Sunday, February 24, 2013

PIPPA JONES INTERVIEWS LEAH McGRATH GOODMAN




AMERICAN JOURNALIST LEAH McGRATH GOODMAN 







"The Culture of Concealment"



The Jersey Child Abuse Cover-up



An interview with Journalist Leah McGrath Goodman


Leah McGrath Goodman:  "It is my stance that just like genocide,  child abuse is one of the most appalling crimes known to humanity."


Below you can Listen to an interview given by Leah McGrath Goodman to British radio personality Pippa Jones on iTalk FM's magazine program. Pippa is a champion for children's rights and the rights of abuse survivors. A link to her blog can be found at iTalk's web site here:http://www.italkfm.com/presenters.html#Pippa 


 This interview went out on the evening of the  21st of February 2013 during  their political show. 


Leah covers many issues, including "Operation Recatangle" the Jersey Child Abuse Investigation. 


Like I pointed out in my previous posting one must never forget the actual victims of abuse or the trauma that they carry through their lives.  They have waited a very long time for a Committee of Enquiry to be brought to fruition. Why is this? 



When I asked Leah for a statement as to how she would be approaching her investigation into Jersey she pointed me to this piece that appeared in Vanity Fair this august. I think it is self explanatory:


When CNN’s chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, reported from Bosnia early in her career, she was accused of bias when she passionately claimed that there was clear evidence of genocide. “If I had been reporting World War II, would I have had to say in the name of objectivity, ‘Poor Mr. Hitler, he has a point'? No, you don’t play footsie with the most appalling crimes known to humanity. I realized in Bosnia that, even if it means you’re going to be accused of not being fair, you have to tell the truth.”
[Interviewer]: “Your truth—or someone else’s?”
[Amanpour]: “You give all sides a fair hearing, and you also make it absolutely clear what the facts are and what the truth is. We’re having this debate at CNN now about this whole question of balance and neutrality. At least for me, journalism isn’t about ‘on the one hand ... on the other.’ In the end, it’s about accountability — holding power accountable.”

Leah stated ref the Amanpour quotes, "it is my stance that just like genocide, child abuse is one of the most appalling crimes known to humanity." 



I will let you listen to the interview. 


Rico Sorda

Part time Investigative Journalist

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I THEN RANG THE DOORBELL - A SIMPLE POST FROM THE HEART






"TAKING A STEP BACK"


"WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND GO TO BED AT NIGHT "



"I THEN RANG THE DOORBELL"


On this posting I just want to step back from the Jersey law Office - The Jersey Media - The Culture of concealment.  We have been looking at the case of the B******S and shortly the extraordinary case which is "Blanche Pierre" but first I want to come back to the people this is really about the people who had their childhoods stolen. 


The Victims of Abuse


This is just a short posting.


This is also a little about myself. The reason for this is the word "Trauma". This word has been on my mind for many months now. I have recently found out how severe trauma can burn images on your mind and give you a clarity of events that are with you when you wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. It has made me think about the innocent children and the traumatic events that plagued their childhoods. These events were inflicted on these defenceless children by opportunists - pedophile rings- carers etc etc. All these people had a duty and care towards these children but abused their trust and positions of care. I have sat back and watched in amazement how the people with so little empathy towards these once innocent children have treated them with such disdain in their adulthood. I have watched in utter disbelief the fight that has been fought to get a Committee of Enquiry into decades long child abuse in Jersey with a fit for purpose Terms of Reference. I must at this point thank the hard work put in by Deputy Tadier - former Deputies Wimberly and Bob Hill - Deputy Pitman - Carrie Modral - Deputy Higgins and the JCLA. 

The "Trauma" suffered by these children must be horrendous. This would have followed them into their adulthood.  Many would have turned to alcohol,  drugs and basically any form of substance abuse to enable them to blot out the horrors of their past. Some would have contemplated suicide.  Some would have gone through with this ultimate of last resorts. It is because of this word trauma I believe children who have suffered such horrendous abuse can recount what happened to themselves with such clarity. It could be said that it's lawyers and judges who cloud their memories and make them doubt what they know to be true.  I have taken a good look at myself - asked myself the simple  question am I strong enough to handle the traumatic events that recently happened to me. What is my mental strength? Do I have the mental strength to place certain events in a safe place in my mind so they won't come back to haunt me later on in life. This is what  I have been thinking about this past week. 

I have been so blessed with my life. A loving family. A great family life and so on. I know many have not been so lucky. My heart genuinely goes out to these people. You can't choose who you are born to. You just  enter into a lottery. My life changed last year. I lost my dad. I really loved this man. I can't put into words how much his passing affected me. The man who helped shape me as a person passed away so suddenly. I was travelling with dad when he passed away. The pilot grabs my hand "are you ok" yes, I reply. I look out the window, I look into the sun, not for my dad as the pilot is imagining but for the "Hun in the sun" who I know is up their waiting to dive down upon us. This is how I'm dealing with the situation unfolding before me. I don't want to look behind me but I must.  I owe it to my dad to be strong and accept death. I know my mind wants to protect me from trauma.  I place my dads watch around my wrist. I was alone.  We get back to Jersey.  I never left his side.  It was traumatic. It's burned into my memory. My mind is like a DVD. I can recall it like pushing the play button.  I know I have to tell my mum. This is traumatic.  I have so much time to think how I will do this.  I turn my phone off.  I look for composure. I'm all alone. 

 Just like the victims of abuse waiting outside the office of the "Professor of Forensic Psychiatry" They are waiting, contemplating, their minds racing, can I trust this man? Will I tell him everything, will he even believe me , will he make me doubt what I'm saying.  They are in this position because of the Compensation Scheme. They no doubt start to relive the trauma that is tucked away somewhere in their minds. As I write this, Im thinking about when I landed back at Jersey Airport. My pacing up and down the little departure lounge-  waiting - contemplating- contemplating how I'm going to tell my mum and close family. We have all no doubt been in a position like this or similar before. It all unfolds. It happens fast. The Victims of Abuse need support when they give this evidence - they are alone - they need support when they have relived the trauma of their past but they leave alone. Alone just like their traumatic youth. They then wait for the Psychiatric Report. But what if the abuse they are reliving is to hot to handle for the authorities? Do the authorities then start putting in doubt? - doubt that the evidence being offered Is not correct?

I reach town. I leave my dad properly for the first time in my life. Pressure is building. I continually talk to myself. Im looking, searching, searching for the inner strength I know we all carry. I have that feeling of being all alone. Then out of nowhere adrenalin turns up - delivered like an unexpected gift. I look to the sky - its a pure blue - good weather for bad news I say to myself. I'm now the leader of the family and must act like a leader. Six months down the line and it's still there. Everything just like yesterday. This will remain the same. I know this. Abuse Survivors have carried this trauma for decades. They walk with the trauma of their past. They have my full admiration.  They should all be respected and helped- not hindered at every turn. I help because I was brought up to help. Im not perfect, far from it. Attacks on me for what I do is water of the old ducks back. I'm going nowhere.

