Friday, December 28, 2018

SINS OF OMISSION


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I haven't posted on Jersey for a while. This is mainly because not much has been happening. Yes, I know there has been an election and a new Chief Minister, and the "leader of the opposition" has become Children's and Housing Minister and so on. But it is too early to assess the significance of these changes, if any.

What has provoked me into print is a development relating to the Abuse Inquiry. I know I will be accused of being obsessed with this feature of Island life and that does not worry me one whit.

How the authorities react in this area is a litmus test of their sincerity across the board and it is a simple one that is easily accessible.

People will remember that, earlier this year, the Inquiry's web site was taken down pending further redaction to protect the innocent (and maybe a few of the guilty as well). Not everyone believed the reasons given for the take down as it conveniently (for some) deprived researchers of the raw material necessary for an in depth evaluation of the Inquiry and of the authorities' response to it.

Fortunately, some of us had already lost trust in the Inquiry and in the authorities so this may not prove to be as serious an obstacle as it first appeared.

We were promised that the site would be gradually restored as appropriate redactions were made to the content, and, lo and behold, the first phase of the restoration is now finally upon us.

Before I go any further, a technical comment. I would have imagined that the first redaction would have been to upgrade the site's security in line with what is happening generally, including in the case of my own web site and my blogs (at Blogger). However when I try to access the partially restored site under the security protocol (https) my browser tells me:
The owner of www.jerseycareinquiry.org has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.
This is a serious omission for an Inquiry which has already had its security lapses when in session.

I have had neither the time, nor the inclination at this stage, to examine what has been put back up in any great detail, but there is one glaring omission which screamed out at me.

In the section on Key Documents, there is an index to the "rulings" of the Inquiry on various matters such as media accreditation (of which more another time) and provision of, or funding for, legal advice/representation.

The Inquiry unjustifiably rejected Stuart Syvret's application for such funding despite the fact that he was a key witness and had been put in a very tricky legal situation by the Royal Court.

That ruling was always absent from the index though the ruling itself could be found on the site if one knew how to look for it. The partially restored site not only continues to omit the ruling from the index, but the ruling itself has now been taken down.

In the face of this unjustifiable and provocative piece of vandalism, I have posted the ruling on my own web site so that people can judge this matter for themselves.

I have referred to the restoration as partial. By this I mean that only part of the site has been restored. The word also has another meaning which may also be relevant, we'll see.

Anyway, what has not been restored is the transcripts of the oral hearings and the vast volumes of evidence submitted by participants to the Inquiry. These would be the meat of any assessment of the Inquiry and of the authorities' response to it.

Had these not been posted in the first place, and subsequently clumsily redacted, I would not necessarily have known the identity of the person referred to as 737 and that they were still in a prominent position in the financial sector despite being scheduled for police interview under caution as a suspect in the rape of an adult female.

So the taking down and continued absence of this material is no small matter.

While I'm in full flight, I'd like to refer to a document which has been brought to my attention. It is a discussion by some legal bods on The Jersey Way in the context of moving on from the Inquiry.

While it is by no means comprehensive, understandably so in a document emaninating from within the Jersey legal fraternity, and while it retains a sloppy reference to the infamous "coconut", it does have some sensible things to say on the subject.

It is something of an academic work, containing as it does many references to other sources, but this may be a useful feature as it brings together some of the current thinking in this area.

A central theme is trust and transparency - how to regain popular trust by operating in a fully transparent manner. While Jersey is still a long way from this, it is worth mentioning here some of the observations in the document.

It has an extensive comment on the Inquiry's dealings with Stuart Syvret:
An obvious hole in the Jersey Care Inquiry Report is the absence of former Senator Stuart Syvret’s evidence. Syvret had been an outspoken critic of the way the Jersey establishment had dealt with allegations of child abuse dating back to the 1970’s. In 2007 he was dismissed from his post as the Minister for Health and Social Services after claiming that child abuse cases were being covered up. When Syvret called for an independent inquiry he was accused by the then Chief Minister, Frank Walker, of damaging Jersey’s reputation. Syvret was arrested in April 2008 and charged under the Data Protection Act in relation to articles written on his blog allegedly containing confidential information. The Care Inquiry report noted his refusal to assist the inquiry as regrettable. But Syvret himself told the Jersey Evening Post that he wanted to give evidence, but did not because he was not granted legal representation, something he felt he needed to prevent the breach of any of the court orders that were in place against him.

