Monday, 16 March 2020

Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec discusses Memorial for Abuse Survivors.

Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec

In November 2011 we published a Blog Posting entitled "STATE SPONSORED PAEDOPHILIA. It was a statement released by the former (possibly illegally) suspended Jersey Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM. The statement was released in response to a damming report published by the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Sub Panel headed up by former Deputy Trevor Pitman.

The Report was damming on the local State Media for its inaccurate and bias reporting regarding the financial management of Operation Rectangle (Child Abuse police Investigation). It  (the report) has been described as "the most defining report of its era" and a shortened version can be viewed HERE with the full report posted HERE.

The former Chief Police Officer's statement in response to the report included the words:

"The attempts to divert this debate into discussions concerning the trivia of expense claims, is a scandal of which all involved should be thoroughly ashamed."

Former SIO Lenny Harper

What he was referring to is the local media's role in reporting how much Senior Investigating Officer, (SIO) Lenny Harper, spent on a Prawn Cocktail in a London Restaurant and diverted the attention away from the public of the horrendous abuse that had been able to go on for decades and covered up by those in authority. The local media was never held to account for its disgraceful propaganda and the Scrutiny Sub Panel's report and recommendations sits on a shelf gathering dust (like most Scrutiny Reports).

Now, almost a decade later, we see history (the media) repeating itself in relation to the proposed memorial (as recommended by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry) for the Survivors of abuse. The media are attempting: "to divert this debate into discussions concerning the trivia of expense" giving at any opportunity to report how much the memorial is going to cost, and of course a great number of people have followed the media's lead/agenda and are experts on how better the money could be spent elsewhere. A lot of these online self proclaimed money experts seem to only have a view on the money but not on the abuse that was perpetrated, and covered up, for decades.

With that in mind we have decided to publish the interview with the Children's Minister in two parts. This is so those who aren't interested in a solution to bring Abuse Survivors together and find some kind of consensus regarding the memorial they can watch part one (below) and talk about the (media led) money.

For those who are interested in attempting to unite the survivors rather than keeping them divided by "taking a side," either for or against the memorial, then part two of the interview should interest you. Again we have seen, online, so many experts on what's best for Abuse Survivors or not. From our perspective we don't see Survivors as a "one size fit all" we see them as individuals with their own personal experiences. Taking a side does not help their cause, it keeps them divided, and therefore the old "divide a conquer" wins yet again.

Team Voice has been campaigning for Abuse Survivors for more than a decade now, we have published around 600 Blog Postings almost exclusively fighting their corner, exposing the lies and corruption of those in authority. We were instrumental in formulating the Terms of Reference for the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI). We have given evidence to numerous Scrutiny Panels both written and oral. We were asked to submit evidence to the IJCI which we did and appeared as a witness in support of Survivors. We were asked by Survivors to sit with them while they gave evidence anonymously at the IJCI public hearings which we happily did. Our support is for ALL Survivors and that means not taking a side when they are in disagreement with each other. Perhaps those who are "taking sides" might want to reflect and ask just how much good they are really doing? 

We are conscious that there are some well meaning supporters who are taking sides, and genuinely supporting the Survivors they have been in contact with, but we are also aware that there are "false prophets" among them who want to keep Survivors divided for their own duplicitous agenda so beware.

The Children's Minister has a hell of a task on his hands and is in a unenviable position in attempting to implement the recommendation(s) of the IJCI by commissioning some kind of a (sympathetic) memorial and at the same time not causing any further trauma to those Survivors who are against it. What he is looking for is solutions and not political point scoring and personal attacks from "the usual suspects." We have witnessed some online commenters hijacking this very sensitive, and emotive, subject by those who don't share Senator Mezec's politics in order to sling mud at him. To our way of thinking this is not about politics, it's not about the Minister, it's about the Survivors, what can be done to bring them together and do what's right by them and the good people of Jersey? Those trying to score political points, along with the media, should be holding their heads in shame and certainly are not on the side of the Survivors.

We are pleased to announce that the Minister has agreed to sit around a table with survivors, both for and against the memorial, in order to see if some kind of a consensus/agreement can be met and we will look to make that happen in the very near future.

A big thank you to the Minister for sitting down in front of a camera, on a Sunday afternoon, in order to try and navigate the public through this very controversial, sensitive and emotive subject.

We hope those with an interest in finding a solution, and uniting the Survivors, will watch part two of the interview (below) and hopefully have some constructive feedback on a positive way forward which we are sure the Minister would take onboard. For those with an interest in part one don't bother watching part two.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Advocate Philip Sinel Gives his Reaction to the (infamous) Speech of William Bailhache. (Part Two)

Advocate Philip Sinel.

In PART ONE of our in-depth, and exclusive, interview with local constitutional expert Advocate Philip Sinel we discussed (among much more) the infamous SPEECH given by the retiring Bailiff WILLIAM BAILHACHE  (Tuesday 8th of October 2019). Where it appeared the (now) former Bailiff carried out a VENDETTA for his brother (and former Bailiff)  PHILIP BAILHACHE. We reported how William Bailhache seemingly vindicated former Senior Investigating Officer (Operation Rectangle) Lenny Harper whose reaction to the apparent vindication we published HERE and HERE.

Part two is a direct continuation of part one where Advocate Sinel exclusively reveals that he is currently writing a book where "THE JERSEY SITUATION" will feature. He goes on to discuss his thoughts, and interactions with former Senator, and Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand who regular readers will recall ran a media campaign, and KANGAROO COURT, against (possibly illegally) suspended former Chief Police Officer GRAHAM POWER QPM. Advocate Sinel Did not recognise the politician/Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand to the Judicial Greffe/Magistrate Ian Le Marquand. Something the former Police Chief didn't recognise either where he once wrote (and buried by the Old Media):

"So what happened to Justice?

It has been said that a Fascist is a Liberal who has just been mugged. I am inclined to wonder whether an autocrat is a Magistrate who has been appointed Minister for Home Affairs.

There are two principles of Justice which most people know and respect. One is that a person who is not proved guilty is presumed innocent. Another is that judgement should not be reached until both sides of the case have been heard. As the Island’s Magistrate, Ian le Marquand was generally respected for upholding both principles. So what happened to him once he was “anointed” as the Minister for Home Affairs................................?" Posted HERE.

Regular readers will be aware that the then Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand possibly ILLEGALLY published parts of the discredited prosecution case against Mr. Power, and after saying he WOULD PUBLISH the DEFENCE CASE he never did. Perhaps he was stuck in the TOILET?

Former Health Minister and whistleblower Stuart Syvret 

Which brings us on to the Old Media who (interview below) Advocate Sinel does not hold in high regard. Despite ALL of the local Old Media reporting extensively on the discredited prosecution case against the former Chief Police Officer when former Health Minister, and whistleblower, Stuart Syvret LEAKED Mr. Power's defence case to BBC Jersey they buried it. Did not broadcast a single word of it. Mr. Syvret subsequently leaked it to the rest of the local Old Media who TO THIS DAY have not published a single word of it.

The entire Old Media set about discrediting Operation Rectangle, and by implication, the Survivors/Abusees. The Old Media churned out some of the most ridiculous stories given by Ian Le Marquand including that 65 children's teeth, some with root still attached which couldn't have been shed naturally all fell through the same gap in a floorboard. Mick Gradwell saying that the same teeth were left there for the Tooth-Fairy. The Old Media just churned that gumph out and never questioned a single word of it. Gradwell saying that the Cellars at Haut de la Garenne didn't even exist which VFC and former Deputy Bob Hill showed with VIDEO EVIDENCE that they did.

Advocate Sinel remembers what role the Old Media has played in turning against the Survivors and lying to the public, either by omission or otherwise. He cannot (in his words) "forgive or forget" what they did, and in most cases, continue to do, in lying to the public. Like most who have followed this dark cloud in Jersey's history Advocate Sinel has complete confidence in this (and other) Blog(s) who have been at the forefront of reporting the truth and steering away from the nonsense of Tooth-fairies, disappearing cellars and BATHS.

Untrusted Old Media

We believe that it was Operation Rectangle that exposed the local Old Media for its complicity with the Jersey establishment and why it now (according to the latest SOCIAL SURVEY) only enjoys the confidence of 37% of Islanders. We have seen an improvement in the reporting of the JEP since the new Editor has been in-post and hope this continues. The BBC and ITV/CTV remain (in our view) as untrustworthy, and complicit, as they ever were. We could put up literally dozens of links to the conspiracy theories and propaganda churned out by the Old Media but for those interested please click on the labels at the bottom of this post.

We would like to thank Advocate Sinel for the interview, for his confidence, and support, of our Blog and for continuing to speak up for the Survivors and good people of Jersey who just want the truth to be told. we also look forward to the publication of his book..................................................

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Advocate Philip Sinel Gives his Reaction to the (infamous) Speech of William Bailhache. (Part one)

Advocate Philip Sinel

On Tuesday 8th of October 2019 the retiring Bailiff, WILIAM BAILHACHE, abused his dual position as the Head of Judiciary, and Speaker of Parliament, to launch a political and personal attack on the Chairman (Francis Oldham QC) of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. He did this in the now infamous SPEECH and by abusing the "Communications by the presiding Officer" element of the States Sitting he could NOT (like any elected non-conflicted) be questioned on his speech/statement.

We called this speech a personal VENDETTA carried out on behalf of his brother (and former Bailiff) Philip Bailhache. Where William Bailhache used the words of Francis Oldham QC against her where she wrote of Philip Bailhache (about his equally infamous 2008 liberation Day speech) in her 2017 REPORT:


“We cannot accept that a politician and lawyer (Philip Bailhache) of his experience would inadvertently have made what he told the Inquiry was an “unfortunate juxtaposition” of words. We are sure that the way in which Jersey is perceived internationally matters greatly to him. His linking of Jersey’s reputation to the child abuse investigation was, we are satisfied, a grave political error,”


“I cannot accept that a lawyer of the Chairman’s experience would inadvertently have drafted such an unfortunate juxtaposition of words. I am sure that the way in which Jersey receives her panel’s report matters greatly to her. Her linkage of allegations of lack of fairness and transparency in decision taking, by the Bailiff to historic (sic) Child Abuse was a grave error.”

As readers would expect the William Bailhache statement/speech sent ripples (Tidal Waves) across New and Old Media and we sought the reactions of the Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec which we published HERE. The former Senior Investigating Officer of the Jersey Police Child Abuse Investigation (Operation Rectangle) Mr. Lenny Harper, who William Bailhache (unbelievably) seemingly couldn't praise enough for his investigation. We published Mr. Harper's response(s) HERE and HERE.

We also sought the reaction from local constitutional expert, and Advocate, Philip Sinel (video below), who in his trademark fashion told it how it is (from his point of view) and he didn't hold back. He made a few interesting observations, not least, that former Bailiff, and Senator, Philip Bailhache, was pushed, and didn't jump, from the role of Bailiff. It does seem a little bizarre that he allegedly "retired" as Bailiff through "ill health" but felt well enough to run an election CAMPAIGN. Not only run an election campaign but once elected becomes External Relations Minister jetting all over the world. But he felt too ill to be the Bailiff?

Former SIO Lenny Harper

As readers would expect, The Bailiff's apparent total VINDICATION of former Senior Investigating Officer, Lenny Harper, and indeed Operation Rectangle, does not tally-up with his actions/in-actions during his time as AG (during Rectangle) and Advocate Sinel points a number of these out. Including, apparently, having the former Police Chief, Graham Power QPM unsuccessfully criminally investigated as part of the Curtis Warren "car bugging incident" which we reported on HERE, and HERE. We further Exclusively published the BARTON REPORT which was the disciplinary investigation into the cops involved in the Curtis Warren case. The cops were all exonerated but the Law Offices' Department were left with some very uncomfortable questions to answer.