There are black days. You learn how to manage them. Talking is best. Im not good at talking. I have sat and listened to Abuse Survivors during their black days. I have heard talk of suicide. I know how these thoughts can appear. There were times in the early days when these thoughts came to me, only as a way of not dealing with the pain. That is ok with me. I love life. Everything about life. The good and bad that can come our way. That is not to say that dark thoughts should be discarded - far from it. You should treat them with the respect they deserve. I have learnt so much these past 4 years. This has  helped me.  As I sit writing this posting I'm very content with life. The Abuse Survivors still have a long way to go before they can sit back with a little closure in their life. Money doesn't give you closure. I think all survivors of abuse would agree with this. The authorities coming clean about their failures and being honest in an open and transparent way would bring more closure than money.

I reach the entrance to the estate. My mate was great on the journey home. Talked to me in a way that I don't think he really appreciates. He knew what I had to do but kept me talking about other stuff. We say goodbye. I have a hundred yard walk. Abuse survivors have had a longer walk. I gather myself. How will I do this. Hope mum isn't  standing at the window as she normally is - why should she be - she isn't expecting me.  There isn't a manual to fall back on here. This is what can define you as a person. Stay strong. I begin the walk. Just about completed the walk. I'm set. I bump into a neighbour, "how is you're dad" they ask, "just passed away" I replied, "does you're mum know" they enquire, "No" I replied. They know that I'm on the edge. I turn the corner of the drive. My first good break of the day mum isn't at the window. As I walked that day, so I will walk with the survivors of abuse, until it is done. It takes nothing to stand up, remain strong, and most of all  be counted. 


I THEN RANG THE DOORBELL


Rico Sorda 

Part Time Investigative Journalist

Sunday, February 10, 2013

THE JERSEY LAW OFFICE - THE REAL POWER IN TOWN- THE INDEPENDENT LAWYERS????

Former Bailiff  Sir Philip Bailhache - Brother of William. We have been under the Bailhache influence for a very long time. Sir Philip has been in the Jersey Law Office since 1975. He served as Solicitor General between (1975 -85) and Attorney General between (1986 - 93). He then became Deputy Bailiff in 1994 and became Bailiff in 1995 until leaving office in June 2009. He has just destroyed Independent Political Reform in Jersey -THE FEUDAL KING OF JERSEY 






Former Attorney General William Bailhache & Now Deputy Bailiff. When he is no longer in office - in my opinion - Jersey will become a better place. DROPPED MORE CASES THAN BRITISH AIRWAYS WITH THE HELP OF HIS INDEPENDENT LAWYERS? (CLUB BEDFORD ROW)





Simon Thomas - Independant? Read on. He is just one of the so called Independent lawyers used by the Jersey Law Office in 2008. He Has next to no experience in Child Abuse Cases. His field is Finance. He comes from the 7 Bedford Row Chambers.



"THE CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT"



"THE JERSEY LAW OFFICE"



"THE MULTIPLE DROPPED CASES OF CHILD ABUSE"



"HOW INDEPENDENT WERE THE "INDEPENDENT LAWYERS?"



THE BATTLE LINES HAVE BEEN DRAWN.


We will again be looking at "BLANCE PIEERE"  & THE "B*****'S."  These are high profile cases that were dropped. There are more. This is the first posting where we look at what's gone on.




The Office of Attorney General, in Jersey,have lodged their comments in relation to the forthcoming proposition lodged by the Chief Minister regarding the "Committee of Enquiry" (COI)  due for debate on the 19th February 2013 into decades long Child Abuse in the Jersey care and Fostering system.  As we are constantly seeing the Office of Attorney General doesn't want any  independent Scrutiny.  What are they scared of? All agencies will be looked at. All the actions of these agencies over the decades will be scrutinised but - check this.


 THE JERSEY LAW OFFICE DOESN'T WANT ANYONE LOOKING AT THEM.


I have been calling the Jersey Law Office - the real power in Jersey - The Snakes Head.


The real power in Jersey has been like a monarchy.  I must keep repeating it. The succession of Philip Bailhache, William Bailhace, Michael Birt and Tim Le Cocq has been instrumental in the running of Jersey for decade upon decade. The power of prosecution has been in the hands of these people. Just as we've  seen with the latest Curtis Warren saga these people and the office they have  held are not open to scrutiny.  




How is it that the States of Jersey Police handed over so many files with no chance of prosecution?



The Office of Attorney General  have responded to an Amendment  lodged by the Council Of Ministers regarding the forthcoming Committee of Enquiry and it  states:

  1. Establish the process by which files were submitted by the States of Jersey Police to the prosecuting authorities for consideration, and the process by which the prosecution authorities decided whether a prosecution should be brought and establish whether or not that process – 
    • enabled those responsible for so deciding to take a professional and impartial approach; 
    • was free from any political influence or interference at any level.
      If, for these purposes, or as a result of evidence given under paragraph 6, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, it would be of assistance that one or more of the prosecution files underpinning any prosecution decision should be examined, those files shall be examined by an independent expert or experts in criminal law from outside Jersey, appointed by the Committee, who shall prepare a confidential report to the Committee maintaining the anonymity of witnesses and persons against who accusations are made. Any such expert or experts shall ensure that they are fully informed of the relevant Jersey law at the material time, and shall carry out any such review on the basis of the reasonableness of the decision in question in all the circumstances. 

This is what the Office of Attorney General says abut the above Amendment:

