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Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Law Office(r)s Part 1

As part of an up-coming “Team Voice” venture, where we will be looking at the Law Officers, who are, it is believed by some, the people who hold the real power in Jersey. They are unaccountable. They are powerful and unaccountable and nobody can do much, or anything, about it. They are not elected. They are not on any fixed term appointments that we are aware of. The process by which they are selected is a bit of a mystery and once appointed they appear to hold their powerful position for life or until they retire or move on.

No legislation or significant changes in the way the Island is governed can pass through the States without their endorsement and Ministers defer to their “advice” on all significant issues. They are the gatekeepers of the States. They control the legislative agenda and they control debates and questions, rarely hesitating to block or rule out of order anything which challenges establishment interests “The Jersey Way.” That is their power base. Ministers and even Chief Ministers come and go. The law officers remain as the bedrock of real political power in the Island.

In this “episode” we look at, among others, the current Attorney General and former Solicitor General Tim Le Cocq and the role played by, not so much him, but his (conflicted) position.

We thought where better to start than the possibly illegal suspension of our most Senior Police Officer Graham Power QPM?


1. 12th November 2008. A Suspension meeting of CPO Graham Power QPM is held. Bill Ogley (BO) the (then) Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM (GP) and Andrew Lewis (AL) the (then) Home Affairs Minister are present. The (then) Chief Minister Frank Walker (FW) in the next room. Things were said by all sides. BO takes notes with pen and pad. He asks GP, we are told, to slow down at one point so he can catch the words and write them down. Andrew Lewis lets it slip that he has already discussed how to handle the suspension with other Ministers and that he and FW are giving a Press Conference about it that afternoon. This is while he is “considering” whether the Chief Police Officer GP should be suspended.

2. 13th November 2008 GP hands in a letter saying that he challenges the legality of the process. He (GP) also gives media interviews in which the issue of legality and a possible legal challenge are raised.

3. 19th November 2008. Ian Crich, head of States HR (but not anymore) writes a letter on administrative issues but also includes a statement that he is aware of comments made by GP to the media challenging the legality of the suspension.

4. 24th November 2008. GP gives formal written notice to the Home Affairs Minister of his intention to seek a Judicial Review of the suspension. He also asks for a copy of the written record of the suspension interview.

5. 29th November 2008 GP receives a typed document in the post. The document purports to be a record of the suspension meeting. The document is inaccurate and says things which, according to GP, are not true.

6. 1st December 2008. GP writes to the Home Affairs Minister pointing out the alleged inaccuracies and untruths in the typed record of the meeting. He (GP) asks for a copy of the original hand written notes.

7. 4th December 2008 Ian Crich writes to GP telling him that the original notes of the meeting have been destroyed!!!!!


8. During December 2008 GP is in discussions with officials of the Royal Court (Law Officers) regarding an application for a Judicial Review. The Home Affairs Minister is kept informed of this intention. (Formal Papers are served on the Minister in January 2009.)

9. During December 2008 it becomes clear that the absence of the original notes of the suspension meeting is a difficulty for the Judicial Review proceedings. On 15th December 2008 GP writes to the Home Affairs Minister and formally complains about the destruction of the notes by BO. GP points out that the destruction appears to have occurred after he (GP) had made it clear that he was taking legal action and in those circumstances it could be a criminal act (attempting to Pervert the Course of Justice.) The Minister refers the matter to the Law Officers.


10. 16th February 2009. GP receives a letter telling him that there will be no criminal investigation regarding the destruction of the notes by the Chief Executive, Bill Ogley. The letter is signed by, none other than, the then Solicitor General (SG) Tim Le Cocq. The SG later represents the Minister in the Royal Court in opposing the former Police Chief’s (GP) Judicial Review Proceedings!!


It should also be remembered that according to GP, the SG (who was acting as lawyer for the Home Affairs Minister and the Crown’s interests at the same time) would not allow an investigation as to whether the notes were destroyed in order to prevent their use in Court. That is not the same as him saying that there would be no prosecution. From what is understood when a matter has been investigated the Law Officers decide to take no further action, because of lack of evidence or the old “public interest” sketch. That is not what happened here.


