Monday, 25 August 2014

Bloggers Excluded by Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry.



Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media) have been excluded from reporting from the Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry at 11-15 Seaton Place St Helier.

Regular readers will know that the Inquiry Team came up with the idea of "Media Accreditation" when it published its protocols earlier this year which can be read HERE. The Inquiry Team then decided to scrap the media accreditation after only receiving 5 applications. So rather than act in the positive and accredit the applicants which were three State Media and two Bloggers (VFC and BOB HILL) the team decided not to accredit anybody and give us all the same access to the media room at Seaton Place.

During this time the inquiry team were being made aware that the majority of the abuse survivors, and potential witnesses, to the inquiry, do not trust the local State Media who stand accused of  complicity in the Jersey cover-up. The team were also made aware that the latest local social survey showed that sixty per-cent, of those surveyed, do not trust the local State Media. In contrast the majority of Abuse Survivors DO trust this, and Bob Hill's Blog, as do a growing number of islanders. The inquiry team were also aware that VFC have not broken a single protocol or breached any Press Release Embargoes and the same can't be said for the Jersey Evening Post (JEP) who breached an embargo and the BBC who were, contrary to the protocols, filming inside the hearing's building, at the bottom of the stairs where any unsuspecting victim/witness would, and in one case was, confronted with a BBC camera, pointing at them when attempting to leave the building.

Tuesday 12 August 2014 was a usual public hearing where Bloggers, and State Media, were sharing the facilities in the media room as had been the case since the hearings begun back in July. It had become a little cramped in the media room due to the BBC having, at one point, five employees in the room, to include a camera man and a national BBC reporter, who was on holiday here, not reporting on the hearing.

The BBC Reporter was Robert Hall who, as part of his original application to the Inquiry Team for accreditation wrote;


"In closing I’d like to thank you once again for the way in which you are dealing with media interest, and close with one thought; I note from local web activity that some non-accredited interested parties are eager to gain accreditation.
Should space be as limited as you fear, I foresee difficulties on busy days if such accreditation goes beyond recognised media organisations......just my view...."(END)

All applications (including Mr. Hall's) can be viewed HERE. 

So the BBC crowds the room with five of its employees, at least two of which had no place being there, and the Inquiry Panel make a ruling to EXCLUDE the only two Bloggers who applied for media accreditation and have been using the facilities from the start without incident. All State media who applied for accreditation were granted it with the same ruling.

The ruling was made almost overnight with those being granted accreditation (State Media) being informed of their accreditation on Wednesday 13 August, the night before the next public hearing. The two Bloggers (VFC and Bob Hill) who had been refused accreditation were not informed of the ruling and had to suffer the humiliation of being turned away from the media room on the Thursday morning. (Humiliation is a subject I will come on to further in this posting.)


But the real reason for banning Bloggers overnight could have more to do with former Health Minister and anti Child Abuse Campaigner, Stuart Syvret, who was in the media room, for the first time, on Tuesday the 12 August. Stuart was tweeting from the room that was challenging the competency of the hearing and its questioning (or lack of) of the witnesses. The Inquiry Team would not have taken well to his criticisms, which in fairness could have been communicated a little less robust, but were perfectly valid observations that need addressing. This gave the Inquiry Team the excuse, we believe it has been looking for, to exclude Bloggers from the media room. It was a typical knee-jerk reaction from the Inquiry Team to ban Bloggers which will ensure the State Media (who don't question anything) have exclusive rights on reporting from the Inquiry building.

So we know the Panel can react with lightening speed in excluding Bloggers, in making a ruling overnight, yet when this Blogger attempts to appeal the decision, e-mails and questions are ignored. Since the day of the banning I have been attempting to find out how to appeal the decision and have all but been ignored.

Back to Thursday 14 August, at the hearing, after suffering the humiliation of being turned away from the media room, I was sat in the public hearing room. The public are not allowed to have any electronic appliances (Tablets/ipads/iphones/laptops phones etc) switched on in the room.

I have never mentioned my disability on this Blog as it is something I don't talk about but there comes a time when it has to be mentioned and this is the time.

Some years ago I suffered a horrific accident where my dominant right hand was wrenched from my arm and has left me an amputee and coming to terms with my disability is something I still struggle with on a daily basis. I can barely write with my left hand and I certainly can't write at any speed that would be legible, indeed when not writing at speed it is barely legible. 

So there I was sat in the public hearing room feeling absolutely useless and humiliated. I could not even pretend to be writing something down on a pad as I didn't have a pen, or pad, as I had no idea the ruling had been made to ban me (and Bob Hill) from the media room and indeed I don't even carry a pen and pad because of my inability to write (at speed anyway).

Sat next to me, in the public hearing room, was a member of the Jersey Care Leavers Association, (JCLA) and good friend of mine, Jill Garcia, who said that the JCLA have a room in the building where, just like the media room, it has a video/audio feed to the public hearing room and I am welcome to use the room, where I could type up any notes on my ipad, if the Inquiry Team agreed.

We asked, a very helpful Tina Wing, if it was OK and she saw no problem as I was a trusted associate of the JCLA and its members. This was a great relief as it got me out of the public hearing room where I was, as mentioned above, feeling humiliated and embarrassed. 

I spent the rest of the morning/hearing in the JCLA room where I was able to use my electronic devices and make notes. The hearings stopped for lunch and I popped out to get a sandwich, and can of pop, which I could take back and eat/drink in the JCLA room during the lunch-break.