Quote from Barton Report:

"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

Further discussed in part one of this interview is the burning question as to why no Jersey Law Firm has ever taken up the cause for Abuse Survivors? Advocate Sinel HAS given (pro bono) advice to survivors where he can, but as he says in the interview, this is not his legal expertise and there ARE Law firms/lawyers who do specialise in this field yet Survivors have to rely, pretty much one ONE Lawyer from the UK, Alan Collins.

Current Bailiff Tim Le Cocq

We ask Advocate Philip sinel, among much more, is it the fact that Crown Offices' SG/AG/Deputy Bailiff/Bailiff and the Law Offices Department act they way they do because they are totally unaccountable? Is "THE JERSEY SITUATION" because of The Bailhache Brothers or because of the Office of Bailiff itself? Are things going to be any different under the rein of newly BUGGINSESS TURN SYSTEM OF PROMOTION elected Bailiff Tim Le Cocq? Can the UK legislate for Jersey? Whose "interests" are the Lieutenant Governors looking after? We have previously SUGGESTED that he be called as a witness to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. (That never happened)

We hope that readers with an interest in "The Jersey situation" or "The Jersey Way" or local constitutional issues find this interview of interest.

Part two coming soon..........................................

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Cow and Gate-gate: Connétable John Le Bailly's “Good Authority” is revealed.

Constable John Le Bailly

Islanders (of Jersey) cannot have escaped the viral speech given, in the States Chamber, by St. Mary Constable John Le Bailly (Thursday 24th October 2018). His speech came as part of a debate concerning "Employment (Jersey) Law 2003: review of parental leave rights amendments."

We have, for the purpose of this Blog Posting, and the historic record, published the relevant part of the speech to YouTube which can be viewed HERE. The relevant part being where he said he;"had it on good authority that this current breastfeeding thing is a fad." 

Regular readers will be aware of the fine character Lord Reginald Hamilton Rawley Tooting-Jones III who has graced this Blog on a number of occasions including "Celebrating Democracy Day JERSEY STYLE, ""A Guest Posting from Lord Reginald Hamilton Rawley Tooting-Jones III JURAT ELECTION" and "Lord Reginald's New Year's Message 2017."

Well we are pleased to say he has made a very welcome return!

In this exclusive guest posting by our very good friend, Lord Reginald Hamilton Rawley Tooting-Jones III, the Chairman of the JUP (Jersey Ultra-Conservative Party) reveals who was the "good authority" behind John Le Bailly’s (now infamous) “Breastfeeding fad” comments.

Speaking exclusively to Team Voice, he said:

"We were at The Club when me, Rolly and a few others started telling John (Le Bailly) about Breastfeeding. He had never heard of it, and so we told him it was brand new... a bit of a fad if you like, and that it would never catch on. Well, poor old John believed us."

"He wasn’t sure at first and asked how small humans were normally fed, as he could not remember anything from his childhood after the incident with the female roofer, when he and her fell off the roof after a particularly technical job, and he suffered a severe concussion."

"Anyway, we said that in the past it was the norm for most babies to be suckled by wild animals, either by wolves, as in the case with Romulus and Remus, or by apes, as with Tarzan. But, for health and safety reasons, it was now considered best practice to use Cow and Gate baby products."

Lord Reg went on to say that they were chatting about this ahead of the so-called family friendly legislation (or “business hostile” legislation, as the JUP call it) that the Social Security Minister was bringing forward.

"We did not expect him to actually say it in the Assembly, although we were rolling around in fits of merriment at the lodge when we watched it on the direct interweb and The Facebooks broadcast."

Lord Reg, who has recently come back from a safari and business trip in Rhodesia, said that he was particularly pleased with the "amazing free publicity" that has now been given world-wide to Cow and Gate, in which he is a major investor.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Exclusive: Lenny Harper Responds to William Bailhache's Political Attack on Care Inquiry. (Part Two)

Former SIO/DCO Lenny Harper

Part two of our Exclusive interview with former Senior Investigating Officer (Operation Rectangle) and Deputy Chief Police Officer, Lenny Harper, is a direct continuation of Part One as published HERE.

In part one we discussed Mr. Harper's reaction to the political speech, and apparent vendetta, carried out by retiring Bailiff William Bailhache which has received widespread criticism from across the political divide. Video of the speech can be viewed HERE and the Blog written by former Jersey politician can be viewed HERE.

In this concluding part two we discuss the making of a number of documentaries, a film and two books (that we are aware of) concerning "The Jersey Situation" and Mr. Harper's involvement/participation (or not) in there making. We also discuss the role played by the local Old Media (formerly known as MSM) during the Operation Rectangle era and subsequent events. More specifically we discuss the role played by New Media (formerly known as Social Media) and in particular the (or some) Blogs.

Regular readers will be aware that Mr. Harper released a Press Statement in June 2017 just before the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry (IJCI) published its first damming REPORT. Mr Harper's statement explained why he took the decision NOT to engage with the local Old Media but WOULD engage with the National Media and New Media where he wrote:

"It was perhaps an unfortunate “oversight” that the Inquiry Terms of Reference did not include how the Jersey mainstream media was able to manipulate public opinion to try and turn it against the survivors and those acting on their behalf.

For all of these reasons and more, I have decided before knowing what is contained in the report, and no matter what is, that I will not be speaking to the mainstream media in Jersey. Should the public journalists that I have mentioned above wish to speak to me I will of course agree to do so. I will also be happy to speak to United Kingdom media sources." The Press Statement can be read in full HERE.


We (VFC) were one of these "Public Journalists" mentioned and subsequently interviewed Mr. Harper HERE. The Blogs have been, for years, marginalised by the local Old Media, pedophiles and "The Jersey Way" protectors. We have been called "conspiracy theorists" and trouble makers trying to trash Jersey's reputation. Of course it is not the Bloggers who have reported that 65 children's teeth (some with root still attached and could not have been shed naturally) were left (according to Mick Gradwell) for the Tooth Fairy up at Haute de la Garenne or (according to Ian Le Marquand) they all fell out of children's mouths in the exact same place and fell through a gap in a floorboard. We published the official document(s) of the multiple child remains unearthed at HAUT DE LA GARENNE. When Mick Gradwell, and the Old Media, reported that the cellars didn't exist at Haut de la Garenne we, along with former Deputy BOB HILL reported, with video evidence, the truth in that the cellars DID EXIST. Indeed we have torn to pieces the "official line" given by the Establishment and the Old Media not least in this single BLOG POSTING.

It should also be noted that had it not been for the Blogs, and in particular, Rico Sorda, we might never have found out about the apparent lies told, in the States Assembly, by the then Home affairs Minister, Andrew Lewis during the  (possibly illegal) suspension of former Police Chief Graham Power. Team Voice (notably NOT the Old Media) were leaked the transcripts of the (not so) secret States Debate and published by Rico HERE. Not to mention it was the Blogs, or more significantly Rico Sorda, who first exposed Mick Gradwell for LEAKING confidential police information (while Operation Rectangle was still a live investigation) to a "journalist" with a history of supporting convicted pedophiles.

It is for these reasons we have gained the trust of Survivors and Whistleblowers and indeed our Blogs are used as an essential research archive for National journalists/filmmakers/authors and those with an interest in the historic record of "THE JERSEY SITUATION."

Mr. Harper, and former Police GRAHAM POWER QPM, along with the former Chief Minister IAN GORST acknowledge the work done by this Blog. As does the current Chief Minister JOHN LE FONDRE and the Jersey Independent CARE INQUIRY. Our track record is proven and acknowledged by those, at the forefront of Operation Rectangle, and by those at its fall-out.

Advocate Philip Sinel

In the video below, as well as his support for the Blogs, Mr. Harper discusses his fond (or otherwise) memories of his time in Jersey. How the "power system is handed down from one crony to another and in some cases one brother to another." This is a term referred to as "bugginses turn system of promotion" by Advocate Philip Sinel in his submission to the CARSWELL REVIEW.

We have been granted an interview with Advocate Sinel to get his reaction to William Bailhache's apparent VENDETTA carried out against the IJCI (and by implication the Survivors) for his brother, and former Bailiff, ("bugginses turn system of promotion") Philip Bailhache. We hope to do the interview some time this week.

In the meantime we thank Mr. Harper, not only for the interview and his support of the Blogs, but after being in retirement for around eleven years still not giving up on the Survivors, and the truth, by speaking up/out whenever asked by a reputable/credible media.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Exclusive: Lenny Harper Responds to William Bailhache's Political Attack on Care Inquiry. (Part one)

Former SIO/DCO Lenny Harper

Further to our PREVIOUS POST where we demonstrated how the outgoing Bailiff, William Bailhache, looked to have carried out a vendetta against the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry for his brother, former Bailiff Philip Bailhache. The alleged vendetta was carried out as part of a speech given by Bailhache where he abused his dual position in the States Assembly. Video of the speech can be viewed HERE. During that same speech the out-going Bailiff totally, and unequivocally, vindicated the former Senior Investigating Officer of Jersey's biggest ever Child Abuse Investigation Mr. Lenny Harper.

Long-time readers will know that William Bailhache was the Attorney General during the Police's Child Abuse Investigation (Operation Rectangle) and refused to bring many cases to court. Indeed, in June 2009 he published a PRESS STATEMENT with his so-called "reasons" for NOT doing so. Long-time readers will also know that not all of those "reasons" stood up to just the slightest scrutiny.

From his Press Statement above:

"In another case, the complainant described sustaining 300 to 400 cigarette burn marks and a branding which required a skin graft, but there is no physical sign of any injury................."

But then we have (From the transcripts of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry) testimony from: "a medical report prepared by a Jason Payne-James."

"On examination of his back there were numerous pale mature scars generally less than ... in size down to about [so much] in size. They extended across [an area of the back], they were in no fixed pattern and of no particular shape. They represent areas of skin that have sustained damage of an extent enough to result in residual scars. Causes could include cigarette burns, insect bites, chickenpox (although other lesions were not noted elsewhere) ..."

These transcripts, and further demonstration that William Bailhache's "reasons" for not prosecuting this particular alleged prolific pedophile can, and should be read HERE.

Why do we bring this up? Because although William Bailhache in his political speech attacking the Care Inquiry (and by implication the Survivors) he also unequivocally VINDICATED Lenny Harper and Operation Rectangle. We asked Mr. Harper if he accepted this vindication (video below) and he told us "actions" speak louder than words." It's all very well the Bailiff saying what a great job Mr. Harper did (10 years later) but what has the "actions" of the Bailiff been? We reported back in 2011 that the Survivors/public were offered a mere handful of SHOW TRIALS while those connected people remained, and remain to this day, protected (The Jersey Way).

Old Media

Of course the fact that Mr. Harper, and Operation Rectangle, were totally, and unequivocally, vindicated by William Bailhache has NOT (to the best of our knowledge) been broadcast/published by any of the local Old Media (formerly known as MSM). Jersey's Old Media has gone out of its way to portray Mr. Harper as the bad guy and it has only ever been the Bloggers, through the years, who have tried adding balance to the Old Media's propaganda and given a voice to those who have been victims of the Old Media. This has included Survivors, Mr. Harper, Graham Power QPM and many others. The Old Media are in a dilemma now because after doing everything it has to discredit Lenny Harper and his Team involved with Operation Rectangle, now the out-going Bailiff (and former AG) Praises/vindicates Mr. Harper and his investigation. It would be difficult for the Old Media to report this because of its trashing of Mr. Harper and his investigation all through the years without looking inadequate (at best) or complicit (at worse).