  1. The inclusion of this amongst the terms of reference is of course a matter for political decision. As set out above, the terms of the Standing Orders dealing with Committees of Inquiry require that before members decide to establish such a Committee, they must consider that there is a “definite matter of public importance” to be investigated. The Law Officers are not aware of any evidence that any of the prosecution decisions were taken other than on a proper basis, following a proper process. Differences of view are, of course, entirely possible because there are judgment calls to be made where reasonable people might reasonably reach different conclusions. Nor are the Law Officers aware of any political or other interference or influence of any kind in that process. Undoubtedly, some individuals who believe that their accusations should have resulted in a prosecution, will be disappointed if that did not happen. Such disappointment, however, does not give rise of itself to a sufficient reason to be concerned that the decision was not properly taken. 
  2. Members may recall that the former Attorney General made a number of public statements in this Assembly relating to the basis on which decisions whether or not to prosecute had been taken. They are annexed hereto as Appendix 1. 
  3. The prosecution service is an important public service. If members think there is genuine public concern that those taking the prosecution decisions were not competent, or did not carry out their duties with integrity or were subject to political interference, then we would support the decision to appoint a Committee of Inquiry into these matters. 
  4. It is legitimate to enquire into a process surrounding the taking of a prosecution decision, it would be wrong as a matter of principle to subject individual prosecution decisions to public scrutiny either by a political assembly or by a body set up by such an assembly. There is a fundamental principle that the prosecution process should be free from any political influence or interference in any way (see the answer of the Attorney General given in the States Assembly on 6th July 2010 attached as Appendix 2). In the light of the public statements concerning process attached as Appendix 1, it may be difficult to see how this question will be addressed practically by any Committee of Inquiry. 
  5. No determination by the Committee of Inquiry could require any further prosecutions although it will be open to the Attorney General to re-open matters if there is, in his opinion, a sufficient basis to do so. 
  6. In one case the Royal Court has already considered an application to review decisions not to prosecute cases of alleged child abuse. The Court proceeded on the assumption that judicial review was theoretically possible although in that case the application was also rejected because it was too late. In that case, the presiding judge made observations relating to the public statements made by the former Attorney General and, specifically, at paragraph 72, the judge, an independent Commissioner, now a Judge of the Supreme Court, said this –
    “...On the 26th August, 2008, the Attorney General made a public statement relating to those six cases. Charges were laid in relation to three of them. A decision was made on the fourth that no charges would be brought. Subsequently, on 3rd June, 2009, the Attorney 
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P.118/2012 Com.
General announced that in the remaining two cases, no charges would be brought. In those cases where no charges were brought, the reason was said to be that there was insufficient evidence to justify a prosecution. The reasons for this conclusion was summarised, and legal advice was said to have confirmed it. An attempt to force the re- opening of a criminal investigation now, more than two years later, would be highly prejudicial to the proper administration of justice, unjust to those under investigation who had been exonerated, and quite possibly distressing to victims and their families, who have not themselves sought to challenge these decisions by way of judicial review. No grounds have been given by ........., either in his Order of Justice or in his evidence, for believing that the Attorney General and his advisers were wrong in the view that they took on the available evidence.”
Some of these considerations would be, of course, relevant to any reconsideration by the current Attorney General in any particular case at this stage.
In relation to the historical abuse enquiry, no alleged victims have attempted to make such an application.
Considerations if an Inquiry is to be conducted
  1. A decision to prosecute is a serious decision which has to be taken on a proper legal basis. The test applied, and features of the decision, are as follows. 
  2. Any decision is taken on the papers. The decision-taker does not hear evidence. The decision is taken on the basis of the sufficiency, credibility and admissibility of the evidence disclosed within the prosecution file. It is open to the decision-maker to revert to the police for further information which will supplement the file. 
  3. In making a prosecution decision, the decision-taker first applies what is termed the evidential test. This means that he must decide that there is sufficient admissible evidence to give a reasonable prospect of conviction for each of the charges that fall to be considered. In doing so, he will have to bring his experience of the prosecution process to bear, apply his knowledge of the laws of evidence as far as they relate to criminal matters, identify any problems with the evidence such as inconsistency between witnesses or facts which undermine the credibility of key witnesses (including previous convictions) supporting the counts and other relevant matters relating to the evidence. 
  4. Only if he is satisfied that the evidential test has been passed, will the decision-maker then go on to consider whether or not it is in the public interest for a prosecution to be brought. 
  5. If, and to the extent it is necessary for individual prosecution decisions to be reviewed, then in order to reach an accurate assessment, they should be reviewed on the same basis that any prosecution decision is taken. That would require an assessment by an independent expert in criminal prosecutions. 
  1. It would be structurally unsound for the Committee of Inquiry, the majority consisting of laymen, to purport to assess individual prosecution decisions as it will not, without more, have the necessary expertise and experience. It is also not in the same position as the prosecutors were. It will have heard evidence given under paragraph 6 of the draft Terms of Reference, and it is wholly unclear whether all that it may hear would have been legally admissible in a criminal case. 
  2. Any assessment should be confidential. If not, then any decision will possibly give rise to a public discussion on the merits, including a discussion on the credibility of the complainant and the behaviour of the alleged accused. This would amount to trial by public opinion and would be both unfair to everyone including the complainant and the alleged accused and would undermine the independence of the prosecution decisions. 
  3. Accordingly, the Assembly will wish to ensure that a system is put in place that allows any decision to be assessed on a proper basis. This may need to be a different form of inquiry from the inquiry dealing with paragraph 6 of the draft Terms of Reference. 

AND NOW FOR THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. 



AND SO WE BEGIN. 


THE CASE OF THE B*****'S



REMEMBER MY POSTING ABOUT THE SO CALLED INDEPENDENT LAWYER SIMON THOMAS AND THE CONNECTION WITH 7 BEDFORD ROW. 

 Let us now again look upon the press release by then Attorney General William Bailhache on the 26th August 2008


 APPENDIX 1

Press Release – Jersey Historical Abuse Investigation
On 24th June 2008, a man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of criminal assaults against children and subsequently released without charge. The allegations against them were not of a sexual nature but essentially were allegations that they had used excessive force in a quasi-parental situation. Although this investigation was part of the overall child abuse investigation that is continuing, there is no connection between this case and the Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home.
Subsequently the independent lawyers – a Jersey Crown advocate with extensive experience as a barrister in the UK, and barristers from one of the London chambers specialising in criminal law – responsible for considering case files arising from this investigation received a full police file for their consideration. This file, which was received on 18th July, contained important statements and information not available on 24th June. Their job was to consider whether the evidential test was passed – that is, whether a court or jury, properly directed as to the law, would be more likely than not to convict on the evidence which was available. If the lawyers considered that the evidential test was passed, they had authority to arrange for charges to be laid without reference to the Attorney General. If they considered the evidential test was not passed, they were required to present a full evidential review to the Attorney for consideration. It is to be remembered that in a criminal trial, charges need to be proved by the prosecution beyond reasonable doubt if a conviction is to be secured.
On 6th August the Attorney General received advice in relation to this file from the independent lawyers he had retained. Three complainants, who were all in the care of the couple at the time of the alleged offences, which took place between 30 and 40 years ago, alleged that they and other children who were also in their care were subjected to excessive corporal punishment between 1967 and 1977. In this case, there is a significant conflict of evidence, which is naturally important in relation to the evidential test which had to be considered. Some of the witnesses, who have been named as victims, deny that the couple ever used any excessive force by way of lawful chastisement or at all, and speak in very positive terms about the quality of care and support which they received from the couple. Some of those who have told the police that no violent behaviour took place, and who speak very highly of the couple, include two of the siblings of one of the complainants.
For medical reasons, an interview with the woman was not completed by the police. The man, however, was interviewed and denied any wrongdoing; and there is significant other evidence and information that undermines the prospects of a successful prosecution. Although numbers of witnesses are not a conclusive test at all, it is to be noted that while there were three complainants who were alleging that offences had taken place, there were broadly speaking seven witnesses, including the prospective defendants, who would give relevant evidence substantially in favour of the defence.
The independent lawyers appointed to assist the police in this investigation have advised the Attorney General that there is insufficient evidence to pursue a prosecution in this case. In accordance with the arrangements that have been put in place to review all cases where the lawyers think that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, the Attorney has conducted, with a colleague in this Department – who also has extensive experience with the CPS in England – a careful review of the evidence in this case. The officer in charge and the detectives have also been consulted about the proposed course of action.
Taking everything into account, the Attorney has decided that there is insufficient evidence to bring a prosecution in this case.
The Attorney General said: “I realise that this decision will come as a disappointment to the complainants in the case and possibly to others who have made statements to the police or are considering doing so. I am obviously aware that assertions have been made, without any basis or foundation, that justice will not be done in the child abuse investigations that are taking place. Indeed, it is for that reason that I am making this full statement as to why a decision not to prosecute has been taken in this case. The evidential test has not been passed, and it would be simply wrong to bring the prosecution. I would however like to emphasize that the evidential test is based upon an analysis of the evidence that the police have taken and which might therefore be available to a court. I urge all those who have any relevant evidence to give in the current child abuse investigation to contact the police and to make statements. That is the only way the prosecution will be able to reach a fully informed decision on the evidential test in the various cases that come before us for consideration.”
Law Officers Department, Jersey 26th August, 2008.





