Wednesday, 11 November 2009
On Armistice Day 2008 – 11th November – Mr Graham Power, the Chief of the States of Jersey Police, a very senior, highly qualified and decorated, uniformed officer with 42 years in the service of Her Majesty the Queen was on holiday at home when he received a phone call from the then Deputy Andrew Lewis the Minister for Home Affairs.
The phone call from the very recently appointed Minister was to invite Mr Power to attend a meeting the following day (12th) along with Mr Bill Ogley (CEO of the Council of Ministers),the Head of Human Resources and Police Officer David Warcup.
Warcup had in August 2008, with the authority of Graham Power, commissioned the Metropolitan Police to review “Operation Rectangle” aka the historic abuse inquiry and an interim report by the Met was prepared for the 10th November and handed to Warcup on that day and to the Minister on the 11th.
On the evening of 11th November Police Officers Warcup and Gradwell had briefed the Council of Ministers about the interim report and a proposed Press Conference to be held the following day (12th) which would rubbish much of the “Operation Rectangle” investigations carried out under Deputy Chief Police Officer Lennie Harper’s supervision.
At the brief meeting, (for which Bill Ogley famously destroyed his hand written notes) commencing at 11am on the 12th Minister Lewis produced a letter which quoted from the interim report and advised Mr Power that he was to be immediately suspended from duty claiming that “this is a precautionary suspension only and does not imply that any conclusions have been reached about your alleged role in the management of the historic abuse inquiry at this stage.”
However, as is now known - following Mr Power’s successful Complaints Board Hearing against Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur for the release of information - the decision to suspend Mr Power was clearly made on or before Saturday 8th November because that was when the suspension notice was prepared.
In other words, the DECISION to suspend Mr Power was made BEFORE the Met interim report was published.
Yet, the reasons offered in support of Mr Power’s suspension on the 12th November were wholly related to his alleged failings with regard to the management of “Operation Rectangle”.
This blatant contradiction is just one small piece in this strange jigsaw.
Mr Power has subsequently had judgment against him in the Jersey Royal Court re his Judicial Review of his suspension and he represented himself.
The current Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand now says that he reviews the suspension every month - but it is not clear if the original reasons for the suspension are now valid or if some other complaints have been raised .
It seems that Mr Power does not know why he is suspended and the tax - paying public certainly have no idea.
Everything about this year old case is something of a mystery and lives are being damaged and reputations destroyed.
There is no cause for celebration in this anniversary and we do wonder whether ex Deputy Andrew Lewis will be the one chosen as the sacrificial offering when our government finally seeks to close this particular file.
Below is an interview with Deputy Bob Hill who tries to make some sense of all this.