As far as we are aware we are the only media to report the Bailiff's vindication of Mr. Harper and we ARE the only media to ask him for his reaction. Again regular readers will know that the Old Media ran lots of stories about Mr. Haper, and how much he spent on a Prawn Cocktail, yet NONE of them had the decency, or professional journalistic courtesy to either ask him his side of the story, or offer him any kind of right of reply.

The way the local Old Media went about its business concerning its reporting of Mr. Harper, and related issues, was exposed in what has been described as "The most defining Report of its Era." That report was published by former Deputy TREVOR PITMAN'S Scrutiny Sub Panel and can be read (the short version) HERE and in its entirety HERE.

We are thankful for Mr. Harper's continued support (he retired more than 11 years ago) for the Survivors and for the truth to be told. We are grateful for the interview in order to keep the historic records accurate also.

Part two of this interview will be looking a little deeper into the roles played by Old and New Media over the years concerning Operation Rectangle, the Care Inquiry, and much more.

Mr. Harper (in the interview) basically sums up the irony of William Bailhache's political speech in one quote:

"For someone  who was trying to deny the existence of "The Jersey Way" he made a very good job of actually proving its alive, well and kicking."

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

William Bailhache carries out a Vendetta for his Brother?

Bailiff William Bailhache

Yesterday (Tues 8th October 2019) in a (not so) unprecedented POLITICAL speech by the outgoing Bailiff, William Bailhache, he  attacked the report of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry. He used the "Communications by the Presiding Officer and other announcements" tool to make this attack  knowing he wouldn't, or couldn't, be questioned on his statement like an elected member would. This was a total abuse of his office/position and further demonstrates the need for a separation of powers. The speech can, and should be listened to HERE.

A number (4 out of 49) politicians either objected to contents of the speech or asked that he would take questions on it to which he refused. The four principled politicians were Deputy Mike Higgins, Deputy Montfort Tadier, Constable Simon Crowcroft and Children's Minister senator Sam Mezec.

It is the opinion of VFC that the Bailiff's speech was a vendetta against the IJCI Chair, Francis Oldham QC, for calling his brother (former Bailiff Philip Bailhache) out in her 2017 report. Regular readers will be aware that in 2008 the then Bailiff Philip Bailhache gave the infamous (political) Liberation Day speech which included the words:

"All child abuse, wherever it happens, is scandalous, but it is the unjustified and remorseless denigration of Jersey and her people that is the real scandal"
He tried to tell the IJCI that his terminology was "an “unfortunate juxtaposition” of words." That people might interpret what he was saying was that the real criminals were the journalists challenging Jersey and her people and that is not what he meant.

Francis Oldham QC wrote in her 2017 report:

“We cannot accept that a politician and lawyer (Philip Bailhache) of his experience would inadvertently have made what he told the Inquiry was an “unfortunate juxtaposition” of words. We are sure that the way in which Jersey is perceived internationally matters greatly to him. His linking of Jersey’s reputation to the child abuse investigation was, we are satisfied, a grave political error,”

Then when you compare, and contrast, what William Bailhache said in his anti democratic political speech in the States Chamber yesterday one can see that it is almost identical to what Francis Oldham QC wrote about his brother in her 2017 report:

“I cannot accept that a lawyer of the Chairman’s experience would inadvertently have drafted such an unfortunate juxtaposition of words. I am sure that the way in which Jersey receives her panel’s report matters greatly to her. Her linkage of allegations of lack of fairness and transparency in decision taking, by the Bailiff to historic (sic) Child Abuse was a grave error.”

This, on the face of it, looks like a spiteful, petty, vendetta and an attack on Francis Oldham QC and does William Bailhache no favours at all. Abusing his position to make the speech in the first place also does him, and the office of Bailiff, no favours either and adds more weight to the argument that the dual role of the Bailiff should be abolished.

Readers/viewers really ought to watch the spectacle that was his SPEECH and his refusal to take any questions from States Members. Even those who support the dual role of the Bailiff must have difficulty in defending this. Indeed according to Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mezec, (below) some supporters do concede it is indefensible.

Senator Mezec drafted his own speech, in answer to the Bailiff's speech, but was refused permission to present it in the States by..........................The Bailiff! This just makes even more off a mockery of our so-called "democracy" where an unelected, unaccountable, Member of the parliament can make a political speech, refuse to answer any questions on it and then, not only has the power to, but prevents a democratically elected, and accountable Member of the States making a speech.

We asked the Children's Minister for an interview to discuss yesterday's shenanigans in the States which he agreed to for which we are grateful. What is clear in the interview is that the Bailiff has caused further damage, not only to the office of Bailiff/dual role, but to the reputation of the island as a whole and potentially damaged any hard earned trust the government might have been gaining from Survivors of abuse while attempting to implement the IJCI recommendations.

Among much more the Children's Minister tells us (interview below) that if this wasn't the Bailiff's last States Sitting before he retires then Senator Mezec, rather that drafting his own statement, he would have been drafting a vote of no confidence.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series where we have an exclusive interview with former Deputy Chief Officer, and Senior Investigating Officer, of the Police Investigation (Operation Rectangle) into the decades of Child Abuse Mr. Lenny Harper. Who himself was unequivocally VINDICATED by the Bailiff. We get Mr. Harper's reaction to this and much more.............

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Two Year Review. (Part 2)

IJCI Panel

On the 25th September 2019 we published PART ONE of our series concerning the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry's (IJCI) second damming REPORT into the "care" of children in Jersey. In our previous posting we said:

"In the coming weeks we intend on publishing excerpts of the Report which we think will be of interest to our readers/viewers."


"In part two of this series we will publish the interview with Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre, and Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mezec."

Below is that interview, and among other topics, we discuss the two paragraphs, from the IJCI second report and they are:

Attorney General Robert McRae

18  "There are two aspects of the new Children’s Commissioner legislation which cause us concern. First, it is essential that the Commissioner should have access to all documentation she requires in pursuit of any inquiry. Amendments to the legislation allowed legal advice given by the Law Officers Department to be withheld from the Commissioner, albeit with a provision that the Attorney General could make such advice available if he believed it to be in the public interest, having first applied a public interest test. Whilst we fully understand the importance of the convention that legal advice is not disclosed, we consider that, in setting the arrangement as it now stands, there is a real likelihood of suspicion being generated that critical matters are being covered up and that the “Jersey Way” is being perpetuated. We will come back to the “Jersey Way” later, but suffice to say, arrangements which could be seen to perpetuate this undermining belief should be avoided. To that end, we recommend that the presumption by the Law Officers Department should be framed to indicate that relevant legal advice will be made available to the Commissioner and withheld only where a public interest test is met for non-disclosure. This would symbolise a willingness to be open and transparent in most circumstances, since we believe that there should be few circumstances where it would not be appropriate to let the Commissioner have sight of legal advice, given the very direct impact such advice can have on the long-term outcome for a child." 

Former (possibly illegally suspended) Chief of Police Graham Power QPM

21 "Whilst we would hope that it never becomes necessary to remove a Children’s Commissioner from post, it is nonetheless vital that robust arrangements are in place should the need arise. This is important for the protection of the office but also for the protection of the Commissioner, so that she can undertake her duties without fear of repercussions. The current provision in legislation for ending the appointment of a commissioner is for the Chief Minister and the President of the Chairmen’s Committee to bring forward a proposal to that effect, which would be presented to a sitting of the States Assembly held in-camera. Whilst the Commissioner would have a right to make written representations to the Assembly, we consider it essential that she should be entitled to make representations in person during the in-camera session. We accept that on matters of this nature, regard must be given to protecting the privacy of the Commissioner, hence the need for proceedings to take place in a private session. We consider the Commissioner should also have the right to waive that facility in favour of an open public consideration. Our concern here is to ensure that circumstances, similar to those which pertained at the time of the removal from office of the former Chief Officer of Police, are not replicated. Jersey must demonstrate that it will deal with such a matter in ways which will evidence fairness and as much transparency as possible. We therefore recommend that in reviewing the law, consideration be given to achieving the objective of fully demonstrable fairness in any proceedings to remove a Children’s Commissioner from office."

Readers/viewers will note from the above two paragraphs that "The Jersey Way" remains prevalent which is mentioned further in the report and we will look to explore in more detail as part of this series. 

Regular readers/viewers will also know that following the (possibly illegal) suspension of the former Police Chief, the then Home Affairs Minister, Ian Le Marquand, possibly broke the law by publishing a redacted version of the prosecution case made against the former Chief Police Officer. Indeed he went on a media roadshow with it and conducted his own KANGAROO COURT with it. Graham Power subsequently wrote his interim DEFENCE CASE to the Wiltshire Constabulary's prosecution case which Ian Le Marquand refused to publish. It was then leaked to The BBC, who along with the rest of the Old Media, had been broadcasting/publishing parts of the prosecution case, but despite being leaked the defence case decided to BURY IT. It was subsequently leaked to the rest of the Island's Old Media who too decided to bury it. The prosecution case is published on the States of Jersey website and STILL the defence case is only published on THIS BLOG. To this day NONE of the local Old Media (to the best of our knowledge) have reported a single word of it. Equally as unjust the defence case does NOT sit alongside the prosecution case on the States website.

During the interview with the Chief Minister/Children's Minister (below) I reminded the Chief Minister that the last time WE SPOKE  (over a year ago) he said he would "look in to it" (the injustice of having the prosecution case on the State website and not the defence case) and would "get back to me." He hadn't/hasn't got back to me. He has once more assured me that he "will look into it."

As mentioned in the video interview; are we just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic? The way Jersey is constructed, and particularly the many hats worn by the (conflicted) Attorney General's Office, is the biggest problem? No matter what avenues one goes down they all seem to lead to the door of the AG. This too is discussed in the video interview. We/regular readers will know that not all  (if any) AG's have been as acquainted with the truth as one would HOPE. 

The fact that the AG's Office seek to withhold legal advice from the Children's commissioner is 
(or could be seen as) The Jersey Way. Similarly the secretive way the Children's Commissioner can be gotten rid of is (or can be seen as) The Jersey Way. Readers/viewers, after watching the interview, will have to make up their mind as to whether assurances/answers given by the Chief Minister, and Children's Minister, are enough to keep today's/tomorrow's children, and whistleblowers, safe?

As we did, in PART ONE of this series, we asked the Chief Minister and Children's Minister if all the positive parts of the damming REPORT were overshadowed by a (distraught) lady making (at the IJCI presentation) "a number of allegations against Children's Services/Social Workers and the "care" of children, by the State, in General. Claiming continued cover-ups, being stonewalled and her child(ren), along with herself being failed by a system that's trying to protect itself."

Deputy Mike Higgins

We are aware that due to the intervention of Deputy Mike Higgins that the lady's case is (finally) being looked at. This is a case that we might return to on the Blog but things do look to be going in a more positive direction than what they were.

On a slightly more positive note we (VFC/Bloggers/New Media) are pleased for the recognition, and SUPPORT, of the IJCI and we are also pleased to have that same support (mentioned in video interview) from the Chief Minister and Children's Minister who we thank for this interview.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

September 28th 2019 Reform Day Anniversary.