We must look and study what former SIO Lenny Harper said about the release of the B*****'s. In the next posting we will be looking at the release of this couple,  the affect their alleged actions have had and where it leaves the Law Office.






REPORT TO JERSEY’S ATTORNEY GENERAL FOLLOWING THE POLICE PUBLICLY OBJECTING TO THE OBSTRUCTION OF THE CHARGING OF SUSPECTS AGAINST WHOM SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE WAS PRESENT.

STATES OF JERSEY POLICE REPORT

Submitted by: DCO L. Harper

Submitted to: Chief Officer (For onward transmission to Attorney General.)
MIR Office Manager (For Registration and filing on HOLMES System.)


Chief Officer:

The Attorney General has requested a report into the circumstances and reasons for the issue of the Media Statement following the release from Custody of Mr and Mrs B*****r who were arrested by the Historical Abuse Team for three Grave and Criminal Assaults. The reasons for the release however, do not start with the arrest of the B******s and are outlined in full below.

On 9th April 2008 I met with the AG in the presence of yourself. This meeting was to discuss the provision of Legal Assistance to the Historical Abuse Enquiry. The Attorney General was keen to appoint an independent lawyer to assist the enquiry “in order to prevent you from barking up the wrong tree at an early stage.” There was some discussion over his wish to have the lawyer placed within the Incident Room. I, ACPO, and others saw this as a highly unusual step, and objected to that situation.

Eventually a compromise was reached and Mr Simon Thomas was appointed and given an office in Police Headquarters. Agreement was reached with him, Cyril Whelan, and Stephen Baker that, in a departure from normal practice, we would not arrest suspects whom we hoped to charge until we had submitted a file of evidence to the lawyers and they would then guide us on what charges could be preferred. This was to prevent us from having to arrest a string of suspects and release them whilst the report was being considered. We were reassured that the turnaround in the files would be very quick in order not to delay the process of arrest and charge.

The service that we have received from the legal team has not been as we were led to believe it would be. Since his arrival in mid April we have given Mr Thomas six files. The file for the B******r case, which was a straight-forward file containing only a small number of statements was handed to him in early June. There followed a number of meetings between himself, the Deputy SIO, the Detective Sergeant Team Leader, and the two investigators in charge of that particular enquiry. During these meetings the evidence was discussed and on Friday 20th June 2008 the Detective Sergeant and the two investigators met with Mr Thomas. It was agreed that the B********s should be arrested and charged with three crimes of Grave and Criminal Assault. As always, it was accepted that this was subject to any significant changes in the evidence against them following interview or the arrest process. All three officers are certain of the instructions given to them by Mr Thomas and recall clearly the discussions about the difference between the different types of assault and the directions given in relation to charging.

The B*******s were arrested on Tuesday 24th June 2007. Mr B******r was interviewed first. He denied the offences but offered nothing which changed the evidence against him or his wife. Mrs B******r feigned illness but was declared fit by the Doctor.

At 5pm Simon Thomas declared to the investigators that he had revised his view and said he did not want the couple charged. The officers were extremely surprised and not a little frustrated. I spoke to Simon who, it transpired, was between trains and on a railway station platform somewhere in the North of England. Indeed, as we spoke the conversation was frequently interrupted by passing trains. He said he had revised his opinion because of new evidence that had emerged during the day. I asked what that evidence was and he gave me three “developments.”

1. Mrs B******r was unwell. I explained the situation in respect of her and that the Police Doctor thought she was feigning. I explained that she was obtaining the woman’s medical notes and would further advise at 6.30pm. In the event, the Doctor declared the suspect fit for detention and interview. I questioned however, whether this could be said to be new evidence which affected the decision to charge.
2. Simon then told me that a witness called Drake had rung the Custody Officer and said we had made a mistake, and that we had the wrong people in custody. I pointed out that Drake had made a witness statement which Simon had seen and which he had taken into account when recommending which charges should be preferred. Drake had not added any new evidence to what was in his statement.

3. The B*******s' children had telephoned and said their parents were good people and that they (the children) were now flying to Jersey. I asked Simon how that was new evidence as opposed to character evidence, and he said that they might have evidence relevant to the allegations as they lived in the same house. I pointed out that he knew that previously and also that they lived in a different part of the house.

Simon then said he needed to speak to Cyril Whelan and Stephen Baker who were in Jersey. He did so and telephoned back. He said they agreed with him and wanted to see the interviews before charging. I pointed out that this made the arrangement we had pretty worthless - what was the point of us sending him the file before arrest if he still had to wait to see the interview notes? The idea was that he told us the charges before we released suspects. He then said that he could not do that as things might change during the interview. He said we arrested on suspicion and then interviewed and he decided on charges afterwards. I made the point that we had all agreed that we would not arrest until we had given him the papers and this was to allow us to be given suitable charges to prevent the process of arrest and release. He said that things could always arise during interview. I accepted that occasionally that could happen but that in the absence of anything dramatic, the agreed charges would normally still be relevant. I pointed out that he had met the officers in this case and the Deputy SIO on several occasions and that just before arrest there had been discussion on the charges and he had agreed three G&C assault charges. He said that was not correct. All four of our staff, DI Fossey, DS Smith, and the two UK detectives were frustrated at this development as their recollection was he had clearly agreed with them this course of action. I told Simon that if these two were not charged I was not having the Enquiry Team officers blamed for it. He finished by saying that operationally he could not tell me whether to charge or not.

In view of that comment, I told the officers to get the Centenier in to PHQ to charge. They did so. Danny Scaife came in, Andy Smith gave him the full facts including the discussion with the lawyer, and Danny went off to read the evidence. He did so for well over an hour and then declared that although there was enough evidence to charge, he was not going to.

At that stage I told Louise Nibbs to put the Press Release out. It avoided comment and stuck to the facts. In answer to the Attorney General’s question, the following are the reasons I put it out.