Upon my return to the hearing building I had to ask to be let back into the JCLA room as the doors need a pass card held by the Inquiry Team. It was at this stage I was told, by a not so helpful member of the Inquiry Team, whom I believe to be, Ms. Natalie Minott  that I am NOT allowed in the JCLA room because it is for "interested parties" only. As spurious and unconvincing as the explanation was, of course I had to adhere to it. This is after being told that there was no problem being in the room only an hour or so before by Ms. Wing.

I was stood in the main reception with my sandwich in my one hand, and can of pop secured in the joint at my inside elbow and bicep on my right arm. I asked, as there was no-one around, in the rooms, could I just go in the JCLA room with JCLA member Jill Gracia, who was eating her lunch in there, and eat my lunch with her? To which Ms. Minott refused, so I asked, as it was lunchtime and no-one around, could I eat my lunch in the media room, or even the public hearing room? Again Ms. Minott refused. So I asked am I to be made to go and eat my sandwich in the street, (bearing in mind I can't physically enjoy my sandwich and drink at the same time unless I have somewhere to put one of them down) to which Ms Minott replied "there are plenty of establishments who have seating areas in town" (or words very similar.)

This was even more humiliating for me, than having to sit in the public hearing room, not being able to write up notes. Now this "care" inquiry team is forcing me to go on the street and eat my lunch rather than allow me ten minutes to do it in the building where others were eating their lunch.

It was at this point that I began to suspect the banning of Bloggers from the media room was not a decision made on any professional grounds, it was made on personal grounds. For reasons only known to Natalie Minott, or the Inquiry Panel, they want to make life for me, at the building, as difficult as they possibly can. Why would a team investigating "care" act so callously towards a disabled man?

Since attempting to come to terms with my disability this experience has got to be one of the most humiliating I've ever suffered.

If this is not a personal issue on behalf of the "care" inquiry team then one has to question the real motives behind excluding the only people (Bloggers) who have been a voice for victims and uncovered the truth that has been, and is being, buried by the State Media from media accreditation? Notwithstanding the Inquiry Team is aware that a number of witnesses have only come forward because of this Blog and that of RICO SORDA. Witnesses who WOULD NOT have come forward if VFC and Rico Sorda had not convinced them. Indeed there is a strong argument to suggest, if it wasn't for the Bloggers, there would be no Inquiry at all. We (unlike the State Media) HAVE questioned "The Party Line" and supplied official documents to the few brave politicians who speak out against the Child Abuse cover-up. We have strongly lobbied those former, and present, politicians to keep this subject in the political and public arena. We have been instrumental in the formation of the TOR's the Committee of Inquiry are now working to. It also seems ironic that Bob Hill should also be banned, because if it was not for Bob's amendments to P19/2011 it is almost certain that there would not be a Committee of Inquiry. P19/2011 and its amendments were covered, in-depth, by VFC HERE.  

The "care" inquiry know how trusted the Bloggers are and it knows how untrusted the State Media is yet it bans the trusted Bloggers.

We asked (although we knew the answer) back in March this year if the Bloggers were going to be marginalised by the Inquiry in a Blog posted HERE. The answer is a clear "yes" and if one looks at that link they will see why, if anybody should be excluded from media accreditation, it should be the State Media. The question readers should be asking is why has the State Media got exclusive rights and the Bloggers silenced if the "care" inquiry wants to get the truth out there?

In light of what appears to be an undisclosed, if not nonexistent, appeals process, this blog stands as a challenge to the Inquiry Team to stop banning those who seek to inform the public on the proceedings of what is meant to be a "public" Child Abuse inquiry.

Reasonable minds can certainly agree that to politicise access to key facilities needed to cover these landmark hearings harks back to some of the most concerning problems plaguing the island and, again, shows a terrible insensitivity to the victims, as the "accredited" news organisations approved by Inquiry Judge Oldham have repeatedly denied the extent of their abuse.

It also calls into question the direction of what the island has been repeatedly promised is supposed to be a neutral and independent inquiry. VFC awaits a response as to why it and other independent news sources have been banned and will publicise this matter until it is properly rectified. This inquiry has already struggled to get victims to trust it and to come forward. If it wants the island to truly believe it represents the public interest, it will stop playing politics with news coverage and focus on doing its job.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Stuart Syvret Court Case State Media Interview (uncut)





Former Jersey Senator, and Health Minister, Stuart Syvret, was once more appearing in Jersey's Royal Court today in a case brought by the Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, who's claiming £68,000 supposed Court costs arising out of Mr. Syvret's various attempts to defend himself against the same system that has oppressed and failed so many VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN JERSEY.

Those who have followed the performance of Jersey's so-called  corrupt, politicised and non ARTICLE SIX HUMAN RIGHT COMPLIANT  courts and specifically followers of the "legal" actions consistently brought against Mr. Syvret and in one case "secretly" brought against him, will be aware that the oppressions by Jersey's establishment have left him penniless and without assets.  This does not deter the State from relentlessly pursuing him in court chasing vast amounts of money that they, and everybody else knows, he doesn't have.

It is quite clear, to any reasonable observer, (and the judiciary) that Mr. Syvret has no way of paying these supposed  "costs" arising from his attempts to defend himself against the State,  and the motives behind the pursuance of these monies, and the continuing court actions are highly questionable. Not least, the apparent, non article six Human Right compliant tribunal he was in front of this morning (mentioned in video below).

Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media) attended the Hearing, as did some local State Media (BBC and ITV/CTV). The latter interviewed Mr. Syvret which we filmed in its entirety and offer it to our readers/viewers unedited. Viewers will note that Mr. Syvret had a question of his own for ITV/CTV which has still not been adequately answered.

