquiry” – to have investigated the facts properly, and to have taken into account the relevant information.
What – we must speculate – can have been in David Warcup’s letter to Lewis that was so horrifyingly damning, that it merited a decision of such far-reaching consequence and gravity, as the suspension of the Police Chief? Certainly, we can tell – from case-law – what it cannot have been, if the decision by Lewis was even vaguely lawful. The Warcup letter could not be un-evidenced assertions – it could not depict in grossly exaggerated ways, minor technical issues as though they were disastrous failings – it could not misrepresent other reports and information – it will have had to be complete in terms of including all relevant supporting material – it will not have been structured in such a way as to calculatedly mislead – and it will have had to have taken into account the unique challenges and operational issues arising from police investigations in a small, self-governing island like Jersey when large parts of the public administration was itself under suspicion and investigation.
If, in fact, it turns out that the David Warcup letter failed any of those tests – then the decision by the Home Affairs Minister – was an unlawful decision. And most certainly – any Minister receiving a letter recommending a course of action of such magnitude, must exercise the obvious standards of good administration and due process before acting upon it. It is – for example – virtually wholly unthinkable that a decision would be taken to suspend a Police Chief without having first received his response to the letter.
For example – it is entirely feasible that any competent and honest Home Affairs Minister – who properly considered all relevant facts, including the Chief Officer’s response – would have to have suspended David Warcup. It may be that that would have been the proper and lawful decision – and the correct decision for this community and the public good.
So – what of that final question – “did the actions of the relevant Jersey public authorities and the individuals involved go beyond the merely ultra vires in the civil sense – and instead enter the realm of the actively criminal?”
I think we can leave readers to come to their own conclusion in respect of that question.