Simon Thomas commented this week that he was anxious there should be no perception that the decisions to charge or not to charge suspects were being made under improper influence of factors other than evidence. I made the point to him, and make it again, that he and others do not seem able to grasp the fact that this perception is already there among the victims. They feel that the decisions are, and have been made in the past, on many factors other than the evidence. It is the need to avoid this perception that was uppermost in my mind in releasing the factual Media statement that evening.

One of the most heartening features of this enquiry has been the trust placed in the officers by very vulnerable victims and witnesses. This is despite them being on many occasions very badly let down by a number of agencies when they have previously tried to report crimes against them. This trust has been based on a foundation of openness and transparency together with an obvious determination to get to the truth. It is in marked contrast to the total contempt that the victims hold the Attorney General and his office in. So suspicious of that office are they, that many victims remain sceptical about the possibility of ever bringing the people who abused them to justice. The need to overcome the doubts victims had about the States of Jersey Police was one of the reasons why we agreed the policy of not arresting anyone until we had submitted the file to the lawyer working with us. In this way we avoided the scenario, seen so often in the UK, of a succession of suspects being brought into custody and then released without charge.
Such a scenario in this case would have damaged the credibility of the investigation and risked us being placed in the same category as those agencies the victims do not trust. This is illustrated by a briefing I have had from the NSPCC Counsellor working alongside us. He has received a text message from a victim (which he has showed me) to say "It is a joke. Another two walk away. No wonder no one will come forward." Here is an illustration of the need for us to maintain our distance and our independence from the office of the Attorney General, and a stark reason for the release.

However, the agreement mentioned above has not worked as planned or indeed promised. Files have been submitted, some of them not very complex and indeed, no more complicated than the normal type file dealt with on a daily basis by the PPU. The time to turn them around by the legal team has been frustratingly long. There is no intention to criticise the ability of the “dedicated” lawyer here, but it is obvious that he has a number of commitments in the UK which makes it difficult for him to be here. The debacle over the B******S case is one example. As stated above, the officers concerned are adamant that they were given the go ahead to charge; subject to the usual conditions that nothing significant occurred during the arrest process or interviews. If this had not been the case, no arrest would have been made. The actions of the UK lawyer himself hardly seem to corroborate the picture of someone giving serious consideration to an evolving investigation with prisoners in custody. Some UK and even Jersey law practitioners may find it rather bizarre that a lawyer found it acceptable to carry out such work on the platform of a busy railway station.

A further example of the poor service given to us is illustrated by the Maguire case. The importance of this case to our enquiry is obvious to all, including the media. The Deputy SIO and I have continually emphasised this to Simon Thomas.

We delivered the file to Simon on the 29th April. The investigators, the Deputy SIO, and I regularly asked him for progress reports. These were not really forthcoming even when he was in Jersey. I had to speak to a Jersey lawyer with experience of extradition to clarify one point. I then spoke to a CPS expert on Extradition to clarify something else in an attempt to speed things up. In mid June I was told by Simon that he and Cyril Whelan had almost finished the work on the charges. Then we were told that the AG had asked for full advice files on the facts and the law. We realised the need for this but were firm in seeking assurances from the lawyers that this would be done quickly. Stephen Baker, after some debate, undertook that the AG would be fully advised within seven days. That period expired last week and the investigating officers e mailed Simon Thomas in the UK and asked if it had been done. The reply from Simon Thomas was “I will answer this question next week.”

This answer to a reasonable and sensible question beggars belief, and is another example of the shoddy and unprofessional service which we are receiving. To return to the question of perception, what sort of perception would this give to the public if they knew of it? Meanwhile, the Maguires remain in France, although we are told by the lawyers that our fear of them absconding is not supported by their information. This is despite that our intelligence comes from those who found them in the first place.

In summary, I issued the Press Release to explain to the public, but mainly the victims, why these two suspects had been released. I feel, as do the investigators, that we were badly let down by the legal advice delivered from afar. The three pieces of “new evidence”, even to a police officer, were transparently no such thing. As the conversation unfurled it became obvious that even Simon Thomas did not truly believe that what he was describing to me was evidence. I could not work out, and am still unable to work out, what really did prompt the change of heart and the revision of the advice. I have refused to speculate on that but was determined that the States of Jersey Police would not be criticised for the decision. Subsequent events proved that this was a justifiable fear with the Deputy Home Affairs Minister describing to me how a number of members of the Council of Ministers were already gleefully talking about another “Police Cock Up” in bringing these suspects in and not charging them.


It is also probably pertinent to include some reference in this report to the expressed view of the Attorney General, and indeed the Minister, that the circulation list for this and other police press releases is “too wide and encourages wider comment.” These comments show a distinct lack of awareness of dealing with the media in this type of situation. The list has evolved from the early days of the enquiry because when the first media releases were made, the Press Officer was immediately deluged with media outlets demanding to know why they had not received the release and asking why we were hiding it from them. Apart from an impression of reluctance to communicate, this heavy demand led to our phone systems being blocked, (at one point the Press Officer had 128 messages waiting), and caused unnecessary stress to our staff. It was also expensive in time and cost to send out a Press Release so many times, not to mention extremely unprofessional. Several weeks ago the Press Officer contacted everyone on the list and asked if she could take them off. Only three agreed and they are now removed.

Another aspect and implication of the Attorney General’s comment which he might like to reflect on is what would happen if we did indeed cut our circulation list. When the inevitable questions arrived from the media all over the world and we told them that we had removed them from out list, they would without doubt ask why. When we gave the truthful answer that the AG thought it a good idea to curtail circulation and a wider coverage they just might, in the light of the many allegations of cover up against his office, think that they had here positive evidence of the “wilful obstruction” which he was recently accused of. No matter how unjust that might be, it would be an obvious outcome.

Submitted for onward transmission to the Attorney General.



Leonard Harper, Deputy Chief OfficerChief OfficerDocument

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RICO SORDA

PART TIME INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST

Sunday, February 3, 2013

THE JERSEY LAW OFFICE - THE CURTIS WARREN CAR BUGGING SAGA - BETWEEN THE LINES











HAVING TO GO WHERE THE LOCAL MEDIA DARE NOT TREAD - THE SNAKES HEAD






"THE CULTURE OF CONCEALMENT"



"THE JERSEY LAW OFFICE"



"AN  ENTITY THAT DOES'NT  WANT ANYBODY LOOKING AT IT"


IN THIS POSTING WE LOOK AT THE LAYMAN'S BREAKDOWN OF THE RELEVANT PARTS OF THE WRITTEN JUDGEMENT BY CHIEF CONSTABLE MIKE BARTON OF DURHAM CONSTABULARY CONCERNING THE ACTIONS OF 3 POLICE OFFICERS BUGGING THE HIRE CAR INVOLVED IN  CURTIS WARREN'S CONSPIRACY TO IMPORT CANNABIS INTO JERSEY.