Regular readers of this Blog will be aware that the State Media published/broadcast a prosecution case (the Wiltshire Report) against (illegally?) suspended former Jersey Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM.

The "prosecution case" against the Police Chief, which was  broadcast and printed by Jersey State media, was commissioned by the disgraced Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, who ultimately dropped  the disciplinary case and in the words of Mr. Power "chickened out of a FAIR FIGHT."

Mr. Power had compiled a 94 page, 62,000 word, interim defence case against the failed and abandoned, politically motivated, disciplinary action. A copy of Mr Power's 94 page report was leaked (by Stuart Syvret) to the discredited, and disgraced BBC (on the 22nd of November 2011) which, despite reporting what was ultimately a failed and abandoned disciplinary case against the Police Chief, the BBC has BURIED MR. POWER'S STATEMENT.

A little known fact is that well over a year ago, Mr. Syvret furnished CTV/ITV, the ITN news franchise in the Channel Island's, with the same document he leaked to the BBC. ITV/CTV also reported on the "prosecution case" against Mr. Power, but just like the BBC has buried the interim defence case and Mr. Syvret, in the interview below, questions CTV/ITV as to when it will be reporting on the many public interest issues revealed in Mr Power's statement and indeed adding balance to the prosecution case it has reported on.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry A Fake, Partial, Incompetent?






Former Jersey Politician, Deputy Daniel Wimberley has issued a Press Release (below) where he raises a number of concerning points involving the actions/inactions of the Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry (COI) and believes it could be a Fake.

Mr. Wimberley worked tirelessly, as a States Member, and continues to work tirelessly, to get to the truth behind the decades of paedophilia/Child Abuse so prevalent on the Island for so long. He, along with the Jersey Care Leavers Association, (JCLA) Team Voice, and a very small number of politicians, was instrumental in the formation of the Terms Of Reference (TOR) for the current Inquiry. Terms Of Reference that were extremely hard fought for against a determined Council Of Ministers (COM) to keep the TOR's to a bare minimum. Which will explain why Mr. Wimberley, and stakeholders, insist they are implemented and not watered down more than they have been by the COM.



ABUSE INQUIRY MAY BE A FAKE SAYS CAMPAIGNER

On the eve of the first public hearings of the child abuse inquiry, the Panel faces the accusation that it is set to be a fake.

Campaigner Daniel Wimberley has put 13 questions to the inquiry chairman, Frances Oldham and her panel.

The questions challenge the panel to pledge that it will take all abuse committed in Jersey as being within its remit and also that it will consider all the issues surrounding the suspension of Chief of Police Graham Power.

“As things stand, there is a bias towards concealment”, said Mr. Wimberley. “The team have narrowed down the inquiry to just children within the care system. And yet Ministers amended the Terms of Reference (TOR) to include “third party providers of services for children and young people”[1] So the Inquiry Panel are going directly against the wishes of the States and their ownTOR. It is completely and utterly unacceptable and so I am asking for an explanation.”

In his letter to the Panel Mr. Wimberley says that his giving evidence depends on getting satisfactory answers. He writes:

“The questions at the foot of this letter are your last chance to show the public in general and stakeholders in particular that you are the real deal, offering a comprehensive, robust and resistant-to-influence inquiry and not a sham and narrow inquiry offering a whitewash. And only then can I consider giving evidence.”

“Jersey is a polarised society” he writes. “where there is widespread cynicism about the way our island is run. The mistrust extends to believing that it is entirely possible that the COI is in fact “in the pocket” of the ruling apparatus and will not recommend anything, and will not allow to be public knowledge, anything that would upset their rule and the way they rule. To have procedures which create difficulties for potential key witnesses, or Terms of Reference which narrow down the scope of the Inquiry would then be interpreted in this light.

The concerns of the public and stakeholders are even more understandable when one recalls that the first inquiries at Hillsborough and in North Wales both failed and had to be repeated for the truth to at last come out. We do not want the same to happen in Jersey.”