If the States of Jersey truly wanted to draw a line and turn a new leaf, which is what this inquiry sought to do, then legal representation should have been granted to Stuart Syvret. That would have served one of the strongest possible indications yet that the government wants to move forward into an era of transparency and honesty whilst at the same time demonstrating an element of humility, which has been so lacking in the eyes of the victims.
So I am clearly entitled to attach significance to this ruling by the Inquiry and am not surprised they have gone to some lengths to hide it as it is a perverse ruling and, in my view, undermines the independence of the Inquiry itself.

Furthermore, the document quotes
Specifically, McAlinden and Naylor argue, the inherent limitations of public inquiries, like narrow terms of reference, which are primarily focused on recommendations for law reform, ‘may impede the deeper systemic exploration of the context, causes and consequences of abuse that may be necessary in seeking a just process and outcomes for victims’.
A. McAlinden and B. Naylor, (2016) Reframing Public Inquiries as ‘Procedural Justice’ for Victims of Institutional Child Abuse: Towards a Hybrid Model of Justice, Sydney Law review, Vol.38, p.294.

This particular Inquiry narrowed its own terms of reference and then only went beyond them when it suited it. It ignored the term of reference which obliged it to go back to the States (parliament) before it set its rules and procedures in stone. It went outside its terms of reference in commenting on the Victoria College scandal but refused to comment on the significance of the illegal suspension of the Police Chief although this was a critical event in the attempted cover up of abuse and the effective shutting down of Operation Rectangle. There is no question but that this suspension was slap bang in the middle of its terms of reference. It also refused to follow up on the apparent abandonment of the scheduled police interview with person 737 in the immediate aftermath of the Police Chief's suspension.

Clearly the Inquiry itself baulked at any effort to pursue the trail into the financial sector, the reputation of which it put above its own purpose. And there is no point in saying to me that this was an alleged adult victim and so not relevant to the Inquiry. It was a classic demonstration of the psychology behind the whole cover up, and the Inquiry knew this.

So how could one trust this Inquiry to have due regard to the "deeper systematic exploration" referred to in the quote above.

Anyway, this post has gone on long enough. You can read the legal bods document yourself if you are sufficiently interested. It is worth the read and seems to me to represent some small awakening in the legal profession to the need to raise these issues in public if there is ever to be closure in this horrific area.

Just a parting footnote: I would not like to be taken as ignoring the efforts of Philip Sinel, single-handedly among the Jersey legal fraternity, to do precisely this at no small cost to himself.

20 comments:

Daren said...

Pointless commenting too much on this. Stuart Syvret made his decision in 2014 to snub the Jersey Care Inquiry despite people pleading with him to re-consider. He did not need legal representation but that debate is exhausted and his decision cannot be undone. The subject is dead.
Ask Senator Sam Mezec who is Children's Minister if things really worry you that much about the Website. Or the Greffe Dr Mark Egan who temporarily pulled the Jersey Care Inquiry Website following the 2018 Data Protection Law changes. The news people you have tweeted, JEP, Bailwick Express etc already know the technicalities of it all so maybe they can help.

Póló said...

Thank you Daren for your comment and the restrained terms in which you have cast it. I'm sure it represents a fairly widespread view among the Jersey population who are not particularly au fait with all the background to the Inquiry, the manner of its execution and subsequent follow up or lack thereof.

I am aware that many people, including survivors, were very put out at Stuart's decision not to be a witness at the Inquiry. No doubt his evidence, including his close involvement with survivors in his political role, would have been invaluable and could also have been published under privilege.