Tom Gruchy

Today saw the 250th Anniversary of Jersey Reform Day which was (finally) acknowledged and celebrated in the Royal Square, the Royal Court and the States Chamber. This was the day that Tom Gruchy and hundreds of Islanders, in 1769, stormed the corrupt Royal Court (while it was in session) and demanded democratic changes. There were local bands playing, including Badlabecques who sang/sing in the native tongue of Jerrias, speeches, and tours of the Courts and States Chambers.

The day was (finally) recognised because of a  successful proposition brought to the States (Island's Parliament) by former Deputy TREVOR PITMAN back in 2012. For more history of the day (September 28th 1769) please look HERE where local historian, and Human Rights Campaigner Mike Dun alias "TOM GRUCHY" talks us through some of the events leading up to the riot.

Today's tour of the Royal Court and States Chambers building started with a presentation from PPC Chairman and St. Helier Deputy Russell Labey (video below) where he showed the audience a short film explaining the history of the day. He further gave (well deserved) credit to Mike Dun for the years of work/research he has accrued on the subject.

It was an informative day out, and those involved in making it happen should be congratulated. From what I can gather it was Russell Labey, Assistant Economic Development Minister Montfort Tadier, the Bailiff's Office (yeah I know), and the States Greffe. It should be said that this type of event (opening up the States Chambers and Royal Court) should be done more often. The tour I went on was very well attended and the Establishment, from what I can gather, is not entirely hostile to the idea!

Just a short Blog for today as we believe most is described in the below video. We hope readers/viewers watch the video that marks this momentous day in Jersey's history. (Even though Tom Gruchy is probably spinning in his grave.)

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Two Year Review. (Part 1)

IJCI Panel

Two days ago (23rd September 2019) saw the publication/presentation of the IJCI two year review REPORT. It was presented at St.Paul's centre by former Panel Member Francis Oldham QC and filmed in its entirety (approx 1h 15mins) by VFC and others. Should readers/viewers wish to see the presentation let us know and if there is sufficient interest we will upload it to YouTube.

The review/report was to gauge the progress (or otherwise) of the eight RECOMMENDATIONS made in its original damming REPORT.  From what we have read of the report it does seem fairly balanced in that it is critical and complimentary but we are not sure of how equal a measure.

Team Voice would like firstly and foremost to pay tribute to the brave Survivors who could muster up the courage to tell their story one more time to this Panel and finally be believed. The Inquiry did not get the Survivors any justice and that could be down to the fact that "JUSTICE" doesn't exist in Jersey. Your evidence is there for all to see and for the authorities who failed you to wallow in shame, the Inquiry vindicated you. Hopefully one day your abusers WILL face that justice.

We would also like to give a special mention to a special lady, and heroic Survivor, who sadly lost her life on the 18th of December 2015 Dannie Jarman. Dannie gave her evidence to the Inquiry, with the support of Rico Sorda and two other courageous ladies and stalwarts of fighting for Survivors Jill Gracia and Carrie Modral. We are sorry, firstly for the tragic and untimely loss of Dannie, and sorry she never got to see the Inquiry's final report(s).

Liz Mackean

Tribute was payed by the Panel to a brave/fearless journalist who was working with/for the Inquiry Panel until her untimely death LIZ MACKEAN. Liz suffered a fatal stroke and her death was announced on 18th August 2017. Readers should click on the link above to appreciate her journalistic integrity and fearless journalism in attempting to out Jimmy Savile. On principal she resigned from The BBC who chose to protect Britain's most prolific paedophile.

Following the address from the Panel Chair, Francis Oldham QC, VFC was granted an interview with Panel Member Sandy Cameron who we have interviewed PREVIOUSLY. We discussed the latest set of recommendations from the Panel, whether Jersey is a safer place as a result of the Panel's recommendations, were any positive changes, supposedly made by the implementation of some recommendations overshadowed by a lady in the audience who proclaimed "The Jersey Way" is still prevalent on the Island?

The lady made a number of allegations against Children's Services/Social Workers and the "care" of children, by the State, in General. Claiming continued cover-ups, being stonewalled and her child(ren), along with herself being failed by a system that's trying to protect itself.

You could hear in the lady's voice and see in her demeanour that she was at the end of her tether, possibly after being sent from pillar to post and coming up against brick walls. We are aware that Deputy Mike Higgins is helping her with her case and appears to be the only politician/person willing to help or listen to her. We believe that after Deputy Higgins's involvement the lady now has a meeting organised with Children's Minister Senator Sam Mezec. We are told that she will only attend if Deputy Higgins is present. We filmed around eight minutes of the lady's outburst but have decided for the time being NOT to publish the film footage until we can edit it to a standard where her family members/service users can't be identified. We might follow up on this case and will keep readers/viewers posted. It certainly does suggest she, and her family, are victims of "The Jersey Way."


Among other subjects discussed in the interview, including "The Jersey Way" secrecy of the Attorney General's Office, the possible more secrecy from the new role being discussed of an Ombudsman, we discussed the role of Bloggers/New Media in holding power to account. We are humbled to learn that the Panel is supportive of our work and recognises "the key role played (by New Media) in exposing key issues in Jersey." Bloggers/New Media are also referred to favourably (and quoted) in the latest Review/Report:

"The events that gave rise to the investigations of‘Operation Rectangle’ and led to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, fostered the growth of social media commentators in Jersey who determinedly advocated for victims and for transparency in governmental and criminal justice operations and continue to do so vigorously."

VFC was also humbled to be invited, by the Panel, to meet for an informal chat and a coffee, the day after the presentation (yesterday) of its Report/Review. The invitation was gratefully accepted where we were able to chat freely about our agreements/disagreements, mutual respect in certain areas, and the need for New Media/Campaigners to continue being a voice for the voiceless. We thank the Panel for its continued support.

In the coming weeks we intend on publishing excerpts of the Report which we think will be of interest to our readers/viewers.

In part two of this series we will publish the interview with Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre, and Children's Minister, Senator Sam Mezec.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Tom Gruchy Speaks. Jersey Reform Day 1769-2019

Tom Gruchy

This Saturday 28th September 2019 marks the 250th Anniversary of the day a man called Tom Gruchy and a few hundred islanders overthrew the corrupt Royal Court in what has since been labelled (by the Establishment and Old Media) "The Corn Riots."

Two years ago VFC interviewed local Blogger, historian, and Human Rights Campaigner Mike Dun HERE. We discussed the events leading up to the day 28th September 1769 and it's consequences for modern day political life in Jersey and much more. Mike Dun's own BLOGSITE is a dedication to Tom Gruchy.

In 2012 former Deputy Trevor Pitman brought a proposition to the States, which was passed, and as we wrote back in 2017 (above link): "Unfortunately the government has not honoured its commitment to celebrate this historic event and appears to have buried this uncomfortable part of Jersey's history. (sound FAMILIAR)?"

As this is the 250th Anniversary of the storming of the corrupt Royal Court, the government has been forced (7 years after former Deputy Trevor Pitman's proposition was passed) to publicly recognise the day. According to the CROWD FUND set up by Assistant Economic Development Minister, Deputy Montfort Tadier:

"Live music and historical talks will be taking place in Royal Square between 11:30am -4pm on Saturday 28th September, but we need your help to make it a success."

It seems there isn't a spare £500 laying around to put this event on. At time of publication of this Blog Posting only £10 (from two donations) had been accrued. It is clear the Establishment don't want the Jersey public to know the true history of September 28 1769 and we argue that there shouldn't even be a crowd funding page. Indeed it was the corrupt Bailiffs' Office (of the time) who were responsible for the events of that date and we believe (as mentioned in the interview below) that the Bailiff's Office could, or should, be funding the events of this coming Saturday. We know that won't be happening so if anyone feels they are able to donate a few quid then please do.

We encourage readers to watch the interview in its entirety as it is extremely informative and a history lesson that you won't be getting in schools (as agreed in Deputy Pitman's proposition) and won't be reading/hearing about in the local Old Media. It's a version of history those in power (Crown Offices'/Old Media) would rather keep quiet.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

New (and some) old Media appear at Child Abuse Panel Review. (Transcripts)

On the 5th June 2019 we published THIS POSTING reporting on the hearing of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry Panel (IJCI). It was a hearing of Old and New Media discussing a number of subjects (contained in above link). Regular readers will be aware that we were led to believe by the IJCI that we would be permitted to film the Hearing. It went back on its word and prohibited filming of the "public" event.

All Island Old Media, alongside New Media, RICO SORDA, TOM GRUCHY,  and VFC were invited. Only the JEP and the BAILIWICK EXPRESS had the courage to turn up and defend its reporting (or not) during the Operation Rectangle era and subsequently. The BBC and ITV/CTV lacked that courage and didn't turn up (as explained HERE)

As reported previously by VFC the hearing/meeting was, on the whole, amicable. Of course we (Old Media/New Media) did not agree on everything but if nothing else the IJCI managed to get (some of) us around the table and iron out some of our differences and hopefully help us all to understand each others perspectives a little better.

In our POSTING of the 5th June 2019 we wrote: "We will look to publish the transcript of the Hearing as soon as it becomes available."

We can now exclusively report that the transcripts of that hearing have now been published and can be viewed HERE. Indeed ALL transcripts of the IJCI'S Public Discussions between the 21st - 24th May 2019 can be viewed from HERE.

Due to the distrust of Jersey authorities, in that they might take the transcripts off-line, (again) we have decided to publish them (the Media Hearing) in full so they will remain accessible until the so-called corrupt Attorney General's Office gets this Blog closed down.

IJCI Panel.


FO = Francis Oldham QC (Panel Chair)

SC = Sandy Cameron (Panel Member)

AL = Alyson Leslie (Panel Member)

JF = James Filleul (Bailiwick Express/Old Media)

RS = Rico Sorda (Blogger/New Media)

AS = Andy Sibcy (JEP/Old Media)

MD = Mike Dun aka "Tom Gruchy" (Blogger/New Media)

NM = Neil McMurray (Blogger/New Media)

ITV/CTV = Absent.

BBC = Absent.

Session Participants James Filleul Andy Sibcy Rico Sorda Neil McMurray Mike Dun
FO: Good morning, everyone. To those in the hall as well, good morning. Within this session, as you know, it is seeking the assistance of the media, mindful of what has happened since the report reported on 3rd July 2017. The purpose of us being here, the Panel, is a review. We are not revisiting matters that fell within the original terms of reference. We are not discussing individual cases, for reasons I am sure you will all understand. The focus for today is on the period 2017 to date, to identify what progress has been made in that period since the eight recommendations were published. As I say we are reviewing that period, not matters or issues in the period before the historic because that was dealt with in the full report, which I am sure you have all read.

Now we have identified topics for discussion in this meeting today. I am just in a moment going to go round and ask everybody to identify themselves. I am sure most people know, but again that is for the record please, and then we will address those questions, because what we seek is a constructive submission approach from the press that will help everyone in Jersey. There are positives. There are still concerns that we have been hearing. We have met with over 160 people last week. There is still work to be done but there is a lot of work that has been done. So it is a balance, a constructive balance that we are looking for.

So have said that, the only other issue that I would say is a matter of housekeeping. If the fire alarm goes, only exit through that door, down the stairs, out the main door and gather in the car park. Please turn off your mobile phones. Please respect our request for no recording or recording devices. Please turn off ... and I see everybody nodding. So with that, can I turn then to ask you, perhaps starting to my left?

JF: Sure, so my name if James Filleul. I am the owner and editor of Bailiwick Publishing which includes Bailiwick Express.