ENDS

ATTACHED letter to the abuse inquiry




[1]     TOR 14



Friday, July 18, 2014                                     by email from dwimberley
Dear Chairman and Panel of the Committee of Inquiry into child abuse in Jersey,
Before launching into what this letter is really about, I should perhaps introduce myself to you. I played a leading role in the States in pursuing the issues around the suspension of Chief of Police Graham Power, including the role of the “media consultant” Matt Tapp and the “Interim report of the Metropolitan Police”, and in seeing that the Napier report was commissioned and in securing the very existence of the Committee of Inquiry (COI). [1]
If you inspect Hansard you can confirm that I contributed major speeches in all the big debates in this area and asked numerous States questions.  For me justice for the victims and securing a better and safer future as regards child abuse is intricately linked with the governance of the island. And so to the matter in hand.
Many people: victims, stakeholders, and members of the public had great expectations of the inquiry into child abuse in Jersey.
We wanted to believe that the inquiry would be fearless, comprehensive and independent.
We wanted to believe that after all the evidence had been heard, after the ensuing public attention and debate, after you had written your report and recommendations and after these were acted upon, then Jersey would be in a better place and we could all be certain that systematic child abuse of the kind which happened across the island could never happen again. [2]
But your actions so far have dashed the faith which I, in common with so many others, wanted to place in you.  It looks as if your COI will be a fake. So much so that I am driven to write this letter to you offering a last chance to prove to us all, by answering the questions at the end of this letter in a satisfactory manner, that your Inquiry will not be a fake, but the genuine article.
At the moment this is billed as a “care” inquiry and not as an inquiry into abuse. It is billed as an inquiry into abuse at States-run institutions or programmes (such as fostering) and not as an inquiry into abuse wherever it occurred – be it Victoria College, the Sea Cadets or elsewhere. It is billed as an inquiry into the abuse of children, thus excluding the abuse of young people who would not see themselves as children, when in fact such people can be, and were, abused in Jersey, as I recall.
I describe the actions which have dashed my faith in you in detail in Appendix 1 but in summary:
i)          you have limited the scope of the abuse to be covered by your inquiry;
ii)         you have excluded victims from coming forward by putting out the message that the inquiry is not for them. This is an astonishing outcome for an inquiry into child abuse and is inexcusable.
iii)        in limiting the scope of the inquiry you have set aside the clearly expressed wishes  of the States
iv)        in limiting the scope of the inquiry you have breached your own Terms of Reference (TOR)
v)         you have failed to consult people about the TOR as requested by the States;
vi)        you have failed to consult people on the procedures to be followed at the inquiry, as requested by the States;
vii)       You have maintained that the TOR could not be changed, when this is patently untrue.
viii)      you have undermined your relationship with stakeholders by the way you have treated them
All the above, taken together, looks like incompetence or partiality or both. It also looks like a deliberate attempt to limit the COI. This ties in with the COM’s resistance to widening the scope of the TOR. Many on the island want stuff NOT to come out. The narrowest possible interpretation of the TOR serves this purpose.
Jersey is a polarised society where there is widespread cynicism about the way our island is run.  There are very good reasons for this – such a high degree of mistrust has is likely to be based to a degree on reality. I give you more detail both about the degree of cynicism and mistrust and about the reasons this situation has arisen in Appendix 2.
The concerns of the public and stakeholders are even more understandable when one recalls that the first inquiries at Hillsborough and in North Wales both failed and had to be repeated for the truth to at last come out. We do not want the same to happen in Jersey.
The mistrust extends to believing that it is entirely possible that the COI is in fact “in the pocket” of the ruling apparatus and will not recommend anything,  and will not allow to be public knowledge, anything that would upset their rule and the way they rule. To have procedures which create difficulties for potential key witnesses, or Terms of Reference which narrow down the scope of the Inquiry would then be interpreted in this light.
The credibility of the Inquiry is absolutely essential, as I’m sure you are aware. We all have to be certain that in spite of our worst fears, the Inquiry is not “in the pocket” of the ruling apparatus. To repeat, the questions at the foot of this letter are your last chance to show the public in general and stakeholders in particular that you are the real deal, offering a comprehensive, robust and resistant-to-influence inquiry and not a sham and narrow inquiry offering a whitewash. And only then can I consider giving evidence.
Yours faithfully,

Daniel Wimberley


QUESTIONS FOR THE COI

NOTE many of these questions are capable of a Yes/No answer. In all cases the answer Yes is the answer which will demonstrate to me that you intend this inquiry to be comprehensive, robust and truly independent and influence-proof.

1
You have excluded a certain victim, and this is not a hypothesis but a fact. It is likely given the limits you have placed up to now on this COI,  that she is not alone and that others have got the message that this inquiry is nothing to do with them.

So my first question to you is this: do you see that this incident is extremely damaging to the credibility of your Inquiry? Some victims of abuse will be heard, some will not.

2
Will the Inquiry include in its remit abuse as it affected not only children but also young people in Jersey?
Will the Inquiry include in its remit abuse carried out in organisations, institutions, settings not run directly by the States?
Will the Inquiry include in its remit abuse carried out in organisations, institutions, settings not providing “care” to young people or children, but rather doing any other provision?
Will the Inquiry include in its remit abuse carried out within families, or by organised groups, but not covered by the above? In particular will the Inquiry include in its remit the response of teachers, schools, and the education authority, and the response of Social Services to reports or evidence of such abuse?

3
Will the COI include in its remit both independent and in-house reports and investigations relevant to the abuse being considered by the COI in all of the “period under review” as defined in TOR 1 (and not just “after 2007” as per TOR 6)?

4
Will the COI include in its remit the following issues: the suspension of Graham Power, the denigration of the SIO (Senior Investigating Officer), the handling of the changeover from the Power / Harper team to the Warcup / Gradwell team, the handling of the evidence, and so on?

The reason I ask this is that in your reply to this point Peter Jones wrote:

“In relation to paragraph seven of your letter, and the list of issues that you set out, the extent to which they (and any number of possible permutations of evidence) will be examined will depend on what evidence emerges, and where that evidence needs to be pursued, given the focus that the Inquiry must necessarily have on its Terms of Reference.  Many of the Terms of Reference will call for consideration of the motivation of people who have done things, as much as the acts themselves. But the starting point will be whether the Terms of Reference are engaged on the evidence, and where does the evidence then need to be followed?”  (my emphasis)

In other words the COI will follow where the evidence leads – but only if where it leads is within the TOR. But surely what matters is: are these questions important – and not “are they within the TOR”?

Clearly then, if these matters are to be taken seriously, then they should be made explicit within the TOR. You have refused my request to include them in the TOR, hence this request that you formally state that these essential matters will be treated in the same way as any other important evidence, and not just politely listened to but not heard, because they are not explicitly mentioned in the TOR

5
It is quite clear that the COM and States members expected you to consult and instructed you to consult, on the TOR, but you did not. Why?
6
Why did the legal team insist that the TOR could not be changed, when in fact they can?
7
Will you adopt from now on appropriately inclusive language in all communications? Thus: referring to “children and young people” and not just “children”; referring to care settings, schools, youth work, remand centres, indeed any setting and abuse conducted in no “setting” at all? – and not just “care”?