The SG, we are told, decided that there was to be no investigation. So therefore he couldn’t consider the evidence because HE decided not to allow the evidence to be gathered!!! The Former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, made a criminal complaint. No investigating officer was appointed and nobody asked him (GP) to make a statement!! The SG decided that the matter would go no further and so that was that!! He then went to Court as Lawyer acting on behalf of the very people who had been complained against. It is difficult to imagine a more conflicted situation. It is conflicted and it looks conflicted. No right minded person could look at it and not see it as conflicted. But the then Solicitor General went ahead anyway. We do not know what was in his mind when he did so. But we know what his behavior looks like. It looks like the behavior of someone who knows that he is conflicted and does not care because he knows that nobody can do anything about it. That is the “Jersey Way.” The Government’s Chief Lawyer is also the Chief Prosecutor and also the person who defends Jersey Ministers in Jersey Courts should anyone be rash enough to challenge the legality of what is taking place. They appear not to care what anyone thinks and they do not bother to pretend that anything is otherwise than it seems.

In banana Republics and Dictatorships at least the Legal Authorities pretend that they are independent of government. In Jersey they do not even bother to pretend. The Attorney General and the Solicitor General are the most influential politicians in the Island. They do not have to bother about elections. They do not have to bother about terms of office. They just hold power while politicians come and go. They are not merely the power behind the throne, they are the power beside the throne and in front of the throne. And nothing that happens on voting day alters that one bit.


Let us also assume that the new Police Chief Mr. Mike Bowron knows his place and how things are done, in Jersey, should he go "off script".

41 comments:

  1. Brilliant Stuff

    You have it so bang on. But why doesn't anyone bring this up? This is a huge problem in Jersey and a very obvious one. Thanks for this posting and keep looking at the Law Office.

    I know the Privy Council will be having a good look over these coming weeks. You should see the advice being given in the Curtis Warren case

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  2. "The SG, we are told, decided that there was to be no investigation. So therefore he couldn’t consider the evidence because HE decided not to allow the evidence to be gathered!!! The Former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, made a criminal complaint. No investigating officer was appointed and nobody asked him (GP) to make a statement!! The SG decided that the matter would go no further and so that was that!! He then went to Court as Lawyer acting on behalf of the very people who had been complained against."

    "Full House"

    BINGO

    That is it right there

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  3. Quote

    "And nothing that happens on voting day alters that one bit."


    Thanks for putting it in a nutshell Voice for Children. Hence VOTING APATHY.

    If only people would see this for what it is ... why are some so entrenched in this way of life. Is it because most are benefitting in a big way from the 'status quo', or, is it really fear of what these powerful people may do to a person and/or there families that is the real reason?

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  4. Ahimsa.

    From the people I speak to, “fear” rules the day. People are scared to complain in-case they get “targeted”. Not only by the powers that be, but their ever so friendly “accredited” media. Just look at what has been done to the former Police Chief Graham Power QPM, Stuart Syvret, Lenny Harper, Simon Bellwood, Dr. Day, the Pinels. All this creates a culture of fear…….”The Jersey Way”

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  5. Its Le Cocq . Tonight he will be exhorting 60 years of Beaulieu Convent regretfully the news next week will less good on that front with the primary school disappearing to become St.Pauls at Grainville.

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  6. I have a letter too post to Mr Le Cocq on Monday.... :o)

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  7. Thank you Voice for explaining that you think it is 'fear' of reprisals upon anyone who objects to the 'status quo' or the 'Jersey Way' that stops people here from speaking out.

    How do we, those who have recognised the lack of actual democracy within the island go about improving/changing such an vile system.

    I don't want my children, grand-children and great-grandchildren to exist within this kind of non-actual democracy. Being a Jersey person I don't have a boat home. Do I have to search for another part of the world to call home which has a democratic government.

    This is very depressing.

