For those of you who do still by a copy of the JEP you might have read the article(s) submitted by Diane (Shackles) Simon over recent days concerning the “Napier Report”.
Although it must be said that the recent articles did actually (uncharacteristically for the JEP) resemble fair, objective, accurate and impartial journalism, for that they must be commended.
However on page 4 of Tuesday the 19th Oct 2010 (two days ago) Ms
Regular readers/viewers of Team Voice sites will be aware that Graham Power QPM has released a series of “briefing notes” to all accredited media which have been his responses and suggestions concerning the - paper thin - Wiltshire Report and the Napier Report. Quite why Mr. Power bothers giving these briefing notes to the “accredited” media is still somewhat of a mystery as they (the “accredited” media) appear to pay little or no attention to them. By comparison “un-accredited” (Team Voice) media have published every single word of every single briefing note.
In briefing note number 1 the former police chief said/suggested this “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”. Something, or yet another thing the “accredited” media appeared to take little notice of. So much so that in the first answer to Diane
For clarity we re-produce paragraphs 45 and 69 of the Napier Report (which can be downloaded from HERE) as suggested by Mr. Power QPM…………even if the “accredited” media won’t.
We fully understand that the “accredited” media have to “paraphrase”, edit or redact publications and reports due to space or time restrictions. We are not in this instance saying that the JEP are not “entirely accurate” in their reporting, we are demonstrating that the “un-accredited” media are able and WILLING to give our readers/viewers an in-depth look into what is being reported so they are that much better informed when forming an opinion on the subject matter.
Napier Report – paragraphs 45 and 69.
absence of the Interim Report. Yet that report was in heavily qualified terms. The report, in para. 1.1, draws the attention of the reader to the interim nature of the report, to the fact that it is concerned “to highlight initial findings and areas of concern” and that key individuals have yet to be interviewed. It expressly states that “any observations in this report may be subject to amendment.” It also makes it clear that “the cut-off date” for the review was 8 September 2008, thus excluding any conduct on the part of Mr Power after that date, and specifically anything concerned with the making of preparations for the press conference that took place on 12 November.
“Un-Redacted” JEP questions and answers to, and from, former CPO Graham Power QPM.
1. Do you think the report is fair and covers the main issues?
I think that the report is generally fair within the terms of its remit. It does however have to be read carefully for the full impact to be appreciated. Some very significant information is contained in the body of the text and it is sometimes necessary to read different parts of the report together to appreciate fully what is being said. For example, only by reading together paragraph 45 in conjunction with paragraphs 69 onwards is it possible to appreciate the extent to which the suspension was carried out contrary to the specific advice of the Law Officers.
1. How do you think the States should respond to Mr Napier’s findings?
I am reluctant to advise elected representatives as to how they should behave. However, the evidence from Napier is clear. A number of named individuals appear to have acted with deliberate unfairness, in breach of the relevant Disciplinary Code and contrary to legal advice. In consequence of these actions, well over £1m of public money has been effectively wasted.
It also appears that the States and the Public may have been misled as to the sequence of events leading to the suspension. These are serious matters. I imagine that States Members will initially want to know how Ministers intend to act in light of the report’s findings. It is for members to hold Ministers to account. If the issues raised in the report are not addressed effectively people will draw their own conclusions regarding the integrity of the Islands Government.
2. Do you expect some sort of apology and/or some other outcome?
The report is clear enough. The rules were breached and I was not treated fairly. In spite of a disciplinary investigation costing well over one million pounds and lasting nearly two years, no disciplinary charges were ever brought and no hearing was called. I have not been found guilty of any misconduct or mismanagement whatsoever in relation to the Historic Abuse Enquiry. I have been totally exonerated. Others now stand condemned. In these circumstances a full formal and public apology by Jersey’s Government would be entirely appropriate. Ministers should also issue a formal apology to taxpayers who have seen well over a million pounds of their money wasted on an unnecessary suspension and a failed disciplinary enquiry.
3. Would you have accepted taking an immediate leave of absence while a preliminary inquiry into the claims made against you was carried out?
4. If the Minister Andrew Lewis had spoken to you about his concerns sooner would you have given them very careful consideration and cooperated fully with the press conference to dispel some of the earlier claims made about the Haute de la Garenne excavation?
I think that these two questions overlap and I prefer to deal with them together. I cooperated fully with the media at every stage of the enquiry and intended to continue with that cooperation. I am not sure what is meant by “earlier claims” regarding the investigation. We all know that there were some lurid and exaggerated media claims which the Force did much to dispel, and certainly there was more work to be done in that regard.
I assume that nobody now believes the false claim that the Police said that there were “mass murders” or numbers of “buried bodies” at the site. If anyone seriously maintains that anything of that sort was ever said on behalf of the Force then it is down to them to either produce the relevant recording or transcript, or to withdraw the claim. It is however true that once the international media had withdrawn from the Island we were progressively putting forward a balanced and updated view of the situation. This was quite appropriate as more detailed forensic results became available which inevitably added to, or changed, the earlier forensic findings. Where differences between myself and others emerged were around the appropriateness of managing this evolving picture through the local media. I believed that local media organisations could professionally present the changing message and that it was not necessary and even ill-advised, to invite International News Organisations back to the Island, and present the changing forensic picture as sensational revelations. Others thought differently. The rest is history.
In relation to other areas of the questions, my position has been consistent from the very beginning. At the relevant time I was well past my retirement age and had been asked to stay on to support a handover to new management. Napier describes how the Disciplinary Code requires that the Minister for Home Affairs should raise any concerns at an early stage and how he breached that part of the Code. The report also makes it clear that under the Code there should be a preliminary consideration of the issues involving all parties before suspension is considered, and sets out in paragraphs 65, 107 and elsewhere how that part of the Code was breached.
Had the Code been complied with, I would have taken the opportunity to put my side of the case to the Minister and his advisors. In doing this, it is probable that I would have been assisted by my Professional Association and other experts. After detailed consideration of all options I would have acted in accordance with Professional and Legal advice in the best interests of the Force, the Island, and most importantly the survivors and victims of the Abuse. That entitlement was never provided so we do not know what advice I would have been given, and it is now too late to speculate how things would have turned out had the Minister and others acted properly.
The message from Napier is clear. The Minister and his advisors did not want conciliation, they did not want discussion, they did not want an agreed outcome and above all they did not want to observe the requirements of fair play and the rules of the Disciplinary Code. They wanted quick and ruthless action. The consequence has been that Jersey has experienced one of its most contentious, expensive and divisive disciplinary cases in modern memory, the consequences of which may continue for some time. The Napier report has exposed serious issues of competence and conduct at the highest levels of the Island’s Government. A disturbing precedent has been set. It is now down to those with the relevant responsibility to demonstrate that they can rise to the challenge which the Napier report poses for Jersey and its Institutions of Government.
Submitted by VFC.