8
Any victim of abuse outside the care system may think – ‘this Inquiry is nothing to do with me’ because of its name. What exactly will the Inquiry do to address this issue?

9
In the light of the above two questions, how will you correct the false impression given in the past that this COI is only concerned with abuse which happened to people “in care”?

Please outline the steps you will take to reach witnesses with this new approach, and to encourage them to come forward.

10
Will you have a set target time for oral evidence to appear on the Inquiry website? Will you publish reasons for any failure to meet your own target? Will documents read by the COI appear immediately on the website? Will these documents be properly searchable as with the Hillsborough Inquiry?

11
What is the research capacity of this inquiry? And what will the Panel do if the research staff prove to be not enough?

In asking this I have in mind some potentially large users of research capacity: contacts with the Jersey care system from authorities in the UK such as Birmingham, Islington etc.; research into how out of line Jersey is statistically both with the scale of historical abuse and with the continuing spate of cases of abuse, online pornography, grooming and so on (in other words, is there a Jersey factor”?) ; situations where you have to soldier through vast amounts of emails.

12
The Lord Chief Justice said in September 2012, concerning the Hillsborough disaster, and the ensuing inquiry and inquests, that there had been “deliberate misinformation surrounding the disaster” [3]   If you find this is the case in Jersey, what will the Panel do?

13
If you find evidence of criminal behaviour, (which has not been before the courts already) what action will you take?

14
How did the name “Independent Jersey Care Inquiry” come to be given to the inquiry? When was it suggested and by whom?


Thank you in advance for answering these questions.


I would point out that if I say that other stakeholders will take note of your response to my questions, I think you can see that this is a true statement.  The reputation, possibly the continued existence of the COI, is at stake here.


APPENDIX 1
i)         you have limited the scope of the abuse to be covered by your inquiry;
your website
Here is the text of a news update on your Inquiry website dated July 8th 2014 which appeals for more people to come forward in the following words:
“Anyone with experience of the island's care system, including those who were abused or worked within it, is invited to get in touch with the Inquiry team” (news item for July 8th. http://www.jerseycareinquiry.org/news?newsid=25)
The people who were abused or who worked in Jersey schools, youth organisations, remand centres do not get a mention. People who may have been abused outside any formal or semi-formal setting do not get a mention.  All such people are not invited.
Opening speech by the chair
How did the COI end up with such an extraordinary limitation? Well, it happened from day 1. The chairman’s opening speech at the first preliminary hearing on April 3rd showed that she actually does think that this inquiry is only about abuse which happened in care. Again and again she referred to “care” and “care system” and “children’s’ homes and foster care.” No other setting was specifically mentioned, so far as I can see. For the many extracts which prove this point please see Appendix 3.
In particular she interpreted TOR 8, which is about “how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how, and to whom, they were reported,” as only being about children in care, when in fact TOR 8 is completely open and could and should be interpreted to be about all abuse. [4]
The choice of name for the inquiry
The COI is now known as the “Independent Jersey Care Inquiry.” And yet the COI has always been referred to in the States as an ‘Inquiry into child abuse’ or the “Historical Abuse Inquiry.” [5] And of course that is what it is – or should be. So why was the name changed? This needs an explanation as the implications of this name change have been profound.