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  8. I have also done a couple of posts looking at the "Power Structure" here in Jersey

    POWER STRUCTURE

    Also

    FEUDALISM

    I will be putting another email on my blog very shortly. This time im trying to get the assistant home affairs minister to answer the allegations made by the Senator

    rs

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  9. We must also remember that it was the Law Offices (possibly Tim Le Cocq) that "advised" the Chief Minister, Terry Le Sueur, to prevent Graham Power QPM from finding out the dates that his suspension letters were created.....and we all know what happened there!!

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  10. We must also remember that it was the Law Offices (possibly Tim Le Cocq) that "advised" the Chief Minister, Terry Le Sueur, to prevent Graham Power QPM from finding out the dates that his suspension letters were created.....and we all know what happened there!!

    VFC

    Make sure all these parts are kept together and then in one posting on these issues show the total conflict of interest with the SG and AG. Just that last comment is very important in the big picture

    rs

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  11. So the AG decides what cases were dropped in the Child Abuse Scandal after advice from non independent lawyers.

    The AG also is the legal advisor to the States of Jersey? Do i have that right.

    If that is correct. Then surly he is conflicted?

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  12. You have it spot on. The AG decides what cases should be brought to court (or not) and he is the one that defends the State. Conflicted? yep!

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  13. It was an AG that didn't ask to see the medical evidence of Maguire having cancer. It was an AG that wouldn't extradite Maguire from France after he looked to have recovered from the cancer. The stench coming from the AG's office is overwhelming.

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  14. Thanks for spelling this out for us VFC. Graham Power, Lenny and all the others mentioned have been shafted internationaly. It's the Law Officers people should be looking at, they are the puppet masters and the politicians just the lowly puppets.

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  15. Is Maguire, yet proved to be dead?

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  16. What did Carswell say about the AG and SG

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  17. well done VFC, your hard work is really appreciated, I read the blogs and get so angry,what can I do? I always vote and try to give consideration to the best candidste,I no longer buy the JEP I tell people to look at the facts and where to find them BUT NOTHING CHANGES,IS THE FUTURE SO BLEAK FOR US JERSEYFOLK?

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  18. "We must also remember that it was the Law Offices (possibly Tim Le Cocq) that "advised" the Chief Minister, Terry Le Sueur, to prevent Graham Power QPM from finding out the dates that his suspension letters were created.....and we all know what happened there!!"

    Yes, we do, don't we. I got bollocked off Advocate Richard Renouf for laughing my ass off at Terry Le Sewer, and his female cohort!

    All in all, a pretty "comical" night!

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  19. Anon. "I read the blogs and get so angry,what can I do?"

    You can spread the word of the Blogs. Put a link to them on your facebook/twitter etc. Contact your Deputies/Senators/Constables, even anonymously if you are in fear.

    "IS THE FUTURE SO BLEAK FOR US JERSEYFOLK?" In a word, "yes" if the Law Office(r)s and out of control government are able to carry on in the same direction.

    Ian.

    For as long as I live, I will never forget that day. That was the day when the Chief of Police was reduced to having to quote from a dictionary what the word "information" means because the Chief Ministers argument was that desperate and weak. With the advice of the Law Officers, naturally.

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  20. Graham Power's Complaints Board Hearing

    And since then we know that secret meetings were being held in order to suspend the Chief of Police, if memory serves correct, as early as September 2008?. And Brian Napier's Report, after it had been through the Law Offices TWICE, could find no evidence of a conspiracy to oust the former Police Chief.

    Not to mention the suspension letters were created before the "official version" of events told us they were!!

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  21. Naughty, naughty VFC!

    Are we forgetting our "LABELS" again???

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  22. Your mates Harper and Power will be responsible if CW gets off.

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  23. Harper and Power being responsible if/when Curtis Warren gets off. Of course they’ll be responsible the “accredited” media will make sure of that. So what kind of blame, if any do you believe should be laid at the Attorney General’s door?

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  24. "Your mates Harper and Power will be responsible if CW gets off"

    You forgot Syvret etc etc

    lol

    That was a funny comment

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  25. VFC, this reminded me of a question I have wanted to get to the bottom of for sometime. Perhaps your readers can help.