This posting has to be read in conjunction with the posting by fellow Team Voice member Voiceforchildren.




First you will get part of the Judgement and then directly below a Laymen's explanation of that part.This Layman's explanation has been leaked to the Jersey Bloggers so readers will have a better understanding of the conclusions of Constable Barton. 




We believe that it is of a public interest disclosure seeing as a precedent was set by current Home Affairs Minister, Ian Le Marquand. The Home Affairs Minister published the prosecution case against former Chief of Police, Graham Power QPM, as explained further in the posting by VFC. Link above..

In the absence of any Investigative Journalism in Jersey and the mistrust that many feel towards the local Jersey Mainstream Media it has again come to the bloggers to publish the evidence. 

For a further breakdown on the Curtis Warren car bugging saga readers are encourage to visit the excellent Blog site of former Deputy and 30 year  MET Police Veteran Bob Hill B.E.M.


You can also listen to the Attorney General, Tim Le Cocq, and Home Affairs Minister, Ian Le Marquand, avoiding answering straight questions in the States of Jersey on this subject below. It is a must listen piece of Audio. I thank TheJerseyWay for providing this excellent avenue.




   “BETWEEN THE LINES."

This document contains some observations and comments on the written findings of the Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary sitting as Presiding Officer in the Police Disciplinary Tribunal in the case of officers Minty, Beghin and Courtness of the States of Jersey Police.   It has been prepared to assist readers who may be less familiar with the Police Disciplinary Process and the written findings of a Tribunal convened under the Police Discipline Code.


The majority of the document setting out the findings of the Presiding Officer of the above Disciplinary Tribunal speaks for itself.   However, some readers of that document may think that it raises a number of questions and that there are some interesting messages “between the lines.” What follows are our informal comments on some aspects of the published findings which readers who are less familiar with documents of this nature may have found difficult.   We hope that our comments, based on no special inside knowledge, but relying on information which is already in the public domain, local enquiries we have been able to make, and our experience of such cases, might shed some light on the more opaque areas of the Tribunal’s decision and assist any discussions which may take place in consequence of what the document has to say. We will only comment where we think that there is something which we can usefully add, and will do so using the paragraph numbers in the original document prepared by the Presiding Officer.   Before we begin our comments it might be appropriate to point out that, from what we have been told, the Disciplinary Tribunal was in fact the second and lesser stage of a much longer process.   The first stage was a full criminal investigation intended to establish whether there was a basis for any of the three officers, and a number of other individuals, to be charged with Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice, and/or Perjury.   We have been told that most of those under suspicion were interviewed as criminal suspects.   That enquiry came to an end after independent senior lawyers in England ruled that there was no basis for any criminal charges.   The Disciplinary Case was therefore in some respects a “second bite at the cherry.”   Readers may wish to know that the standard of proof in a criminal case is “beyond all reasonable doubt” whereas the standard in a disciplinary case is “the balance of probabilities” which is a less demanding test.   This difference sometimes enables senior officers to pursue allegations against police officers even when very similar allegations have failed the test for a criminal prosecution.   Organisations which represent police officers sometimes allege that what are effectively criminal allegations are “dressed up” as disciplinary issues in the knowledge that they would never stand up in Court but might slip under the bar at a disciplinary hearing.   The hearing chaired by the Chief Constable of Durham was therefore a disciplinary hearing which came after a criminal investigation in which all of the accused officers had been formally exonerated of any criminal act.
All that said we offer the following comments on the paragraphs of the findings of the hearing which we have numbered below.



From the Judgement:

3.  It is alleged that these three officers not only misled foreign law enforcement officials but also senior officers within the States of Jersey Police Force and members of the  Law Officers' Department in relation to the audio surveillance of the vehicle as it travelled through the foreign jurisdictions.


Between the lines Paragraph 3.  
Note that the three officers were apparently accused of not only misleading foreign law-enforcement officers but also Senior Officers (unspecified in the document) in the States of Jersey Police Force and members of the Law Officers Department.   Given that Minty is a Chief Inspector and may have been acting in the rank of Superintendent at the relevant time, the Senior Officers who were allegedly deceived were likely to be the then Acting Deputy Chief Officer, Shaun DuVal, and the then Chief Officer, Graham Power.   Yet we understand that neither person was called to give evidence.   Moreover, the Attorney General appeared to indicate recently that neither he nor his department were involved in the disciplinary hearing.   We are therefore inclined to ask just what evidence was brought to the hearing to support the allegation that these people were deceived.   If no evidence was called then these allegations could not reasonably be expected to succeed.   It is no surprise therefore that those particular charges were dismissed.


From the Judgement:

7. I should point out at this stage that not all advocacy in this case has been as good.The officers can, quite rightly, feel aggrieved that Advocate Gollop did not recognize an immediate conflict of interest.   I also deprecate the manner in which Advocate Whittacker left the officers unrepresented.  I remain perplexed where the money set aside for the potential expert McKay has gone. I also stated when I gave my verbal
decision on Thursday 10 January 2013 that I did not expect to see my comments in the media and whilst I was not gagging others, I did make it clear that I did not authorise the use of my comments other than for this hearing and I do not authorise the publication of this written judgment other than for the purposes of this hearing.


Between the lines Paragraph 7.   
Senior figures in the Jersey Legal Establishment are not used to criticism and so Advocate Julian Gollop may not enjoy reading the observation that he, who we understand was the Advocate initially appointed for the officer’s defence by the Police Association Insurers, was slow to identify a conflict of interest.   We have enquired as to the nature of the alleged conflict and understand that it related to Advocate Gollop’s role as prosecutor on behalf of the Attorney General in relation to the original Warren case.   Observers of the Jersey legal scene will be aware that Advocate Gollop is a frequent recipient of briefs of this nature on behalf of the Crown.   There is nothing wrong with that in itself, but it created a conflict of interest which the Tribunal felt Advocate Gollop was slow to identify.   It was Advocate Gollop who, during the Warren trial, promoted the line on behalf of the Crown that the complications regarding the bugging of the car in France arose because the police had acted illegally.   This did not sit well with what we have been told was the position of the accused officers which was that the Law Officers Department had misunderstood the law, over-stated the alleged illegality, or at least had supported and encouraged the actions taken by the police.   These are two conflicting views and it is difficult to see how it was ever thought that the same Advocate could advance both, albeit at different hearings.   There is also in this paragraph, a reference to a second Advocate apparently departing from the case at short notice.   If true then it is certainly bad form at the least.   However in this case the outcome was positive in that the able Advocate Sinel stepped in at short notice and by all accounts did an impressive job.   Whatever the feelings of other Advocates in relation to the case, the prospect of criticising the conduct of the Jersey law Officers Department and thereby blotting his copybook for the future, was clearly not at the top of Advocate Sinels worry-list.   Also in this paragraph there is an intriguing reference to an expert witness by the name of McKay for whom money had been set aside which had then apparently gone missing.   Regular observers of the Jersey scene will be aware that missing money is not exactly an unknown phenomenon in the Island, but a reference to such an event in the findings of a disciplinary case is somewhat unusual.   We have made enquiries in an attempt to find out more about this matter and confess that we have been unable to establish the full picture.   However, from what we have been told it appears that the witness McKay was an expert lawyer from the UK who specialised in the legalities of surveillance cases.   We have been told that he produced a legal opinion which stated that the Jersey Law Officers had not fully understood the law relating to the bugging of the car in France and may not have presented the full legal picture to the Privy Council before it made its criticism of the Police.   Mr McKay is said to have concluded that the officers in the case did nothing illegal.   Defence funds were set aside in order to secure his evidence for the disciplinary hearing, yet according the record of the hearing, those funds disappeared.   We do not know whether Mr McKay’s evidence, or indeed Mr McKay himself, disappeared at the same time, but like others we would like to know more about this episode.