ii)        you have excluded victims from coming forward by putting out the message that the inquiry is not for them. This is an astonishing outcome for an inquiry into child abuse and is inexcusable.
Your actions have led to at least one victim being told directly that the Inquiry did not apply to her. She was excluded by your Inquiry.
What happened was this.[6] A victim of serious abuse [7] asked your legal team words to the effect of ‘is it (the Inquiry) only for children in care?’ The answer was effectively ‘yes.’
She is almost certainly not the only one as your website, as quoted above, sets out to exclude  any victim who was not in care.
This matter is at the heart of my complaint to you. You have excluded certain victims, and this is not a hypothesis but a fact. So my first question to you is this: do you see that this incident destroys the credibility of your Inquiry? Some victims of abuse will be heard, some will not. And my second question to you is this: What are you going to do about it?
iii)       in limiting the scope of the inquiry you have set aside the clearly expressed wishes of the States
The title of the proposition setting up the COI was “COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY: HISTORICAL CHILD ABUSE.” The report accompanying the proposition opened with these words: “This proposition, seeking the establishment of a Committee of Inquiry into Historical Child Abuse in Jersey, reflects both the belief of the Council of Ministers that this course of action is the correct one for the whole community and that it is the will of the States, following the approval of P.19/2011” And paragraph a) of what the States passed , for the avoidance of all doubt, was: “to agree that a Committee of Inquiry should be established in accordance with Standing Order 146 to enquire into a definite matter of public importance, namely historical child abuse in Jersey;”  (my emphasis)
It could not be clearer. I am minded to ask: did your Panel read the report and proposition? And if so, how did the COI change into the “Independent Jersey Care Inquiry”? This feeds into the suspicion surrounding this COI, that certain areas are being excluded deliberately.
iv)        in limiting the scope of the inquiry you have breached your own Terms of  Reference (TOR)
The wishes of the States are of course ultimately embodied in the actual words of the proposition as approved, which in this case include the TOR.
Two of the TOR specifically point to a wider interpretation than the “care settings only” one which you seem to have adopted.  TOR 2 reads:
Determine the organisation (including recruitment and supervision of staff), management, governance and culture of children’s homes and any other establishments caring for children, run by the States and in other non-States run establishments providing for children, where abuse has been alleged, in the period under review and consider whether these aspects of these establishments were adequate.” (my emphasis)
And TOR 14 reads:
“14.     Set out what lessons can be learned for the current system of residential and foster care services in Jersey and for third party providers of services for children and young people in the Island.”  (my emphasis)
Clearly for these two TOR’s to be properly investigated, children and young people in such non-care and non-States settings would have to give evidence, and for that to happen the Inquiry has to actively seek them out. Instead, as we have seen, they are excluded, because only people who have been in care are invited or even considered.
You might wish to argue that TOR’s 2 and 14 mean that accounts of abuse in non-States run organisations need not be considered, but only evidence about the “organisation (including recruitment and supervision of staff), management, governance and culture” of such organisations.
But this is to strain credulity. Such a reading is possible but would lead to extraordinary hair-splitting as witnesses gave evidence – ‘you can say this, no, you can’t say that.’ And it flatly contradicts the intentions of the States.
The Amendment which inserted the words in italics into TOR’s 2 and 14 as cited above was tabled on 27th February 2013 by the Council of Ministers (COM).  The opening words of the Report accompanying this Amendment are as follows:
“The Council of Ministers, having discussed the amendments to Terms of Reference with Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade and the Attorney General, is of the view that it is reasonable to expect that children who may have suffered abuse in non-States run establishments and third party providers of services for children may also wish to be able to raise their concerns with the Committee of Inquiry. The further amendments outlined in (a) and (c) above (sic) therefore intended to widen the scope of the terms of reference beyond that of States-run establishments, as described.”  (my emphasis)
So the intention is clear: the COI must cover non-States run establishments and must cover providers of “services” and not just providers of care.
In ignoring the wishes of the States in this way you are setting aside months of struggle to have truly comprehensive TOR. 
I am minded to ask: if your Panel read the proposition and if you read the reports which accompany the original proposition and the third amendment and if you did study the TOR themselves and dig into their implications, then how could you find yourselves in the situation you now find yourselves in?
It is abundantly clear that this is an Inquiry into child abuse, and that the intention was quite rightly, to cover all abuse in the island, wherever it occurred. How else can the COI get the full picture? And how else can the Panel make effective recommendations?
v)         you have failed to consult people about the TOR as requested by the States;
There can be no dispute that this is a true statement. When the States set up the COI they agreed under paragraph e)
“that the proposed Chairman should be requested to recommend any final changes to the Terms of Reference for the Committee of Inquiry referred to in paragraph (b) above for approval by the Assembly, and also to set out the proposed process for conducting the Inquiry having consulted with interested parties where necessary;”  (P.118/2012, paragraph e)) [8]
The point was spelt out repeatedly in the debate, as I showed in my submission to you about suggested improvements to the TOR. It is quite clear that the COM and States members expected you to consult and instructed you to consult, on the TOR. But you did not. The question is: why?
vi)        you have failed to consult people on the procedures to be followed at the inquiry, as requested by the States;
Paragraph e) quoted in the preceding section applies here also. You were requested by the States to “set out the proposed process for conducting the Inquiry having consulted with interested parties where necessary.”
Your not doing so had important consequences. Stakeholders were put in an impossible position, thus seriously eroding trust. 
In an email dated 17th April, I wrote this to the legal team:
………………………
“I too may wish to become an IP (Interested Party) - however I cannot decide this due to the reasons before cited on the various threads. But I am concerned that if one's application for IP is not put forward within the "deadline" - which as I have pointed out does not appear in the General Procedures protocol -  then the process is subject to the caveat that the Panel will deal with it when they can. So, assuming that after all the clarifications and negotiations which will take place, I do decide to ask for IP status, then the COI may proceed gaily for months before I get it. This would mean that all that had transpired before that time would be inaccessible to me.

So applying for IP status later down the line is very much a second best for the person concerned. And yet, as I have said in my previous email today: “the problem (of unresolved issues within the protocols) exists solely because the inquiry has pressed ahead with these without any consultation in direct contradiction with what the States charged the COI to do at paragraph e) of the proposition which set the COI up.” So why should I be made to suffer because of the failings OF THE COI?”
(My emphasis)
Under Standing order 147 you may have had the right to do what you did and write the protocols in private and then release them to the world, [9] but in doing this you created serious problems which could, and should, have been avoided. The burden of these problems fell entirely on stakeholders, and not on you.

vii)      You have maintained that the TOR could not be changed, when this is patently untrue.
At the very first meeting with them on April 3rd, immediately after the preliminary hearing, your agents i.e. Eversheds legal team told stakeholders that the TOR ‘could not be changed.’ Later they told Carrie Modral of the Jersey Care Leavers’ Association that they were ‘set in stone.’ This is untrue, as we demonstrated to them. When this line evaporated your Eversheds moved to a different position, in this email of 10th April:
“First, any Inquiry - including this Inquiry - is bound to investigate such matters that are referred to it from the appointing body, as set out in the Terms of Reference. It has no power or authority to inquire into matters that go beyond those terms of reference. It was for this reason that I set out to Carrie Modral that the Terms of Reference set the boundaries for what the Inquiry can, and cannot, do.

Further, no Inquiry has the power to extend its own terms of reference.  That can only be done by the appointing party, in this case the States of Jersey.  In the event that the Inquiry Panel wished to extend or clarify its Terms of Reference, I anticipate that the Inquiry Panel would need to go back to the States for clarification/modification.