I too am sorry that this was not the case. But Stuart, whose empathy with victims and survivors cannot be questioned, had a very difficult personal decision to make. He had already been subject to abuse of process by the administration, having had his blog taken down and being himself incarcerated following the unjustifiable rejection of his public interest defence in a trumped up data protection case with which you are no doubt familiar. He appears, at that time, to have also been subject to a gag from the Royal Court, though the precise nature of this, if true, could not, by definition, be known unless he broke it.

The Inquiry was aware of all this and yet refused him legal representation/funding. It also refused to subpoena him. Had it acted otherwise he might have had the required protection and given evidence. Admittedly, an added complication was his view of the Potemkin/whitewashing nature of the Inquiry itself and he still might not have appeared as a witness.

However, I am looking at the Inquiry itself and I'm afraid it fell here at the first fence.

As far as the Greffe is concerned, I had very civilised and constructive dealings with the Office and the Greffier at the time of the publication of the report and would therefore be slow to critise any one person in this matter. I am not up to speed on the funding of the Office nor on the priority and resources dedicated to the updating and restoration of the Inquiry's web site. All I have to go on is the points I made in the post and the view that the Jersey establishment in general would wish the whole matter to just go away. That, after all, was the point in their finally and reluctantly allowing the establishment of an Inquiry in the first place.

I am grateful for your information that the Jersey Main Stream Media are fully up to speed on all of this, which, of course, makes their sins of omission all the greater.

Gordon Sharrock Adams said...

I have spent a lifetime defending Jersey's corrupt judiciary and doing everything I can to discredit abuse victims. I'm looking a bit stupid now because of Stuart being right about not giving evidence to the Jersey care inquiry but I will continue to spurt out my usual cr@p in the hope that fellow pedo protectors will take notice of me.

Alan Sharrock LeVesconte said...

I'll take notice of you Gordon because I am you but don't tell anyone. As per Polo Great blog and regards to Stuart.

Póló said...

A shower of Sharrocks I have seen.
Some are good and some are mean.
But Stella (Maris) is my light
And guide through all this awful shite.

voiceforchildren said...

Polo.

Another excellent Blog Posting and indeed revelation that some of our esteemed Lawyers believe Stuart was vindicated by refusing to put himself in further jeopardy by breaching his alleged super-injunction and not giving evidence to the COI. The paper you linked to makes a lot of very valid points and if we had any "journalists" over here they would explore the points being made. Unfortunately we only have "reporters" who don't report this kind of material as it is too close to the mark for the Establishment.

Just like the 4 ACPO Reports, the Chamberlain report (fresh and fleshed bones), Graham Power's interim defence case to the Wilts allegations, and other such documents one fears this paper too will be buried by the MSM.

The most recent local Social Survey shows that only 37% of the island trust the MSM. Burying this paper and continuing to keep Stuart Syvret silenced can only help the MSM maintain its 37% confidence of the public.

Anonymous said...

The paper is very interesting, if ‘somewhat lightweight’ as the legal colleague who e-mailed it around noted. ‘Jersey Situation’ aficionados here in the City saw that the blocking of Syvret from giving evidence was unlawful from the moment it happened. To expect a witness to give evidence when the witness will almost certainly be imprisoned for giving that evidence, whilst preventing that witness from having legal representation, is straightforward witness tampering. It is intimidation designed to either prevent the witness from giving evidence at all, or if the witness gave evidence, to greatly constrain any such testimony, that is omit key matters, or to frighten the witness to the point they may state falsehoods in an attempt to avoid further suppression /oppression by your Jersey establishment.

It is such conduct that causes a number of former allies of the Jersey establishment amongst City lawyers to lose all patience with the island’s leadership. The Jersey Situation is extraordinarily delicate. Not least because of the well documented involvement of a politicised and conflicted ‘judiciary’. The fate of what many here see as a mutually beneficial status quo hangs in the balance. Jersey had to demonstrate itself competent and fit for modern governance standards by manning up, and finally doing something with competence and ethics. The opportunity of a public inquiry represented the last chance in the last, last chance saloon. A number of professionals, lawyers and civil servants, here in London have gone out on a limb for Jersey colleagues over the last decade or so. Most never imagined this bedlam would still be going on these years later with clowns in the Jersey leadership pumping fuel into the fire by sabotaging the public inquiry.