From the Judgement:

8. I should also point out that when I gave my verbal decision in this matter, I referred specifically to a letter written by Assistant Chief Constable Pryde of the Hampshire Constabulary to the Attorney General dated 28 July 2011 did not receive an acknowledgement let alone a response. This was the evidence given by Detective Chief Superintendent Cessford who was a representative of the Hampshire Police. I am, however, informed that this letter although shown to me and confirmed by Mr Cessford as having been sent, was not actually sent to the Attorney General in Jersey and therefore my comments about finding it odd that there had been no response to this letter were, at the time that I made them, inaccurate.   Be that as it may, and having now been informed that the letter was never sent, the position in relation to the co-operation by the Attorney General and the States Police in Jersey remains the same. I do find it odd that having asked the Hampshire Police to investigate the matters  surrounding   the   Curtis  Warren   police   operation,   the authorities in Jersey did not co-operate fully in the way that I would have expected given that it was they that asked for the enquiry to be carried out. Mr. Cessford made this very clear and I have no reason to doubt it and that caused me some considerable surprise. I maintain that this lack of co-operation or, perhaps more  accurately,  lack  of  complete   co-operation,   can   only   have  compromised  the Hampshire enquiry and limited the full facts available to me to make a decision in this case.   I stress again that this is just one of the unsatisfactory elements of this case
 
which have either been decided upon or effected the Crown about which more later.


Between the lines Paragraph 8.   
This paragraph deals with the letter that was never sent.   The letter was from Assistant Chief Constable Pryde of Hampshire Police to HM Attorney General for Jersey.   At the disciplinary hearing the letter was referred to by Chief Superintendent Cessford of Hampshire Police who said that it had been sent but no acknowledgement or reply had been received.   It later emerged that the letter had been prepared but had never been posted.   We are given no more direct information on this matter but, given what is said later in this paragraph, we may be able to “join the dots” and make a fair guess as to what happened.   The report of the decision of the hearing goes on to state that the “authorities in Jersey” and in particular the States of Jersey Police, did not cooperate fully with the Disciplinary Enquiry.   The context of these comments implies that the Law Officers Department are one of the “authorities” to which this comment refers.   This is in our experience remarkable and unprecedented.   So what are we to make of it?   To begin with we understand that a proper police disciplinary enquiry would seek to obtain all of the relevant evidence whether it was for or against the accused officers.   We do not know what the difficulty was, but we feel confident that a proper enquiry would ask for things such as notes of legal advice, records of meetings, transcripts and documents showing what was actually said and done at the time and by who, rather than what people would attempt to claim later with the benefit of hindsight.  It sometimes happens that the Investigating Officers would wish to speak to witness other than those put forward to them by the police force commissioning the investigation. If they are good investigators then they will “follow the evidence” rather than an agenda prescribed by others.   Is it possible that Hampshire Police made requests of this nature, and that they were refused?   And if so why?   Could it be that there existed evidence which would support the version of events given by the accused officers and discredit the version given by others, and that there were individuals in positions of authority that were resolved that this evidence would never emerge?   In our minds, that is what it appears is being implied in the Tribunal findings.   Without more information we cannot be sure.   But the above background may cast some light on the unsent letter which is referred to in the early part of the paragraph.   Is it possible that this was a letter to the Attorney General drafted by Cessford for his boss, Pryde, to sign?   Could it be that the letter contained details of alleged non-cooperation by the Law Officers Department, which Cessford wanted his boss to put on record?   Perhaps Pryde thought better of it, perhaps he decided not to send the letter but then failed to tell Cessford, which then left Cessford in the position of referring to the letter during the hearing only to discover later that it had not been sent?   Without more information we can only speculate on this matter.   Nevertheless, the findings of the Tribunal paint a picture of the States of Jersey Police, in apparent consultation with the Law Officers and others, commissioning an independent investigation of their own officers, and then failing to cooperate with that investigation.    It would be understandable if readers viewed this behaviour as unusual and bordering on the surreal, and it would be understandable if there was speculation as to what if anything the Force and others felt they had to hide from investigators which they themselves had appointed.



From the Judgement:

16. To a large extent this is a factually accurate summary of events, however, the French and Dutch authorities did give consent to track Welsh's Jersey vehicle through France and Holland as did the Belgium authorities and, Commissions Rogatoires were in place in relation to that particular vehicle. There was however, no permission  granted by the French or the Dutch authorities at any time to install and monitor audio tracking devices in their jurisdictions. Both DS Beghin and Dl (name redacted) (as they then were) did speak on 11 July 2007, to Advocate Jowitt, the Crown Advocate with conduct of the criminal prosecution against Warren and others, about the likelihood of receiving  the  necessary  permissions for this  technical  tracking  and  audio monitoring in other jurisdictions.  In essence, Crown Advocate Jowitt stated that this was essentially an operational decision for the police but he also stated that any audio evidence obtained was unlikely to be excluded by a Jersey Court regardless of whether consent had been obtained or not.  He went on to say, "if it was me I would go ahead and do it but don't quote me on that".   The Presenting Officer makes it clear that in his view, this was not 'legal advice' and should not have been relied upon. Whilst I accept that this was not legal advice as such, I nevertheless think that
it was a comment made by a senior Crown Advocate having conduct of the prosecution of the case which could only serve to encourage the officers in deploying the audio monitoring device in the vehicle and obtaining the product to see later whether it would be admissible in Court or not. It is right that this was an operational decision but, nevertheless, it cannot be the case that the officers are not entitled to at least take some comfort from what they are told by the Crown Advocate prosecuting  the case.   Ultimately, it became clear that Welsh would not be travelling in his own vehicle but would be travelling as a foot passenger to France where upon he would collect a hire car.  Ultimately the officers decided to ascertain the identity of the hire car and obtained the permission of the hirer namely, (name redacted), to install devices into the hire vehicle. As far as fitting the tracking devices on the hire car were concerned, a police to police request was made of the French police to allow the installation of a"tracking device on the rental car".   No mention was made of an audio device and ultimately the French police apparently gave consent for a tracking device to being installed.


