Friday, 8 October 2010
Napier - Initial observations from Graham Power QPM.
The long awaited Napier Report has finally been published. Without having read it all I will not offer my conclusions or thoughts on it just yet. But Team Voice, in the coming weeks, will be examining its contents and trying to discover, among other things, how the Terms Of Reference in the final Report managed to change from those it was supposed to begin with and who in the Chief Minister's office, or elsewhere, might have/could have "doctored" them?
As was the case with the Wiltshire Report, unlawfully and unfairly, suspended former CPO Graham Power QPM has not been kept informed, by the Jersey authorities, of the development(s) concerning the Brian Napier QC Report. However he has now been able to obtain a copy, and after an initial reading of it, has sent out, to the "accredited" and "unaccredited" media, his immediate thoughts and observations in a "briefing note".
As former CPO Mr. Power QPM has published this as "Briefing note 1" we must assume there will be more to follow!!!
Although there are many sentences or paragraphs I could highlight from this briefing note here are just two that stand out.
"The case against me was based on the evidence of a number of key witnesses whose credibility is, to say the least, seriously damaged by the revelations in the Napier report."
And to show that he has not lost sight of who the most important people are in all of this, and credit for him for doing so, he says this.
"Finally, I should at least record my hope that the inevitable controversy in high places which will follow the publication of the Napier report does not divert attention from the people who are the most important in the whole affair, namely the survivors and victims of the sexual abuse which took place in institutions managed by the States of Jersey, and who were denied the chance of justice for decades before the commencement of “Operation Rectangle.”
The “Napier Report”
Briefing note 1.
This briefing note has been prepared by Graham Power QPM, retired Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police. It is intended to assist editors in reporting on the “Napier Report” which I understand has just been made available to the public. The observations below are based on an initial quick read of the report. I have not been provided with a copy, or indeed any relevant information, by the Jersey Authorities. In no particular order my first observations are as follows:
1. Para 45. It is unusual for there to be a public release of advice given by the Law Officers, but editors may find the information in this paragraph particularly revealing. Its presentation is also consistent with the style of the report which sometimes does not “flag up” key pieces of information but rather leaves them for the carful reader to discover in the text. It is also sometimes necessary to read together paragraphs which appear in separate parts of the report. Paragraph 45 appears to say that the Law Officers advised that if a report from the Metropolitan Police was to be relied on for the suspension then there must be “no caveats or provisos” in the report. Paragraph 69 makes it clear that the report when received was in fact heavily qualified. Subsequent paragraphs show that the relevant parties pressed ahead regardless. The implication of these paragraphs, taken together, is that actions were taken contrary to legal advice.
2. Paragraphs 55 (particularly the second half) and paragraph 79. These appear to state that a resolve had formed “at the highest level of the administration” to pursue the suspension of the Chief Officer and that this resolve had been formed as early as September 2008, perhaps two months before the “decision” was allegedly taken. Editors may feel that this contradicts what has been for almost two years the “official version” of events, namely that the decision was taken following the receipt of a report on 11th November 2008.
3. Paragraph 80. Following the above the author refers to preparations for suspension which were taking place in October 2008. In Mr Napier’s view there was “little objective basis” for such preparations.
4. Paragraph 73. This paragraph records the denial of Andrew Lewis that he was coerced in taking his decision to suspend by the then Chief Minister, Frank Walker. However, editors may find it helpful to read this paragraph in conjunction with paragraph 22 which records the observation by Lewis that he was “coming under a lot of pressure from his fellow politicians.” Also relevant is paragraph 44 which refers to a meeting on 3rd November 2008 which was to discuss the possibility of suspension. The persons present were Bill Ogley, Ian Crich and Frank Walker. Andrew Lewis, the only person with the power to suspend, was not present. This appears to run contrary to the claims made in paragraph 73.
5. Paragraphs 66 to 68. These paragraphs cover some of the ground which was debated during the Judicial Review hearings and give support to the view that once he had been suspended from duty it was highly improbable that the Chief Officer would return to work. Or to put it plainly, what was being considered was effectively dismissal. It may be useful to read these comments in conjunction with paragraph 82 which records that once Mr Warcup had submitted his letter in support of the suspension process, his position would be untenable should I ever return. Mr Napier does not explore whether the letter was written against a background of any assurances on that issue. It would however seem unlikely that the matter was not discussed or at least considered.
6. Paragraph 97 refers to, but does not entirely resolve, the reference in the suspension documents to a meeting “earlier today” when it is now agreed by all sides that no such meeting happened.
7. Paragraph 98 raises but is not able to resolve the conflict between the different versions of the “interim report.” During the disciplinary enquiry I was provided with a document which was said to be the document provided to Mr Warcup. It is a memorandum written by a civilian employee of the Metropolitan Police which expresses heavily qualified personal views some of which are positive and some of which are critical. It makes no claim to be a corporate document written on behalf of the Metropolitan Police as an organisation. The document shown by others to Mr Napier, although containing the same words, is apparently packaged and presented as an official Metropolitan Police report. At this time I choose not to speculate further on this matter.
8. Paragraph 101. This might usefully be read in conjunction with the above. In it Mr Napier tactfully, but nevertheless plainly enough, challenges the confidentiality of the “interim report.” This is important because it was apparently on grounds of operational confidentiality that both Andrew Lewis and Bill Ogley were denied sight of the report, in apparent conflict with the advice of the Law Officers Department. Editors may also recall that over one year after the suspension the current Minister for Home Affairs also stated that he had not seen the report on similar grounds. I have a copy of the report. There are no operational issues in the report which cannot be managed by simple redaction, and in any event, operational matters were not the issue in question. The relevant part of the report deals with management issues which have no particular sensitivity. Mr Napier appears to be unable to find any serious justification for the full report being withheld from the Minister and nor can I. This difficulty may of course be capable of being explained away. However, in the absence of a credible explanation there will inevitably be speculation. It is probable that this speculation will involve discussion of whether the full report “lives up to” the claims made in the selected summary on the basis of which Andrew Lewis claims to have acted. The implication in the Napier report is that it does not.
9. Other issues in the report are self evident and I will not comment in detail at this time. The report plainly states that a resolve to suspend was formed during a number of secret meetings and exchanges over a period weeks, or even months before the “official” decision was taken. It states that the Disciplinary Code was wrongly applied, it states that there was insufficient evidence to justify suspension and that other solutions could and should have been attempted. It is clear in stating that I was treated unfairly. The report is right to state that I was subject to a number of allegations, but in the event none of these allegations came to anything. There were no disciplinary charges and there was no disciplinary hearing. All disciplinary action was abandoned after a period of over a year and a half and well over one million pounds of expenditure. I have always denied any misconduct or mismanagement whatsoever in relation the Historic Abuse Enquiry and I still do. If I had been given a chance to put my case to a proper independent hearing then I expected to be exonerated. The case against me was based on the evidence of a number of key witnesses whose credibility is, to say the least, seriously damaged by the revelations in the Napier report. I commenced duty as Chief Officer of the Force with an unblemished record. I retired with that record intact.
10. Finally, I should at least record my hope that the inevitable controversy in high places which will follow the publication of the Napier report does not divert attention from the people who are the most important in the whole affair, namely the survivors and victims of the sexual abuse which took place in institutions managed by the States of Jersey, and who were denied the chance of justice for decades before the commencement of “Operation Rectangle.”
Friday 8th October 2010.
Submitted by VFC.