It is not lost on informed observers here that the continuing intimidation and harassments targeted against Syvret, in contrast with the shielding of several criminal allies of the establishment, some individuals who are most economically described as low gutter scum, is a manifestation of the egos and reputations of idiots and the total failure of Jersey ‘to move forward into an era of transparency and honesty whilst at the same time demonstrating an element of humility’.

Anonymous said...

Polo, a comment you published from 'Daren' smacks to me of Jersey spin doctors. Especially this bit, 'Pointless commenting too much on this. Stuart Syvret made his decision in 2014 to snub the Jersey Care Inquiry despite people pleading with him to re-consider. He did not need legal representation but that debate is exhausted and his decision cannot be undone. The subject is dead.'

None of that is true. Firstly the failure of a statutory public inquiry to bring before it essential and central witnesses will always be very worthy of comment. After all what caused the child abuse disaster, so much damage to so many lives (mine included) was secrecy, intimidation and failure to do their job by the authorities. That the Jersey establishment, in spite of all the evidence and damaged souls, still couldn't even run a public inquiry properly shows that we must always keep commenting on these subjects.

Secondly, Stuart Syvret did not 'snub the public inquiry'. I know Stuart Syvret, and I know he, probably uniquely amongst past and current States members, proactively wrote to the public inquiry introducing himself and expressing his willingness to be a witness. But it was the public inquiry which snubbed him by refusing to give him legal representation. The situation is worse, worse than you can imagine. Stuart was refused legal representation whilst in contrast the man who raped me when I was a child had the benefit of the millions of pounds the Jersey government were spending on their own lawyers. My attacker was 'Mr K'.

I won't use his real name as I know that would be risky for you. But we all know, you know, the world knows who he is.

I was abused all over again by seeing 'Mr K' protected, whilst the one person in authority who ever believed me and helped me, Stuart, was denied basic legal representation. But I want the evil men to know I've gained strength. I'm not beaten. Like the other survivors, I'm not some animal to be cast aside. As long as we have breath in our bodies we're fighting on for justice.

Póló said...

Thank you Anonymous @ 20:51

You're not far off the mark in assuming that Daren is a Jersey spin doctor, but this would be dignifying his role unnecessarily; he is more a pawn of the régime on whom I posted some time back.

Thank you for entering the fray, I'm sure the whole area must be very painful for you and the absence of closure very frustrating.

You mentioned Mr. K (the abuser) and I'm sure many on the Island know who this golfing friend of the Bailiff is, though not living on the Island myself I don't. However your reference reminded me of another deficiency in the operation of the Inquiry to which I had drawn attention some while back.

"it has made no reference to the fact that in the oral session of Mr. K (an alleged abuser), reference is made to his written statement, but there is no sign of any such statement on the Inquiry's site. Mr. K, who is rumoured to be a friend of William Bailhache (currently Bailiff but then Attorney General), had a prosecution against him dropped by the Attorney General, on grounds that were subsequently shown to be false and so known by the Attorney General at that time. Surely in an atmosphere of lack of trust, precisely the wrong witness statement to be missing from the Inquiry's website?"
Source


voiceforchildren said...

Polo.

Mr. K'S oral evidence to the Inquiry certainly suggests that former Attorney General, and current Bailiff William Bailhache, has been economical with THE TRUTH.

Póló said...

Thank you Voice for the above comment.

I have just re-read the post at the link you provided and also the comments, the content of many of which is substantial. The comments as a whole constitute a good primer into what is wrong with the Jersey "justice" system.

A particularly worrying comment sets out how the Inquiry itself may have made an enormous contribution to the persistence on the island of the injustices it was dealing with. The combination of weak/non-existent cross examination and the immunity provisions of the Inquiry do appear to have the strong possibility of the Inquiry itself being turned into a "get out of jail card".

I had contradicted Stuart when he raised this possibility initially, but the comment linked below makes a very strong case for it being so.