Between the lines Paragraph 16.  
 It could be said that this is a key paragraph.   It sets out the extent, or at least the extent to which it is known and admitted, that the Jersey law Officers encouraged and supported the actions of the three officers.


From the Judgement:

20 - 21.As far as DC Courtness (as he was then) is concerned, then he is accused of being party to a lie to the French police because he was called on duty to travel to France  in order to fit the tracking and audio devices and prior to leaving the Jersey police headquarters to catch the boat to go to France he asked DS Beghin (as he then was) what he should say to the French if they asked what he was doing fitting the audio device and DS Beghin told him to say that this was a back-up tracking device which  was clearly not the case.  In the event, DC (name redacted) who accompanied DC Courtness to France was there as an interpreter and it was she who told the French police that the audio device was a back-up tracking device and that is essentially the allegation against DC Courtness.
Evidence
21 I found all of the officers to be open and honest. They were working 20 hours a day for a month at a stretch.   Any errors, omissions or partial briefings in e-mails or similar are understandable. This case spanned far more than whether the Dutch had agreed to the listening of an audio device in the hire car.   For example, there were Commission Rogatoires in place - indeed the three countries, Holland, Belgium and France, fully co-operated with surveillance assets, interestingly for the red Citroen hire car, not the VW Golf that Rebecca Boxall had stipulated in her requests for cooperation.  I found DS Courtness' evidence to be utterly convincing.  He was placed in an unenviable position and has approached his role professionally. He was asked to do a particular job on a particular day and was not directly involved in communicating anything at all to French police officers. Indeed, he could not speak French and they could not speak English so I fail to see how he could have misled them in any way. He asked, understandably in a covert policing operation, what he was to say to French police in the event that they asked questions about the audio device and his superior officer told him what to say. In the event he didn't say anything at all to the French Police and, therefore, I find it difficult to see why he is in this position defending disciplinary charges.





Between the lines Paragraphs 20 and 21.   
These paragraphs are evidential and factual, but entertaining nevertheless.   They deal with the allegation that Sergeant Courtness lied to the French authorities during the installation of a device in the hire car in France.   The Presiding Officer points out, rather dryly, that Courtness did not speak French, the French Officers did not speak English and in any event during the relevant activity, Courtness did not speak at all.   Not much of a case against Courtness you might think?   Well apparently it was thought good enough to merit the trouble and expenditure of disciplinary action.   Exactly who authorised and pursued this charge has not emerged with any certainty at the time of writing.


From the Judgement:
23. I find some of Detective Inspector Beghin's evidence to have been eroded by time. His fortitude in giving evidence against a doctor's advice has gone in his favour.  He  was working incredible hours and he is a witness of truth.  I can see why he feels he was thrown to the wolves. I also understand that since the time of my verbal decision  in this matter and this written Judgment, Dl Beghin has fallen ill and was admitted to intensive care. I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope that he is able to move on with his life once he does recover.


Between the lines Paragraph 23.  
In paragraph 23 we are given a reminder that this whole business has not been a mere academic exercise.   The time, the pressure and the strain of this disciplinary action has taken a human toll.   Such things often do.  Those initiating matters of this nature need to bear this aspect in mind.




From the Judgement:

29As far as the Privy Council case is concerned then this is a different hearing.   In relation to this disciplinary hearing I have heard different evidence, evidence that the Privy Council did not hear and that is why I have come to a verdict which some may say is contrary to the comments made by the Privy Council but I disagree that it is contradictory because as I have said I have heard different evidence. I have tried my best to be fair to all parties throughout these proceedings. I have let matters run within a reasonable time and I have read all the evidence offered in documentary form, even the unsatisfactory elements such as statements that have been submitted to me unsigned and transposed onto Hampshire Police paper without the signed versions being put to the witnesses.  It may well be that these statements are identical to the signed versions but when a witness calls the statements into question I am in some difficulty when the signed versions are not put before me. Moreover, it
was made clear to me that the Presenting Officer had put forward all of the evidence that was necessary in this case and that did not include signed versions of the statements. I have, however, listened carefully to all of the witnesses and I have balanced all of the evidence to come to my conclusion. In my conclusion I have no doubt that the officers have done nothing reprehensible. They have not broken the disciplinary code. Indeed, the evidence has shown me that they were part of a professional and effective investigation team.


Between the lines Paragraph 29.   
This paragraph raises an interesting issue regarding the apparent unavailability of signed witness statements taken during the disciplinary enquiry.   From what we are told in the document setting out the findings of the Tribunal, it appears that typed but unsigned witness statements were put before the hearing.   It then appears that in giving evidence one or more witnesses disputed the contents of the statements.   In order to resolve this issue the original signed versions were asked for and were not available.   This paragraph in the Tribunals findings is carefully composed, but there is a subtle implication that the content of statements may have been tampered with between the original signing of the statement and the typed version being put to the hearing.   Only a further investigation could resolve this matter.



From the Judgement:

30I have heard the reported remarks attributed to Messrs. Warcup and Power about commendations for these officers and I agree with those sentiments.   These and other officers protected the Island of Jersey from one of the UK's worst criminals, for that they should continue to take professional and personal satisfaction.


Between the lines Paragraph 30.   
It is not often that a disciplinary hearing ends with a recommendation that the accused officers be commended for their actions.   This is another rare and interesting aspect of this case.


From the Judgement:

31. In all the circumstances, I find that none of the charges against these officers are proved and I dismiss all charges accordingly.



Between the lines Paragraph 31.   
This is a seemingly routine paragraph but nevertheless one with an important message.   It tells us that the allegations have not been proved.   And it is a reminder for anyone thinking of embarking on disciplinary action of this nature.   The making of accusations is easy, saying that “something should be done” is easy, assembling evidence to prove matters before a hearing and in the face of a robust defence is a harder task.   Minty, Beghin and Courtness did not have to prove their innocence.   Their accusers had to prove their guilt, and failed to do so at great public expense.End



Between the Lines.The hearing is over but the arguments may continue for a while yet.  Not recorded in the written findings, but now openly discussed in the public domain, is the question of who exactly started this disciplinary enquiry.   It is being claimed that at the hearing the Deputy Chief Officer Barry Taylor said in his evidence that the matter was initiated by the Attorney General.   The Attorney General has since said in the States that this is not true.   At the time of writing it appears that following the expensive failure of the disciplinary case, nobody is taking responsibility for the decision to start proceedings, and that the parties involved are blaming each other.  People should not be surprised at this development.


We hope that these hurried notes are of help to those reading the written account of the findings in the above case. End

Again it has come to the Jersey Bloggers to bring you the evidence. The question that must be asked is why isn't this being leaked to the Jersey Mainstream Media?


Rico Sorda Part Time Investigative Journalist


TRUTH - HONESTY AND INTEGRITY