FO: Thank you, James.
AS: My name is Andy Sibcy. I am the editor of the Jersey Evening Post. FO: Thank you.
RS: Rico Sorda, I own Rico Sorda Blogspot and Team Voice.
NM: Neil McMurray, and Team Voice.
MD: I am Mike Dun. I am called a blogger. It is not my choice of words. I am following in the tradition of Abraham Le Cras. I am a campaigner.

FO: All right. Well thank you all. Can I start with the first question then? You have seen our list of potential questions and we will develop the discussion from there. So what have you seen that is different in the last two years in services affecting children and families? Children and families. So can I start with you, James?

JF: Yeah, I mean in terms of the actual services I am not qualified to comment on that. I do not have any personal experience of the services myself. In terms of the media, then obviously there was a lot of reporting around the publication of your report a few years back, which was thorough and comprehensive, both across the traditional media, social media blogs, everything. You know there was a lot gone into, and that has continued in part over the last two years, although I think probably in the last ... as time has gone on that has probably dissipated and then it has needed specific instance or examples to kind of generate it again. So I think from a media point of view the interest is still there. The concern is still there. It is just whether or not it is front of mind, kind of top of the agenda. So I think from a media point of view it has been a story which has been covered exceptionally comprehensively and will continue to be so. But I think that is all I would like to say in terms of an opening comment. FO: All right, thank you. Andy?

AS: I would echo James' opening remarks. I do not feel particularly well placed to comment on the way services have or have not improved, although we reported on the reports that they have not. What I would say is the narrative has changed tack or the control of the narrative has changed tack in a sense that there has been acknowledgement in a way that marks a contrast to previously of failings. I see that as part of a broader tapestry of government seeking to perhaps exploit mistakes in the past in order to push through reforms as they are now across the public sector. So it remains to me seen whether that expression of what has happened before translates into positive action, and I think the jury is out on that. So we have had lots of statements of ... FO: So are you saying a new work in progress?

AS: Well I hope so.
FO: Yeah, yeah.
AS: Certainly that is the impression we are being given and what we are being told we should believe. Whether that is true or not, I cannot tell you.

FO: Well only time will tell.
RS: I have got a few things to say about that.

FO: Okay, yeah.

RS: First of all I think it is shame that this is not being filmed today because I think the media should be open to filming, and I think we should have been asked if we minded. I certainly would not have and I think it would have been great for transparency. Also the media plays a very important role in the question you have just asked. Do they report it? Can they go in depth on it? I do not know how you can move forward to 2017 without addressing the past. The past of the media from 2008 onwards has not been addressed. It was not addressed in the Care Inquiry.
FO: Well, Rico, I have made clear what the premise of this meeting is.

RS: Yes, because the media has a very important role.
FO: Yes.
RS: They have an important role for any survivor of abuse, any victim of abuse, to report it, investigate and bring it forward. That did not happen and I would say that was a failure. That is why we are here and that is why you are here. And if that is not addressed how can you move forward? I find that quite hard. I mean this is not to have a go at the media that is here, but they have failed in the past and now you want them to, you know, come forward and represent. They should be asked to explain what went wrong in the past and why it went wrong, and I believe the Jersey Post should apologise to all victims of abuse for what happened in their reporting, and that is just my statement ....

FO: Rico, I am going to stop you there.
RS: Okay, but I just want ...
FO: This is not ...
RS: I know that it is very important because I do not believe we can move forward ...
FO: We all can learn lessons from the past.

RS: That is right but it has to be addressed.

FO: Our purpose here today, our remit is to review what has happened since 2017.

RS: I understand that.
FO: And if we do not address that then we will leave this room.
RS: Yes, I know, okay. But I will just say it is about the safety of children at the end of it.
FO: Of course, and that is why we are back.

RS: Yes.

FO: That is why we are here. So please let us focus on ...
RS: The media plays a ... okay, well I just want to ...
FO: ... what, if any, progress has been made, what concerns still remain ... RS: That is all my concerns.

FO: ... and how those concerns might be addressed and how the media, not just Jersey, but the world might assist in that task. So please let us concentrate on the reason for this meeting today. 

RS: I just had to get that out.

NM: I think to a certain degree as well, I will not go over what he said, you know, but I will make the point, if you do not address the failures of the past you are doomed to repeat them. That goes without saying and I think it is an outrage that is not being addressed. It has gone, forgotten, and the media have got a hell of a lot of answering to do for the way they reported during Operation Rectangle.

As far as the question goes, question one, what have we seen different in the last two years in services affecting children? Well nothing at the end of the day, and I make this clear in the evidence I gave to the Care Inquiry. It is a box ticking exercise that we have seen. You have seen people scurrying around saying, "Oh, well we've got a Children's Minister." Yes, we do. We have got a Housing Minister and our housing stock is in a hell of a mess. We have got a Health Minister. Our health system is on the brink of destruction. So it was a box ticking exercise. I have seen no difference. We have got a Children's Commissioner. Well, so what? Who is he answerable to? What has changed?

You know, what is different here is the question you are asking. Well just recently it was reported up at Greenfields ... I do not know if you have seen that report ... of wrongdoing going on up at Greenfields, which was mentioned in the evidence to the Care Inquiry, where a witness gave evidence saying that she was instructed to shred evidence of the Grand Prix system. Well none of this was mentioned in the media reports, sort of thing. So what I am saying is the original whistleblower, Simon Bellwood, and former Senator Stuart Syvret, Health Minister showed these failings in Greenfields back then. But it is still happening now. This is the problem.

FO: Neil, you have the point that I made to Rico. 

RS: Yeah, yeah.
FO: You have attended several of the meetings. You know our purpose here. I can see members of the audience nodding. Can we now address the questions?

NM: I thought that was the question. I was addressing the question. What have you seen different in the last two years?

FO: And you say nothing and you make the point about the Children's Commissioner and Greenfields.

AL: Neil, can I ask, in terms of, you know, the comments that come on your blog and obviously people knowing what your interests and stop and approach you. What kind of feedback are you getting that way from people who are actually experiencing services and so on?

NM: Well I think the majority of my readers are, if you like, they are progressive. They are people who have been had over by the establishment and the rest of it. They are not convinced. I do not know, you obviously read the blog yourself. You will see the comments. There is not a lot of people who are convinced that anything has changed. 

AL: Yeah, yeah.

NM: The Jersey way is still here, alive and well. So I think predominantly the comments you get on my blog is that nothing has changed.

AL: People sense that nothing has changed. Thank you. NM: Okay.
SC: Can I just ask before we come to Mike?
FO: Yes.
SC: In that perception of "nothing has changed," is that people actually thinking nothing has changed, or that they do not understand what things like the Children's Commissioner are there to do?

NM: No, I think they can see things have not changed because we have still got an Attorney General that wears about three or four different hats. He is the guy that advises the Executive and decides what gets prosecuted or not. 

SC: Right.

NM: So basically the structure that allowed all this abuse to happen over 7those decades is the exact same structure as we have got now, and we
can see that. We have got unelected Bailiff, unelected Deputy Bailiff, unelected Attorney General, Solicitor General. Nothing in that respect has changed. We have got a couple of box ticking exercises and we have got, you know, a Commissioner. It means nothing. It is nothing, you know? And again in my evidence to the Care Inquiry I suggested that you were bold and looked at understanding paedophiles, what makes them operate, what makes them work. The same model is still in control now. They are waiting for children to be abused and they are imprisoning paedophiles. Why do they not understand a paedophile, stop him abusing our children, stop them sending them to our prisons. So, yeah, nothing has changed. The mindset is exactly the same now as it was back in the 1920s.

AL: Which I think again the point you raise is a really important point and it is one that it is not just sort of applicable to this jurisdiction. But a lot of people in different jurisdictions are questioning huge investment in investigating, identifying sort of, you know, child sexual abuse for example, but very little investment in let us try and understand the causes. I think it is a timely point which is on our horizon, yeah.

NM: It was in my evidence to you.

AL: Yes, yes.
AS: Could I make a general point about that?
FO: Yes of course, Andy.
AS: And it is not in relation to Neil's blog as much to do with the JEP and the people who comment on our site .... 

FO: Yes.

AS: ... and indeed our letters (?) page to seek to establish what public opinion is from the commentarial is a very dangerous thing, because those people phone in anonymous often, and very often they are people whose record has got stuck in the same groove and no matter how much change comes through, they will simply plod the same path over and over again. I say that in relation to comment about the JEP. Now I am not going to comment on the past. I believe that JEP has changed somewhat under the managership but ....

FO: And I see a lot of nodding.
AS: That is very kind of you, Neil.
NM: You know, look I do not want to be at war with these guys. AS: We are not at war.

NM: I give credit for them turning up. At least they had the courage to turn up. Where is BBC? Where is ITV? Where are they? At least these guys turned up. 

FO: So anyway, Andy?

AS: What I was going to say was that on all media, and with all manner of publishers, you get the same people who are absolutely hell bent on holding on to views and they will be wholly out of touch with the way things are now, and that is in relation to child abuse, in relation to JEP. Probably from my side that is in relation to Rico and Neil, who were cast as villains by some in the past, we are cast as villains by some on the other side, and I have to say that the people around this table, I believe, have gone on a journey and made significant steps actually. So just a note of caution, that you actually give much credence to what is said on some of these comment forums.
FO: That is why we recognise that. We have invited you here today.

AS: Absolutely, yes.

FO: And we want your constructive input as to how your strength can be used to go forward and protect children.

AS: Absolutely.

SC: It is an interesting issue in terms of is there a kind of ethical dilemma for editors in terms of the commentarial, as you say, of what you publish or do not publish. To some extent there is a bit about the kind of freedom of expression. So do you that, and to what extent do you look to try to say this is the same line all the time so we are not going to publish those?

AS: I think that is out of my direction, to be honest. You know, we have to provide platforms for people to have that debate, and save for them calling me a whatever, or Neil a whatever, we probably had it rough (?), you know. 

SC: Yeah, of course.

RS: And I would say, you know, JEP has definitely been better since Andy has taken over. I have no doubts about it.

SC: Yes.

RS: And they have covered stories which they never used to have in the past concerning child abuse and things like that.

NM: What I think we ought to sort of mention now is we were always at war with the JEP, and all the mainstream media. They were at war with us. It was from both sides. I think that we have gotten a lot  better and they have seen us ...
FO: And you are sitting around the same table.

NM: They seen us as the enemy. We saw ... RS: We do shout sometimes.
AS: It is not a personal thing.
FO: That is human nature.

NM: But the thing is, and this is where it needs to stop, is we all need to try and work together on this rather than being enemies, and we have all made great strides along those ways. But the problem, that there is that provide. The mainstream media, I think, are, "No, we don’t want anything to go with the bloggers," and the bloggers ... but, you know, there is a lot that we could and should be working on together. They need to be holding their hand out. We have held our hand out.

FO: Point noted, Neil, and it is a good point. So can I come to the next question? What media ...

MD: Can I have a say? 

AL: Yes, Mike.
FO: Sorry, Mike.

MD: You published a remarkable report. One thing about that report that the public knows how much it cost, and I blame the media to a large extent for the failure of making ... there is enough material in your report to give the media stuff for the next 100 years, and they have failed. I mean you have seen the number of people that are here today. You know everybody who is in this audience. They have not attracted any public concern. They have not done so. It should be an enormous issue. It is not, and I think that is very largely a failure of the press. It is a system failure of the press generally but specifically in a little community like this where the press is powerful and has got the ability to change things when it wishes to do so, on this one it is just totally part and parcel of the Jersey way.

