Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Contradictory statements by the then Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis. Letters being “redacted” (doctored?) to suit the agenda of getting rid of the Chief Police Officer. Hand written notes being destroyed. Pressure being put on politicians (by who?) to get rid of the Chief Police Officer, and many more anomalies.
Terry Le Sueur labels this/these as “procedural errors”. Brian Napier QC has seen no evidence of a conspiracy to oust the Chief Police Officer, but, according to Terry Le Sueur Mr. Napier QC doesn’t want to come over and present his Report. Perhaps the above, and below, will go some way to explain why Mr. Napier QC doesn’t want to come over to present his Report and answer any questions?
Is there any wonder that Terry Le Sueur wants to put this to bed?.........Is there any wonder that former CPO Graham Power QPM has no intention of this being put to bed?????????
The Napier report.
Briefing note 2.
This briefing note has been issued by Graham Power QPM, retired Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police. It is intended to assist editors and others in addressing issues arising from the publication of the “Napier Report.”
1. Following the publication of the Napier report the Chief Minister has said that the report had revealed a number of “procedural errors” in the handling of the suspension. This term was later repeated in the editorial of a newspaper. The Chief Minister used the phrase several times in the States on 12th October 2010 when answering questions. The tone and context in which the term was used have been seen as “playing down” the significance of the revelations in the report. It may therefore be of value to explore the nature of some of the matters which, in the judgement of the relevant Jersey authorities, can be described as “procedural errors.”
2. Before looking at specific issues it might be useful to make the point that the disciplinary process for the Chief Officer of Police is not a normal personnel process. It is set out in a Code made under the Police Law and is subject to review by the Royal Court. It is a legal process rather than a HR procedure. It is therefore appropriate to assess whether the actions of individuals meet the standard which a statutory process would normally involve.
5. The Lewis statement sets out what is effectively the official version of events, namely that there were no concerns until 11th November 2008 when the letter was received from David Warcup. All previous suggestions that secret plans were in place months beforehand were dismissed as “conspiracy theories.” We now know from the information revealed in Napier that the “official version” of events was simply untrue. It is understood that nobody now claims that paragraph three of the written statement made to police by Andrew Lewis is an accurate reflection of the truth. Jerseys Chief Minister is quoted as regarding this as a “procedural error.”
6. There is also the question of the statement made in the States by Andrew Lewis on 2nd December 2008. This again, was a requirement of the Police Law and therefore had a legal status. The statement and the subsequent questions were in camera. I am aware that attempts are currently being made to obtain the release of a transcript of what occurred. For the time being we can only rely on the recollections of those present to provide an account of what was said. However, it is commonly recalled that Mr Lewis said something along the lines of “if you had seen the evidence I have seen then you would have acted in the same way.” We know from Napier that in fact he had seen very little evidence, and in conflict with the advice from the Law Officers, he had not viewed the interim document prepared by an employee of the Metropolitan Police. It is also commonly recalled that he gave the impression that he had formed his concerns on the basis of evidence received on 11th November 2008, when we now know that he had been engaged in discussions for a number of weeks but, in contravention of the requirements of the Disciplinary Code, he had not raised any issues with the Chief Officer. On this matter Napier says that he “does not know” why the Minister did not take an earlier opportunity to resolve issues (paragraph 55.) Until we have more information we cannot be sure whether, and to what extent, the States may have been misled, or indeed, whether other persons present on the day had information contrary to what was being said by the Minister and chose to say nothing. It appears that Jerseys Chief Minister regards such potential issues as “procedural errors.”
8. Unusually, Napier gives details of the legal advice which was given prior to suspension. Paragraph 45 provides details of the advice, and paragraph 69 provides information relating to how that advice was acted upon. The implication of these paragraphs taken together is that action was taken contrary to legal advice. From subsequent public statements it appears that this interpretation is now widely accepted. It should be remembered that the actions of the then Minister, contrary to legal advice, resulted in public expenditure well in excess of a million pounds. In most jurisdictions this would be regarded as a grave matter with possible legal consequences for those involved. In Jersey it is a “procedural error.”
9. The Napier Report makes further revelations regarding the interim document prepared by an employee of the Metropolitan Police and its use in the suspension process. In paragraph 69 Napier makes it clear that the document did not meet the criteria set by the Law Officers for use to support a suspension. Paragraph 70 describes how parts of the document which suited the argument for suspension were selected for inclusion in a letter, and those parts which did not suit the argument, and which specifically ruled out its use on the basis of legal advice, were excluded. Taken together these actions amounted to a significant misrepresentation of the central piece of evidence used in the suspension process. A process which, for reasons given earlier, had the force of law. Furthermore, in paragraph 93, Napier describes how the letter was subsequently changed, by implication, to strengthen its effect. Nobody admits to having made such changes. These are matters which the Chief Minister regards as “procedural errors.”
10. In other sections of Napier he makes it clear that the Disciplinary Code was wrongly applied (paragraph 107.) That the decisions were unfair to the Chief Officer (paragraph 109,) and that alternatives to suspension could and should have been considered (paragraph 108.) Some of these latter actions might just, in fairness, be just capable of being described as “procedural errors.” However, readers of this document may be able to think of other expressions which may more accurately describe some of the actions set out above. In most cases “procedural errors” is not the first phrase which comes to mind.
12th October 2010.