Link

Anyone who has a genuine interest in this area would be well advised to read the post linked to by Voice above and all the comments. These not only provide a good understanding of what was going on but they also dramatically highlight the utter inadequacy of the Island's incompetent and complicit media.

voiceforchildren said...

Polo.

The link you provided does raise some very important issues not least why no Abuse Survivor has been represented by a local lawyer? Has their UK Lawyer advised them concerning possible investigations/charges of misconduct in a public office etc?

And as you rightly point out, why has none of the local MSM posed any of these questions? When has the local MSM ever critically challenged (besides smear campaigns against Lenny Harper and Graham Power) the Party Line of the Establishment concerning the Child Abuse?

Póló said...

I have been re-reading the transcript of Mr. K's appearance at the Inquiry and was struck by a number of things:

- Patrick Sadd, spent ages getting Mr. K to say he knew absolutely nothing about anything untoward going on in HDLG while he was there (other than the abuse which he read about but had no personal experience of). Sadd also concentrated on the lack of training for staff. He also touched on opportunities for being alone with children. But he seemed to take an age at it.

- Mr. K said he got by through, despite the absence of training, by following role models (one of which was Morag Jordan!)

- Sadd kept insisting this was not a trial (more's the pity), that it was not a cross examination and that Mr. K had nothing to fear.

- Mr. K was smoothly evasive throughout and twice got away with not answering questions on the basis that an answer would reveal something he didn't want revealed.

- Mr. K seems to have some problem with Lenny Harper banging him up prematurely and it looks like he got compensated for this and/or for an "unnecessary" 6.30am raid on his home.

- or perhaps the compensation referred to had something to do with Mr. K being sacked by his employer (presumably as a result of him being targeted by the police or because of allegations which were not dismissed speedily enough).

- Mr. K criticised the scale and wastefulness of Operation Rectangle which he said could have been carried out by two Sergeants and two police officers, according to that nice man, Mick Gradwell.

- Mr. K denied all the allegations seriatim and accused his accusers of being motivated by the prospect of compensation.

- I am keeping in mind that there was apparently enough evidence to arrest Mr. K and to submit the case to the AG who in the event refused to bring it to court on the basis of excuses which were subsequently found to have no basis in fact.

- If I interpolate the redactions correctly, Mr. K was a member of the same golf club as the AG but did not know him beyond a nodding acquaintance and never played golf with him.


Ayway, since I spent half a day reading it I thought I'd share some of it here.

James Sharrock Lewis said...

Hi Polo, I just wanted to say that me, Alan Sharrock LeVesconte and Gordon Sharrock Adams are your biggest fan. Keep up the good work.

Póló said...

As I was going up the stair
I met Our Jon who wasn't there.
He wasn't there again today.
I wish Our Jon would go away.

Anonymous said...

As far as Alan, Gordon, and James are concerned - I am with him - I'm a huge fan of your blog and keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Rumours reach my ears of the Jon you refer to. Apparently it’s already a ‘done deal’ that he’s going to be thrown to the wolves when the inevitable happens. My sources inform me that he labours under the delusion that he’s some kind of high power ‘operator’, assured of his invulnerability because of past protections he has been given. He does not realise that he is a very small time pawn. He has failed to head the clear ‘warning’ issued to him by the Jersey legislature finding against him and the resultant credibility destroying Report issued which named and shamed him. He has been earmarked in the first tranche of very low grade individuals who the Jersey establishment are going to have to prosecute. The ramping up of the inevitable is seen in the legal opinion paper reluctantly published by the Jersey Law Society concerning the unlawful exclusion of key witnesses by the Jersey public inquiry. Some of the less intelligent figures from Jersey’s establishment continue to protect Jon. Consequent of such interactions, some individuals are compromats, tied to his fate. It is recognised therefore that prosecuting him poses a number of complications. But as has been made plain to authorities on Jersey, that ‘is their problem’.

Anonymous said...

What report is the above comment referring to?

Anonymous said...

I think it is this report https://photopol.blogspot.com/2018/05/jon.html. Can somebody do a clickable link?

Póló said...

Anonymous @ 18:42

Clickable Link