On the radio yesterday ... they are not here today ... the BBC were publishing exactly the same reports of the hearings you have been having now. You would think everything was wonderful by what they were saying and that is the PR approach of loving Jersey, all this stuff, punching above our weight. All these little cliché expressions which the press use all the time to gee people up, pick us up. Everything is wonderful. There is nothing to worry about.

The finance industry is wonderful. That is the central issue. That is the central image and they do not want to tarnish that as we knew years ago from when it was a media issue, when the national media got hold of it. Oh, we must protect, we must not tarnish our image. And these guys they move around from one journal to a radio to a PR in business, they move around, the same guys, promoting PR. That is what they do. They are PR.

FO: Mike, the point is again noted, but can we now come back to why we are here and you are actually sitting round a table being prepared to discuss it. Let me ask you this question. What media campaigns and/or reporting in the last two years ... in the last two years, all right ... since the publication of the report, since the clear recommendations have been laid before the public and all the professional bodies, what media reporting has had an impact do you think? Andy, let me start with you.

AS: Well we have reported all the official, obviously the official stuff that comes out of government. That is highly controlled. We had a reporter, who is no longer with us, who did some work on Greenfields and that was instrumental in Mr Collins succeeding and getting a compensation scheme going. 

FO: The address scheme, yes.

AL: Yeah.

AS: Yeah, and I suppose what we learned from that is that there is still ... I mean for us it is about trust. For whatever reason a lot of people who have been through the care process do not trust the JEP to be a voice for them, which hampers our reporting actually, and that narrative is reinforced by comments around that, that is not helpful. But when we did make inroads into this and we did actually get them talking to us, it was like a floodgate opening again. So actually once people began to feel that they could tell us our stories, very definitely it became quickly apparent there is a huge amount of pent up issues that are being reported on. Sorry, so that does not really answer your question. 

FO: No, it does, I think.
AL: And you talked about, you know, material coming out from the State being controlled. Can you elaborate a little bit on that?

FO: Yes.
AS: It is a loaded question, is it not? AL: Yeah, yeah.

AS: There is a pretence in government I think that some how reforms have created a new way of doing things in Jersey, and part of that is to reform communications and to enable the flow of information that allows for proper conversation and critical evaluation, because the information obviously is key to that. I think that is utterly false. I think we have seen more control over information and media now, that I have noticed, that I have had in 20 years of working with JEP, without going into PRLS(?). Yeah, I think that would be my view. 

RS: I did read the Greenfields report. I was just going to say ...

FO: Can I just say this just records? It does not amplify so if can you keep your voice up because I can see some people in the back are having difficulty.

RS: Yeah, okay. But it is very hard for me on that question, because no disrespect, I do not read the JEP so I do not know what ...

AS: Occasionally you do.

RS: Yeah, unless there is something ... you know, one in a while there is something worth reading. But, you know, that is how I have always been but, you know, a lot of people do read it. 

FO: Yes.

RS: But the JEP has definitely changed under Andy, that that is a good thing. It has definitely come out of the darkness into the light and he is allowing his ... I do not know if they are journalists, or what ... or reporters to write stories ... Michael Morris is very good ... you know, to investigate. It is about investigating, is it not? Any one can just put a story out and then two days later we move on to the next one, and that was the difference with the blogs. We were able, just as citizens, to get hold of (inaudible) evidence and develop it, investigate it, because there was no constraints on us. We could spend a week, we could spend two weeks on one story. Whereas the media, the mainstream media, cannot do that and it is, you know, today's news is tomorrow's chip paper, you know.

AS: I am glad you made that point. That is my point actually and say I do not want to dodge the bullet, because it is fair accusation I suppose that the JEP does not do as much in depth investigative work as we would like to, but that is a resourcing issue. You know, when you have got the churn of writing a newspaper every single day, of which we publish what 25 pages of editorial content, you know plus on publication we deal with the same teen magazines, it is actually quite difficult to get under the cover of issues in the way you might have done. But it is possible.
RS: Yeah, but that is a problem for a one paper island.

AS: But alas the economics of newspapers do not allow a different approach.

NM: I think, you know, it becomes a mindset as well. I mean it was said by a journalist that the reporters over there think if somebody says it is raining and somebody says it is not, they think if they get both those stories they have got a balanced story but none of them ever look out the window, and you know, that is where I think the problem is. They think their job is done if they told both sides of a story, and I do not think that is just Jersey. I think it is a bit of a mindset that does come along, and I think more journalists should be looking out the window.That, you know....
AS: To a point that is fair comment. But I mean it is not an absolute. Obviously there are issues that we can get a waiver.

NM: Yeah.

AS: I mean look at today's front page for example. You know, we have chosen to look into and hold accountable the current civil service leadership in terms of how they are paid and what they are paid, and that has taken actually more than just regurgitating and looking out the window. We will look out the window.
FO: And again I can see Rico and Neil simply nodding in agreement.

AS: But it is about time and pressure and resources. Now, you know, confronted with a report that big, which is what yours was ...

FO: Yes.

AS: ... that takes a team of people a lot of time to go through to report contemporaneously. You can come to my newsroom if you like and see how it operates. I mean you are welcome. 

FO: Yes. Can I ask James about this?

AS: Sorry.

FO: I saw James nodding when you were saying one or two things, alongside Neil and Rico were nodding

JF: Yeah, I mean I think Neil makes a really good point actually in terms of ... I think it was Hilary Clinton that called it fake balance or fake impartiality, and it is an absolutely fair point. That is exactly what it is. The thing with the media is that it is such a ... sorry, the traditional media ... it is such a broad spectrum so you have so many different types of stories and different types of reporting. So you can almost prove whatever you want to prove by just picking a certain story, you know. So Neil is absolutely right. There is a lot of it which is that kind of fake impartiality.
Equally, and I think that has changed in recent years, there are elements of the traditional media who do take up investigations and, you know, the JEP (inaudible) and to fair to Andy, that happens with the JEP. It also happens with Bailiwick Express. You know we were the only ones that pushed the issue of Charlie Parker's contract all the way through to challenging that with the data protection commissioner, and we had to get a ruling made on that. In fact I think it is the first one. So the media, where they can, resources allowing, do focus on investigations. So I think it is this issue of, you know, the broad spectrum. You can kind of prove whatever you want to prove.

To just bring us back to the question that you asked, which is what campaigns we can kind of draw attention to. So Bailiwick has done a lot of work with the foster carers in terms of case studies, telling the story of people who have been into foster care and how that has been successful, so it has been very positive reporting and we have had some very good feedback on that from the foster care teams in Jersey, that that has helped them find foster carers, which is obviously a major issue. So we feel that has been a very positive thing that has happened over the last couple of years.

There is just kind of one final point which I want to draw from some of the comments that Mike made earlier on, which is one of the benefits that Bailiwick has, which the other media do not, is everything ...
AS: It is not a platform for selling.

JF: Do you think I need to?

AL: We will give everybody 30 seconds to sort of advertise.

AS: (inaudible) patronising, then I am sorry.

FO: No advertising, I want the point because I think it is a good point.

JF: It is a good point, believe me. Well I think it is a good point. Everything we do is online. 

FO: Yes.

JF: And because everything we do is online it means that we can measure everything and we can assess things, and we know what people read and what they do not read and what interests them and what does not interest them. So it just occurred to me when Mike was talking, all the media did wall to wall coverage of your report. I mean there was nothing else in the news for a long time afterwards. So it was comprehensively, you know really comprehensively covered, and it was really interesting for us to watch the audience to that and how that changed. So initially it was nowhere near as high as we thought it was going to be. So we thought, you know, there was a massive, really important kind of key issue in Jersey society, and we threw lots of resources at it. We did a lot of, you know, five or six stories for days on it. Actually the audience was average, distinctly average, and after that whenever we came back to it ... so, you know, two months later, three months later, five months later ... the audience just dropped and it was not that, and when we have done coverage in the run up to this the audience has not been there.

So, you know, when Mike is talking about the media failing in terms of not sparking interest, actually when we do stories on it we see that actually the audience is not really that interested, and I do not judge that to be a failing of the media. I think that is a wider societal problem.

NM: I think it is just cultural. But going back to the actual, you know, the question I have on it is you are asking what are the campaigns and everything, you know, really that makes it. I published the defence case of the former Chief of Police, Graham Power, and it was a 62,000 word document, 94 pages. I published the whole lot on my blog and within 48 hours that was the third most popular blog that I have ever published. So, you know, I have got different experience on this. Of course if we go back ... and I know that these guys were not in charge at the time ... but this was leaked to the media back then. They buried it. The media buried it. There is no getting away from that. So this was a very important document. 

AS: Can I respond to that?

FO: Of course.

AS: I know it is about the past but I feel I have been accused of something more ...

MD: Not you, Andy.
AS: No, no, but we sought to ....
FO: Can I remind everybody to keep the focus on the purpose of today? AS: Yes, so the point I was making with that ...
MD: Obviously, you know, sitting on the end here ...
FO: Mike, please just let somebody else finish.
MD: All right, but ...

AS: The point I was trying to make with that is like it was a document. There was a lot of interest in it. You know although it was a document from a few years ago there was huge, massive interest.

FO: So potential there. Alyson?
JF: Can I respond to that?

AL: So I just want to say something with James. One of the stories that you did relatively recently was about children placed off island.

JF: Yeah.
AL: Which was of great interest to us because that was an issue we were looking at and people who have spoken to us have, you know, sensed it was almost the first time it came to their attention and the thought was planted. We have been through all this with our own institutions. How can we make sure that the children that are off island are in institutions that are better than would be in Jersey? I just wondered what was the kind of seed for that. What sort of prompted that, because it was something that has made certainly a lot of people in the field very aware of the issue perhaps for the first time.

JF: It is interesting and we have lots of feedback on that story which I think would be interesting. So the reason we did it is that it came from a court. It was a write up of a judgment on JLIB, which is the Jersey Legal Information Board, where effectively the goings on of the court are fully transparent for the public ...
FO: And, James, I know, just as a warning, to mention any identifiable ...
JF: I am not going to, do not worry.
FO: Just that caveat.

JF: So the source of the story came from that so we reported it thoroughly, reported the judgment thoroughly, and fully anonymised because obviously, you know, there were issues there around identification. So if I just touch on the statistics again without promoting Bailiwick ...

NM: But the stories were....

JF: the story was hugely well read, both in Jersey and in the UK. You know it was a very well accessed story. But we actually got some feedback after that story, some criticism because people said we should not have done it because people involved in the case guessed the identify of the child involved because if you know the particular family you will know things which no one else does and you can triangulate that. You can guess the identity, and they actually gave this person abuse on social media.

So we were not taken to task, but we were taken up on it. They said, "Look, you know, should you have run that story because you’vecaused the person in that story to suffer the social media abuse." So I then had to defend why we ran the story, and my defence was quite simple, which is public interest. It was absolutely in the public interest to run that piece. You know we do need to be exposing these things so we had to run the piece, and the procedures that we went through, because we do have, for making sure as far as we possibly can identification is not an issue. But even despite all of that very close friends involved were able to correctly guess an identity.

So it really got into this issue of how the media should be handling and treating these issues, and I fundamentally believe that we should not have done what we were asked to do, which is not report it. We should have reported it and if someone guesses and identity and then chooses to use a social media platform to abuse that person, then that is something we have to deal with it. So they have committed the problem by issuing the abuse not us in running the story.

AS: I mean again we fight similar battles all the time with people who seek to stop us reporting, that no one else is aware of and there is pressure at the moment for us to report far less of these cases. There is a reasonable fear of identification in a small ... I get that. We have very, very tight ... probably too tight actually in terms of what we could do ... guidelines on what you can and cannot do because the information might identify the person involved. 

