On February the 23rd 2010 we published THIS Blog posting. In the Blog posting former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM told us, (among many other revelations) “I do not have the technical capability to insert my comments alongside those of Andrew Lewis. It may therefore be necessary for the reader to be in possession of the comments of the former Minister while reading my comments. If this causes difficulty I apologise. It is the best I can do with the resources available.”
In order to assist readers/viewers and indeed, former CPO Power QPM we have decided, to publish a “REDACTED” version of the original post. We have concentrated on this sentence from Graham Power QPM “I do not have the technical capability to insert my comments alongside those of Andrew Lewis."
We hope that this will be helpful to readers and all involved. Although we do strongly suggest reading the original post.
Former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis released his statement in Response to P9/2010 submitted by Deputy Bob Hill, and the sworn AFFIDAVIT of Graham Power QPM.
1. I have sympathy for the concerns that Mr Power has for his family but it must be pointed out that the reason that his daughter became aware of his plight whilst driving to work in Australia was because Mr Power, upon leaving the meeting with me and Mr Ogley at Cyril Le Marquand House, went directly to the BBC radio station to make a statement despite being advised not to do so. This story was immediately syndicated across the world.
1. In this paragraph Mr Lewis attempts to blame me for the publicity regarding the suspension. During the suspension interview he made it clear that it had already been decided that he and the then Chief Minister (who had no lawful role in the matter whatsoever) would shortly be giving a press conference, the arrangements for which had been put in place the previous day, presumably in anticipation of the outcome of the suspension meeting on 12th. It is natural and understandable that in light of this information I should decide to ensure that my side of the story was given comparable coverage.
2. Mr Power also suggests that I should have discussed my actions with the previous Minister Senator Wendy Kinnard before carrying them out. In the context of the reasons for his suspension this would have been quite inappropriate as the Minister had handed over responsibility for oversight of the abuse inquiry many months before due a conflict of interest.
4. Mr Power also claims that the code was rewritten hours before it was invoked, this is quite misleading. The nature of the code was not rewritten it was simply amended for use under the new ministerial government system, which involved replacing the word committee with that of minister. The same has applied to numerous documents right across the States since the inception of ministerial government
5. Both Mr Power and Deputy Hill claim that the decision to suspend the Chief of Police was somehow rushed, “done on a whim with little consideration and without seeking advise”. I refute this suggestion most strongly. I had been aware for sometime of concerns about the command and control of the Child Abuse enquiry and in my capacity as Minister had been regularly briefed by the Deputy Chief Officer on the progress of an independent review of the case, being carried out by The Metropolitan Police.
6. Mr Power had also been regularly briefed on the progress of the review in even more detail than I. He was also informed that the Deputy Chief Of Police was planning to brief Ministers on the 11thNovember on the findings of the review that were expected to be shocking. Despite this Mr Power decided to go on holiday. I questioned this with him but he claimed that there was nothing in the Met report to be concerned about. Subsequent revelations that are now well documented were of course quite the opposite.
9. I am deeply concerned that the subsequent enquiry into this matter conducted by Wiltshire constabulary has taken so long. I was advised that such an investigation would only take until March 2009. The longer such matters are left the more open they are to wild allegations of conspiracy. Such allegations I most strongly refute. The reasons for suspension were compelling; the process was diligent, professional and painstakingly considered in accordance with the disciplinary code. I took full legal and HR advice from highly competent professionals and followed the prescribed procedure of the day.
Having concluded my comments on the recent release by Andrew Lewis, I now offer the following thoughts:
Among all of the conflicting accounts and confusion a number of things appear to be evident. Nobody appears to dispute that important evidence, in the form of the original record of the suspension meeting was wilfully destroyed.
There is evidence that suspension documents which bore the date 12th November 2008 and which claimed to be in response to information received the previous day, were, shall we say, deficient in authenticity.
There is an apparent conflict between things said in the legally admissible statement made by Andrew Lewis and the things which he is saying now. There might be an explanation for this, although none is immediately apparent.
In these circumstances I believe that there is a compelling case for a full independent investigation with intrusive legal powers, into the actions of Andrew Lewis and others on and around 12th November 2008 and that given the circumstances, a full criminal investigation, by an independent police force, may be appropriate. This is of course a matter for others to decide. Nevertheless, notwithstanding my effective dismissal from the police service, I remain fully committed to support any enquiry, criminal or otherwise, into the events of November 2008.