I interpret your email and your letter on behalf of the signatories to be an application that the Inquiry should invite an extension to its own Terms of Reference.”
Quite. So why could the legal team not have come clean about this in the first place, and told us that yes, it is open for people to suggest changes to the TOR and these will be considered?
To maintain from our first meeting on April 3rd that it was not possible to suggest changes, and again to Carrie Modral, and then to say, well yes, it is possible and you just did not put it quite right gives a strong impression of deceit. It is exactly what we had to contend with in the States repeatedly, namely the use of words to obscure rather than to illuminate, the use of language to obstruct instead of to assist. It does not inspire confidence in the Panel when your agents behave in exactly the same obfuscating and obstructive way as the Ministers whose words and actions you will be scrutinising.

viii)     you have treated stakeholders in a way which has undermined your relationship with them.

Sections v) and vi) and vii) above describe how stakeholders could not engage with you over key matters of procedure (in effect you shielded yourselves from them and their concerns) (sections v) and vi)), were misled by words which were in a very strict sense true, but to any lay person were untrue, (section vi)), and put at a disadvantage (section vii)).

I believe this damage to the relationship with stakeholders could have been avoided.  In retrospect maybe you think so too.

Taken together this is a sorry state of affairs. These are your witnesses, these are the activists, the very people who desperately want this inquiry to get to the truth, yet it seems as if they are not wanted – the very same syndrome I have noted under section i) above.

I am not asking that there should have been privileged access. Of course all stakeholders would have been able contributed to any possible improvements to the TOR and to the formation of the protocols. Yes it would needed careful handling, but it would have avoided the damage.



APPENDIX 2

I stated that such depth of mistrust does not spring up entirely by itself from nowhere. It is fed, constantly, by the actions of the ruling apparatus. The evidence is out there on the blogs and occasionally in the mainstream media. To mention just three recent examples, there was the pledge made in the hustings for the position of Treasury Minister by the current holder of that office, that “I will not increase GST (Goods and Service Tax)” which was then broken. The excuse given, namely that the world economic situation went unexpectedly into meltdown was nionsense as the meltdown was well and truly under way when he made the pledge.

There was the golden handshake of over ½ million for the Chief Executive at the time of the suspension of Graham Power, Bill Ogley, which many believe was the price for silence.  There was the raid on Stuart Syvret’s house when the police not only arrived on his doorstep in large numbers to enforce an infringement of the Data Protection Law, but took his partner’s box of evidence about planning graft!  There was the absurd use of the DP law to silence a blogger. There are 8 or 9 examples of dishonesty in my proposition to deal with States members misleading each other in the States Assembly (P.169/2011).

This mistrust was noted by the former Chief of Police for Jersey Graham Power

“. . . .The challenge of achieving this (viz. establishing in the public mind that the police would behave with independence and integrity) is comparably difficult in Jersey.  In the U.K. and other  jurisdictions the authorities may have their  problems, but it would  be unusual to find any comparable part  of the  British  Isles where  suspicion and cynicism regarding those  in authority was so ingrained  in the  popular culture.”   [10]

Any incumbent of that role gets a pretty close-up and immediate view of a society. The words above come from his submission to a disciplinary inquiry into his conduct of Operation Rectangle and so can reasonably be taken as a considered view. Further credibility is given by his CV, as reported by himself.   [11]


APPENDIX 3

These are extracts from the chairman’s opening speech at the first preliminary hearing of the COI on April 3rd 2014 which showed that she actually does think that this inquiry is only about abuse which happened in care.

All emphases are of course mine.

Extract 1
The Inquiry has been set up to establish what went wrong in the Island’s care system over many years and to find answers for people who suffered abuse as children. We have been asked by the States of Jersey to investigate the abuse and mistreatment of children placed in children’s’ homes and in foster care in Jersey from the Second World War.”
Lines 26-30
Extract 2
5. On 6 March 2013 the States Assembly agreed the Terms of Reference for a public inquiry to undertake a wide-ranging investigation into historical child abuse in Jersey.”
Lines 36-37
NOTE:  I include the above quote for the sake of completeness and balance. It is indeed there, but it is the only reference to this form of words. Everywhere else this COI is about the care system and children in care.
Extract 3
 “Our purpose is to establish the truth; the truth about what happened to children in residential and foster homes
lines 43-44
Extract 4
 “In summary . . . . . . Finally, we will consider what lessons can be learned for the current system of residential and foster care services in Jersey and make recommendations for the future of those services.”
Lines 48, 59-61
Extract 5
 “TERMS OF REFERENCE
……..
A. Establishing the extent of abuse in Jersey’s children’s’ homes and other statutory child care provision since 1945 – how pervasive was abuse in the statutory care system?
B. What systems operated in the child care system within which abuse took place and how effective were these?
C. Who was accountable for the running and oversight of residential child care ?
Lines 93-98
Extract 6
 “45. I recognise that the Inquiry asks a great deal of you (this refers to the abuse survivors) : quite simply , that you should come and tell us about what happened to you as a child - an account of your life both before being taken into care and whilst in care. We want to hear about how you were treated; complaints you may have made etc. . . .
lines 249-252
Extract 7
 “51. The eighth Term of Reference asks us to consider who raised concerns about abuse, and to whom, and what, if anything, was done about them. It also invites us to conduct an historical review of the systems in place for handling the disclosure of abuse by children. Although not expressed as such, we will be looking at disclosure of abuse within the setting of children in care.
Lines 283-287
NOTE: This extract is especially revealing. The TOR 8 does not specify which settings abuse occurred. It reads: “Identify how and by what means concerns about abuse were raised and how, and to whom, they were reported . . .”  Yet the chair assumes that the TOR must be limited to “disclosure of abuse within the setting of children in care.
Extract 8
 “70. Evidence in relation to the 14th Term of Reference will be taken in 3rd Phase of the Inquiry, by which time we will have gathered a wealth of evidence.
71. We will hear evidence from those who have conducted recent reports on statutory child care provision in Jersey; experts in this field and independent of the States. We will also be assisted by witnesses from the relevant departments, giving their views on the lessons to be learned. We wish to set out clear recommendations for the future structure and management of statutory child care services in Jersey.
72. The purpose and value of this 14th Term of Reference, and indeed the 15th Te r m  of Ref e r e n c e ,  c a n n o t  b e  u n d e r e s t i m a t e d . I t  i s  t o  s e t  o u t  w h a t  l e s s o n s can be learned for the benefit of child and foster care services in Jersey”
Lines 379-390
NOTE: The actual TOR 14 is:   “Set out what lessons can be learned for the current system of residential and foster care services in Jersey and for third party providers of services for children and young people in the Island.” So the words added by amendment by the COM are left out.