FO: Yes.

AS: Now we had to report something actually ... but I am coming under pressure, I understand, when it comes to the Children's Commissioner ultimately who is concerned because she talks to these people and that gets fed through the system, that we are doing too much. So we caught often in a difficult place. 

FO: Yes.
AS: So we are criticised for not doing enough.
FO: Yes.
AS: But the pressure ... and also actually the tenets of professional journalism dictate we cannot just run lots of stuff for good practice reasons, for libel reasons, for all sorts of stuff, and people need to understand that as the territory in which we operate.

MD: Can I say something? Can I make a contribution? The JEP like all printed papers is struggling. We know that. Financially it has and these are both financial organisations. They have got to make a profit to survive. Now we now that so it is a constraint. But when the JEP, for example, was in a better financial position they had a journalist who did publish a number of feature supplements on things like homelessness and social ... he went off to train to be a lawyer. I do not know if that a good thing or bad thing but that is what he did. But he was an excellent journalist and he was allowed a certain degree of free hand.

Now nowadays there are big supplements which regularly appear in JEP but they of course are based upon finance. They are paid advertising supplements to a large extent. But that just shows you ... it
shows me the priorities of a commercial organisation. They have got to produce commercial things. Now they are not incentivised in the same way to promote child welfare. I mean they do occasionally. Yeah, obviously they do because it comes up and they will get cases on damages, and all that stuff, which will focus public attention.

But the articles on commercial things, such as finance or this week's show house which they will spend enormous, glossy supplements on, those are regular features. But they are not featuring child welfare in the same way and you could do. You could do it on a regular basis and there is finance ...

AL: How would you do it, Mike?

MD: Well there is finance available. There should be finance available. There will be finance available.

AS: Mike, I agree there should be. I am biggest champion of that you will find.

MD: Well I would welcome the opportunity ... FO: There is 100% agreement with you on that. 

AL: Yes, yeah.

NM: I think this comes back to James' point, you know he is worried about what he publishes and not publishes. But I would say, you know, this is where we are at a disadvantage as bloggers, is because these guys will have an army of lawyers to fight their case for them. 

AS: I have not taken legal advice in five years at JEP.

NM: No, but I am saying is you would have, Andy, you know ...

AS: No, no, but I would like to deal with that really. I have not spent a penny on lawyers in five years for right or wrong.

NM: But we are vulnerable in that respect. If we mistakenly identify somebody or something like that, like James was talking about, we are finished. We are kaput, you know. I mean they are bringing in legislation to close us down anyway, or they brought in the legislation to try and close us down. So you know they ... 

SC: Which legislation is that then?

NM: It is P.19/2016. It was the ... 

AS: This is telecommunications.
NM: The old telecommunications law.
SC: Okay, yeah.
NM: So, you know, we live in fear of anything that we publish. Whereas, you know, any big organisation that has got finance behind it can say,"That's okay, we’ll just get our lawyers on it. That's not a problem." But we have got to think, Jesus Christ, you know if we get ... 

AS: That is not quite ...

NM: But we are not in the same context as that. You know this is our sort of worry, if we publish something that ...

FO: Sandy?

SC: Can I maybe slightly change tack, but follow through on what I think is a very significant kind of point that James made about your being able to monitor what has been made and the low level of interest, because we are obviously very interested in it. People in the room who have been here regularly are interested in it. But the real issue is if there is going to be change in Jersey, the Jersey community needs to actually take some ownership for it. You know we have had concerns about the States taking ownership for being a corporate parent. But actually the man and women in the streets of St Helier needs to take ownership for it as well and so it is significant what you are saying about the low level of traction on these issues.

JF: Yes. There is a balance here which we have to tread every day. You cannot run your life by the statistics, is the first principle.

SC: Yeah.

JF: So although, yes, we have got all the statistics and we know what will work and what will not work as a story that does not mean that is the only editorial decision. So for example the output of this review, we will cover it in depth even though I strongly suspect ... I hate to use the word, I know ... but I strongly suspect the audience will be low but I feel we need to do it because of its importance. So there is like an editorial overlay which goes over the top of that so we are not entirely run by the stats.
Having said that, what the stats do is take a lot of the judgment out of journalism. So I have been doing this 20 years and Andy has too, and previous to maybe the last four or five years a lot of an editor's decision has been judgment based and, you know, we have these tools available now which take us out of that equation.

But the fact remains that we do not ... you know, Bailiwick has a very large audience these days ... but we do not see the traction on these types of stories in general. Specific ones, so the one that Alyson has rightly raised about the child in UK care, was hugely popular. So specific stories come through.

FO: Right. Can I just stop you ...?
RS: I just want to ....
FO: Sorry, I realise you have got ... but just to clarify ... 

RS: No, that is fine.

FO: ... I think the significant thing there was it was not just that specific case. I think what happened was it caused people to think we have got, you know, 25 children off island, what kind of institutions are they in?
AS: Yeah, yeah, you are absolutely right.

FO: And I think that was one of the greatest significance. Apologies, Rico, because I ...

RS: No, but I was just making ... you know obviously they are a news outlet and they want to put the news out and certain stories get more hits than other stories, and I think when I came into this at the very beginning, one of the things I always struggled was with how little people care. You will get a few people that really care, you know. We did what we did because we cared. But the majority of people, itis like, "If it's not on my door I don’t care about it basically." You know it is like you can run a really good piece in a newspaper, a really in depth story about abuse, and yet a cat pulling a smiley face, if you put that on the front that will get thousands of hits. That will go viral like a poppy cat and the child abuse will get like 100 ... 

NM: Well I think a lot of that is probably the point ...

RS: It is just it is a mindset and it is a cultural thing and I do not know why that is. But child abuse especially some people just do not want to go there and they do not want to think about it. It is not on my door. I do not want to think about it.

JF: It is the first point, Rico. It is why you need to sort of kind of add the editorial overlays that I spoke about. So, yes, we could put a smiley cat picture and get some hits on it. We obviously do not do that.

RS: Yeah. No, but the point I was making is just, you know, it is a mindset with the public.

NM: But I think we come down to, with the reporting again, do we not, there is a point that Mike made that, you know, everybody knows much how you lot cost, 24 million quid. The media talk about 24 million quid all the time. How much this person got paid and whilst everyone is talking about the 24 million quid no one is talking about the abuse. So a lot of the public opinion right now is, "Wow, 24 million quid just for that," you know? And there is a lot of that.

JF: And it is a very fair point and I do understand that. I think the difference that Andy and I have is we have a very broad spectrum of both the viewpoints on any particular story, but also of stories to run as well. So we cannot just focus on one area. So in this particular case ...
AS: Or exclude others.

JF: Or exclude others. So in this particular case, issue, however you want to phrase it, yes, we have to draw out the horrendous abuse and the societal failings that caused that abuse, so we have to do that and I believe we have done it. We also have to point to the fact that the Inquiry cost a very significant amount of money. So in some ways the problem Andy and I have, we have to do everything. We have to cover all of these different things. 

NM: But it is predominantly ...

JF: Whereas you are very specific which is great and I mean it works. 

NM: Yeah.
FO: That has its advantages as you have said.
JF: It is absolutely right. If the floor ...

MD: I do not want to let the BBC get ... because they are not here, the BBC. These guys are commercial enterprises. The BBC is not. It is a public service and I think on that basis the service at the BBC local (inaudible) but regardless of what the faults in the national are, the local service provided by the BBC on these sorts of serious issues is pretty well appalling, and that has to be said and I think it is a disgrace they are not here.
NM: I think the point to make ...

AS: Have they been invited here though? Before we ...

NM: I think the point to make there with regard to the BBC for instance, because you know your report was massive. It was damning. It was scathing. It was one of the, you know, most significant reports this island has ever had. Now you are back after two years. Now yesterday the talking point for the BBC was what is the best thing about Jersey. What does Jersey do better than the rest of the world?

And today it is, "How do you cook your Jersey Royals?" Now what I 21am trying to say is that we are talking about public opinion and why
you are getting very few hits on the child abuse, because the BBC are wanting to talk to you about Jersey Royals.

JF: But people are not stupid and you know I have to hold on to what I do, and the fact that the broad, vast majority of our readers are actually sensible, informed, intelligent people, actually. Despite the people on the fringes that make all the noise, I think those people want a broad range of stuff in the media, without a doubt.

FO: Sandy?

SC: One of the issues that I think with the media is that the average public will take out varying degrees of interest. There will be things that will interest them. The key thing is about influencers and have they influenced it. So what is your reach into ... I know having worked for most of my working life as a chief officer in the public service that every day what is in the papers is of importance and it does help shape thinking. Do you have a sense that you have got that kind of connection?

AS: Which is why actually I think, you know whatever, the paper has not changed since I took over. The one thing it has done, rightly or wrongly, is become a platform for a very diverse, you know, range of opinions. We have a responsibility and an authority and an influence, but that responsibility is foremost and that responsibility is to ensure that our platform is available to all. And actually you say we have frozen you out, that is simply not true, and I have invited lots of people who have been involved in .... 

NM: I did not say you froze me out.

AS: No, no, you said that we had frozen you out. And actually, you know, that is what we did but I understand that responsibility, and yes we try and report in a professional fair and balanced way, but equally part of the paper is to give people a platform for letters and comment and we do that very broadly. So that is my response to that.

JF: Well I think it goes back to the point that Neil made, which is a really good one, about this fake impartiality thing, you know, and the media in some areas they fall this trap all the time. They think they have to be so balanced they end up becoming bland and inept. 

NM: Yeah, yeah, I totally agree.

RS: That is exactly what happens.

JF: We completely agree with that. It is very difficult though as an editor as well to decide on which issues you are then going to make a stand, and why I make that comment is because you know as soon as you make a stand on one issue you will make as many enemies as you will friends. So you have got to choose when you do that and you have got to choose that quite carefully. I am not saying you should never do it. I think you should do it and I think what people are looking for in media is some leadership, and I think they are looking for people to take these views. But you have got to judge that really, really carefully, when you do it, and how you do it, and how you phrase it, and I know if it is something that Andy wrestles with and ...

AS (?): No, but we do that but even when you choose a subject you still have to be balanced in reporting that subject. So the right to reply is a fundamental principle of professional journalism. So while we might not wish to hear from someone with a contrary view to the line they paper is peddling, it is our duty to have that view expressed. That is a simple matter of proper journalism.

JF: You know I do not disagree. I would not disagree.

AL: I mean Mike has raised the point that these are difficult times for all kinds of commercial media, not just Jersey. Everywhere in the world, you know, there is more and more pressure for things to go online. Neil has raised the issue of sort of new regulations coming in which may impact the sort of social media commentators' abilities to comment on things. So with these kind of pressures coming on, I suppose our sort of interest is will you be able to continue to do the work that you have done over the years, that you are doing now, that sort of highlights these ....

FO: It is the focus.

AL:... maybe not particularly popular issues?

JF: I am happy to give my thoughts on that. I mean, yes, I mean no one has ever told me what to write and what not to write. I know this has been suggested a lot in the public domain. But I have found in 20 years in the media in Jersey no one has ever told me to write something or not to write something. So I have never experienced that in terms of, you know, coercion. You know people have said, "I don’tthink you should bloody do that," or, "That's a rubbish story," and all that sort of stuff. But I do not care, you know?

AL: Yeah.

JF: I am not bothered about that as long. As I judge it to be the right thing to do I will do it and no one has ever coerced me one way or the other. So that will just continue. That is not going to change for anyone or anything. From the Bailiwick point of view, you know, we are a regulated media. I think that is an important point that we do need to raise in these forums. You know, just as JEP is, we have a regulator who issues a code of conduct which we have to follow, which we do follow. So we have those parameters which we have to stick within, but in terms of editorial decision-making I am in a slightly different position to Andy in the sense that I am both the editor and the owner, so I do not have anyone in my ear telling me what I should and should not be doing.

RS: And a PR company.
FO: Rico?
RS: Well I think James has won the PR battle for the morning. But I was going to say the most important aspect about moving forwards, especially for not the citizen media but the mainstream media, is it comes down to just trust. It is just trust. Do the members of the public, or anyone who has got a problem, can they trust the mainstream media enough to go to them and tell them their story and be believed? Well I am retired now, more or less. I do not want to do what Ido any more because it is not my job to do it. Ihavealifeto lead. Blogging, I did it because there was a backing and it had to be done because I believed the mainstream media had failed. Now what I want is for trust to be there so they do not have to come to citizen media. They go to the mainstream media and there will be trust and their stories will be taken as far as you can in whatever ... but you will listen to the people who come to you and ....

AS: Do you ...?

RS: ... and, you know, when it comes down to trust, Andy, you are saying people do not like, you know, the Jersey Evening Post and the perception of they are not just a government mouthpiece and
everything like that. 

JF: But some people ....

RS: Your job is, in a way, by bringing out these stories and bringing abuse forward, whether it gets one hit, two hits, five hits, it does not matter. One hit or two hits is better than anything. But it is trust. Can people go to your door, knock on your door, and go, "You know what I want to sit down and tell you my story"? 

AS: Of course they can.

RS: Well that is ....

FO: That is the answer that needs to heard loud and clear, "Of course they can."

AS: Absolutely.
FO: And trust, Rico, you are so right. Not just in relation to the media. RS: Yeah.

FO: That is a recurring theme that we heard during the course of the Inquiry and that we have been hearing in the last two weeks.
RS: Yes, I am sure.

FO: And that is why in part we are grateful that there is some trust that you are at least sitting round the table.

RS: Absolutely, well you have to.

NM: But I think I said to you when I gave evidence the other day, you know, the latest social survey showed that only 33% of the population trust the mainstream media, and I know Andy is heading away from that. He has said, you know, they need to gain the trust and everything, but what are they doing to gain that trust? But also I just want to pick up what James said just quickly, if I can?

 FO: Yes.

NM: Is because, you know, they will say, "We're regulated." Now I mean I watched, I do not know how many hours, of the Leveson Inquiry and the rest of it, you know the Milly Dower, the bugging of dead children's phones, the destroying of Christopher Jefferies' life, the lying of the Hillsborough ... 

FO: Yes, we know.

NM: ... that was all a regulated media.
FO: Yes.
NM: The media are not regulated. It is a myth. They are not regulated.

MD: I think I know the fact (inaudible) as far as the JEP is becoming more like social media in the way it is presenting itself because it has a lot of non-judgment ....
AS: Well I object to that strongly, I have to say.

MD: Well you do, you encourage people to write in without a name and ... 

FO: I think that is a complement actually, Mike.
MD: Well it might well be a complement but they have correspondence because of the economic restraints they are under with people who are not journalists, and it is becoming more - obviously the actual so-called trained journalists, the people who have got a nose for a story.
More and more it is becoming that an FOI is an investigative journalism. That is about the level of it now unfortunately, and what Andy was saying about the restrictions coming out of the government under the restrictions of the information coming out of that ties in that the government is more and more controlling. It is shame that the official media, or the accredited media, does not give a ... we do not get press releases. You know if there is a press conference we are not invited. Why not? I wish the press, I wish the media would say, "Look, make it available."
AS: Well that is not within my gift, is it? 

MD: No.
FO: All right, Sandy?

SC: But that issue of trust in the media, I mean I guess that has always been around. But probably if it is 33% it is probably a bit higher than it is for politicians. 

NM: 28% for politicians.

SC: You know that is a really issue for us in terms of that.
NM: Yeah.
SC: Is that where your perception is and if there anything that can be done to establish a different level of trust in what you report?

AS: I think there are two things. There is definitely a lack of trust in some quarters on this subject in terms of JEP.

SC: Right.
AS: That is for that question.

SC: Sure.

AL: Although, you know, the way to counter that is to, as we have done a number of times, to publish the reports and the accounts of people who will speak to us. 

SC: Yes.

AS: Also I mean I do not want tit for tat with anybody over here, but actually you know you are ....

MD: It is not about that.

AS: No, no, I know. Your mediums are focal points for abused people, for people interested in the subject. Now, you know, I do not happen to read the blogs very much. I just do not. But I do know when I go on those sites that a vast majority of the comments come back to the "filthy rag." But no, no, let me speak, let me speak. And actually that creates a context in which that trust is undermined irrespective of what we do, and that is unhelpful. So if this is about a new era of trust I applaud your platform to give people a voice, but equally it is not very helpful. And you know sometimes that actually we do quite a good job and to be fair he says that, and then the wave of abuse that you get... but I am just saying we have got to be very quick.

FO: Yes. But one of the important things, as we come to an end, is communication and the very fact that you are communicating these issues today is building that foundation, in my mind, for trust, and I see several people nodding. This is the start.
AS: Well I would like to think that but ... sorry, go on.
RS: No, I was going to say ....
FO: And Rico says ... I am sorry, are you wanting to say something?

RS: But, you know, just on the blogs. I know he has made the comments and it can get a little ... but the most important thing we did on the blogs, and that is all the blogs in Jersey, is we published the evidence, the leaked documents that were given to us. They did not go to you. They came to us and we did the service and we put them out. 

FO: I think Andy acknowledges that.

RS: So, you know, that is important and that is why people came to us. It is not what is in the comments. People come right up to me, comments were like, "Phhh," you know? It was what we were publishing and why we had to publish it and why people came to us. 

AS: Well you were ...

RS: I do not ever want to be put in that position again so I expect you guys to step up.

AS: But the evil MSN is a part of your notice and is bound ... RS: Yeah, that that is schoolboy stuff.
AS: Well ...
RS: It is schoolboy stuff.

FO: Alyson, yes?
NM: I agree with Andy that .... AS: Well call it out, call it out.

NM: ... bridges need to be, you know, built here as well I think. There is still that element of the traditional media and bloggers. They know that bridges do need to be built there. I mean I could say back to Andy when I go on there and see, you know ...

RS: I have got no problems with Andy (inaudible) with JEP, talking about it.

FO: I can see from the body language that that process is starting. AL: I think too it is ...
AS: Well it has started actually.
RS: Yeah, yeah, it has.
AL: Yeah. I think too, I mean you have all raised an important point and I know that all five of you have had, you know, terrible malicious abusive comments, sort of, made to you and about you online. And I think that, sort of, the tone of some of the discussion and the debate is often off putting to a lot of people. And I don’t think its something we can solve around this table, but I just would be interested to know in any thoughts any of you have about how can we, sort of, help make the debate and the discussion, sort of, robust without actually being abusive to some people?

RS: I think this is a start, I mean, I’ve never sat down with James or Andy like this before and, you know, I think that is a way forward. I think it’s an absolute shame that not all of the media are here, the BBC and (inaudible).
FO: But at least it’s the start.

RS: I can’t understand why, but that’s (inaudible) ...

AL: Sorry, can just say the BBC had the choice of either sending someone or reporting on it and they’re reporting on it. So, yeah.

RS: But yeah ...

FO: But anyway, back to the point. Back to the point, because I’ve only got a few more minutes.

RS: My opinion of the JEP today is not the same as it was two years ago, three years ago, to Andy’s credit that when he took over he’s definitely brought it on. There is a change, I would not sit here and lie and go,“Oh, you know ...” the fact that I don’t read it has got nothing to do with, it’s definitely ...
JF: Always got an opinion on it.

RS: Yeah, my mum reads it every day and it’s definitely, it’s coming on. And that’s because Andy’s taken it and he’s taken it in a new direction and obviously he’s letting them have a but of a free reign. And that’s, I’m well happy with that. So I don’t want it ...

NM: To answer your question ...

FO: Yes, thank you, Neil.
NM: It’s, like, you know, there is a very fine line as we’ve discussed in the past of what can and can’t be published. You know, and everybody has a human right to offend somebody. And what I’m worrying about is, we’re seeing it in the UK now where people are getting shut off of social media and the rest of it. You know, where does it end? If you said, “Well, that’s abusive or that’s racist or that’s homophobic,” you know, from my standpoint I think homophobes, racists and the rest of it should have a voice, because if we stop homophobes and racists then they’ll say, “Well, you’re too left wing,” or, “You’re too liberal.”Where will that stop? So I’m very reluctant now, people ... I mean, I get attacked the living daylights out of the, on the internet. You know, and I think, “Great, I’m making a difference, you know, if I was insignificant they would, ignore me.” So I think you’re going down a very very dodgy line if you’re going to try and, sort of, silence people from attacking you online.

AS: There’s debate about issues in a fair robust discussion of issues and downright unnecessary unhelpful abuse. And we’d agree that is ...

FO: Yes, I think so.

NM: Yes, where does that line end? That’s the question. Where is that line? Where does it stop? Where does it start and more importantly where does it stop?

JF: It’s very difficult to, kind of, define, isn’t it? I agree, there’s no quick answer to that (inaudible).

MD: A bit like Mrs Thatcher, you’re trying to introduce harmony into the proceedings. Mrs Thatcher did absolutely the opposite I’m afraid. And unfortunately I’m a political person, I read the JEP but I don’t write to it anymore. I used to be a regular contributor on the letters page and I became, my name was Mike Dun, long term critic of Jersey. That’s what the JEP used to call me. Now that, it may now sound very ... and I thought it was a bit funny at the time. But it has, it implies an establishment alignment which was then and it still is, guiding the media in this island. There is, ultimately, an alignment with a certain establishment point of view and I find myself in disagreement with that. One of the reasons I blog is not to (inaudible) necessarily to express, I want to express my view and it’s in disagreement. So your idea that you have harmony and lack of dissent, no, I don’t think so. I think I want dissent, because unless these guys are going to change their views on the finance industry radically and start being more critical of what goes on in those sort of things and childcare and all the rest of it, unless they’re going to present a more challenging point of view, I will be a dissenting voice.

JF: Again, I think the issue is though, Mike, that the position Andy and I are in which is everyone thinks we’re wrong. So you think we’re wrong because we’re establishment mouthpieces, establishment think we’re wrong because we’re tabloid, sensationalising ...

AS: Anti Jersey.

JF: We hear it all the time, honestly I get it .. Depending on who I bump into on the street, I get the reverse abuse. It’s so funny.
FO: Right. I am conscious of the time and we know we have got a very heavy timetable. Thank you first of all for attending and thank you for being robust in your views.
AL: We only got as far as question to but ...
AL: ... we’ll need to come back and do the others. Thank you. 

FO: Thank you.(END)

We hope readers took the time to read the transcript and look forward to hearing some informed opinions on the role of all (Old and New) media on the Island. Indeed the role of the media outside of the Island. Is the Old Media as influential as it once was? Is it really "regulated?" Is publishing two sides of a story "journalism?" Have you seen a change in the local Old Media since the Operation Rectangle days? Are you one of the 37% of Islanders who DO trust the local Old Media or one of the 63% who DON'T trust it? 

Again we give credit to the JEP and Bailiwick Express for showing the courage lacking in The BBC and ITV/CTV by turning up to this Hearing.