[1]     I know the official title is the “The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry”. However this title is so seriously misleading that I refuse to use it. The issue of the name of the Inquiry and what the Panel propose to do about it is dealt with in Appendix 1 sections i) and iii).
[2]    Also that non-systematic abuse, for example abuse occurring within a family, would be better understood, better picked up, and better dealt with across the board.
[3]     Source: BBC PM programme, Eddie Mair prepared intro , Monday 321st march 2014
[4]     For the actual words spoken by the chair and the text of the TOR see Appendix zzz, extract number zzz
[5]     Often with the unfortunate addition of the word “historical” which implies that all this is in a rain-filled and miserable past which has nothing whatever to do with the present. As you know, this is far from the truth.
[6]    This is a second hand account from a source I take to be reliable. Hence I do not use direct quote marks (“…”) but single apostrophes (‘…’) by which I mean – this is the gist of what was said.
[7]    I make no judgement as to whether the abuse happened or not, just as your inquiry would not make such a judgement before hearing the evidence.
[9]    I am not clear whether an explicit instruction from the States overrides what is stated in Standing Orders. SO 147 is not prescriptive but uses the word “may,” which means that you had total discretion, and you chose to override the request of the States. For ease of reference, here is the text of the SO: “147 Committee of inquiry: proceedings: (1) A committee of inquiry may regulate its own procedure for the conduct and management of its proceedings including, but not limited to, venue and adjournments”

[10]     From   Graham Power’s Statement to the Wiltshire Police disciplinary Inquiry, Para 292, July 2009. This can be found reprinted at http://stuartsyvret.blogspot.co.uk/2012_08_01_archive.html  in a blog post dated August 4th 2012.
[11]     I successfully applied for a place at Queen’s College Oxford where I read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. During my time at University my senior tutor (and subsequently Provost of the College) was the late Geoffrey Marshall who was the author of the book “Police and Government” and an authority on the relationship between senior police leadership and the political authorities.
In my service as a senior officer I have worked in partnership with a range of political groups and interests.   For example, in Cleveland there were some sharp divisions between traditional “Old Labour” representatives and those who were seen as more left wing and radical.   In North Yorkshire there was strong political representation of traditional and landed interests.   In Scotland, Police Authorities, and both local and national government were sometimes strongly divided between Nationalist, Devolutionist and Unionist interests. There were also sometimes sharp divisions along sectarian lines.
I consider myself to be experienced in working in challenging political environments and aware of the need to strike a balance between proper political accountability of the police service and the need to be independent, both in terms of reality and perception, in the delivery of operational policing.”  (Affidavit by Graham Power written at the request of Stuart Syvret, 2nd May, 2011)(END)

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VFC takes the view that it is possibly too early to judge the Inquiry  and is not judging it, although does share the concerns (and others) of former Deputy Wimberley, and await the answers, from the Inquiry Team, to his questions.

We have no idea, as yet, wether this Inquiry is going to be a whitewash, or not, which is why it is imperative that anybody who believes they have evidence that would/could be of use to the Inquiry  should submit it.

Contact details for the Inquiry can be found HERE. The Jersey Care Leavers Association can also be contacted should anybody want help or advice, either about the Inquiry or submitting evidence. They can be reached by phone 01534-738351 or e-mailed at jerseycareleavers@gmail.com

For those who have doubts about the Inquiry it is important to note that it is "the only gig in town" if it has no evidence to work with then it cannot be blamed for burying it, it cannot be expected to discover the truth, and it cannot be expected to reach a definitive conclusion.

It should also be noted that a number of Victims/Survivors who have given statements to the Inquiry have been impressed with the way they were treated and due to the positive way they were treated are now willing to appear as a live witness.

We are also led to believe that (illegally?) suspended former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM has spent a number of days giving testimony to the Inquiry Team and his experience/judgement of the Team is as positive as that of the Victims/Survivors.

As Jersey doesn't have a mainstream media that scrutinises, challenges, hold's to account, or questions any Party Line, it is left to Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media)/campaigners to ask these questions and scrutinise Party Lines. Indeed it is argued that if we did have a fit for purpose mainstream media on the Island then the horrific abuse inflicted on our children for decades could/would never have happened for so long in the first place. Team Voice WILL continue to hold the Child Abuse Inquiry to account because in that respect Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media)/campaigners are the only gig in town.

The Inquiry Team closely monitor this Blogsite (and other Blogsites) so will be aware of this posting and we offer a right of reply to the Team, and an opportunity to answer Mr. Wimberley's questions, which will be considered for publication as our next posting.