    Why is it so difficult to find suitable local people for top civil service positions (chief police officer, deputy chief police officer, chief exec etc etc). Yet there appears to be no problem historically or presently finding highly suitable local people for the positions of Bailiff, deputy Bailiff or Attorney General?

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  26. As I recall it Lenny Harper had his hands full with other matters at the time of the CW business and was not even performing the duties of the Deputy Chief. Neither was he called as a witness or even mentioned in the trial. Perhaps Lenny would like to comment if he even signed a piece of paper or made any decisions in the CW investigation. My belief is he didn't.

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  27. I'm not impressed with the "new" BBC Radio Jersey format today. They scrapped the phone-in and said we could phone in any time during the day but I've seen no evidence of that so far! He just said that comments were flooding in, but only read out one! Maybe you should put them to the test and phone in about the abuse inquiry etc, at points throughout the day and see how readily they put you on air?!

    How long will Roger last this time? I've lost count how many times he's given up on the early mornings to concentrate on sport instead. It all seems like the typical "new manager" syndrome whereby fresh blood comes in and has to move the furniture around to show that they're doing something and justify their new position, and to prove that they can to excercise their new found powers. Everyone else suffers unwanted pointless changes in the meantime!

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  28. I shall soon be publishing a Blog on this subject, and have asked the new boss Mr. Jon Gripton for an interview. So far he has declined the offer but I have asked that he reconsiders.

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  29. Who was the AG in the 90's who was supposedly prosecuting Alan Maguire and didn't ask for medical proof of his supposed terminal illness?

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  30. That was Mick Birt was it not?

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  31. Can’t remember if it was Michael Birt or William Bailhache. Whoever it was, as a prosecutor not asking for proof, from the defence, of the defendants alleged terminal illness, in my opinion, is inept at best and very suspect.

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  32. Yes, Michael Birt was the AG, I beleive that William Bailache was the acting Lawyer or at least his law firm were acting for the survivors but I could be wrong. How conflicted is that!! Acting for them in one decade, and not charging the abusers in the next!!

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  33. Hi VFC.

    Just put up the audio from today of our Glorious Leader. You can hear it Here

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  34. I look forward to the blog on the new format BBC Radio Jersey. I think that so far it is a great success. By that I mean it achieves what it was set out to do – to stifle dissent and dumb down programming to an all time low. All at the propaganda department in President Ben Ali- Ozouf House must be pleased that their directives have been carried out to the letter. I understand the BBC have some sort of obligation in their charter to cover and broadcast States’ sittings, but surely that could be axed on the grounds of economy in a time of austerity and the 1026 frequency sold to business interests and others who know how to make money. That way politics could be completely expunged from the programming. In addition there would be no need for that Sunday “Talkback” with its boring middle aged men flirting with giggling girls and discussing sin. Now God fearing Protestants can attend the chapel on Sunday morning without worrying about Popery being broadcast whilst their backs are turned during prayer.

    I understand that the midday phone-in was considered “predictable” and axed. There will be no more Emile calling for the Council of Minister to be expelled and no Geordie Anne telling us how poor pensioners have to survive in “rich” Jersey.

    On the issue of wealthy Jersey, I discovered from “Jersey in Figures, 2009” that our GNI is above Luxembourg and Singapore at USD 66,000 per capita. France is positively “third world” at USD 34,000. Perhaps we should be organising food parcels for them. Given that, I can’t understand why the BBC made a news story out of Deputy Tadier’s comments that there was poverty in the island. Its patently untrue; the journalists only had to cite the facts from that booklet to prove him wrong and confirm that we are wealthy and contented. It is Deputy Gorst (a wanabee Senator) they should be challenging as ignorant. I cannot believe he has statistics showing slight trace elements of poverty. Why would statisticians visit that part of his St Clement constituency called Le Marais?. Income support claimants are unlikely to vote when they are so generously cared for by a benevolent state. A quick interview with a Le Marais resident like Senator Le Main would have proved the point and had Tadier repenting.

    Audience figures must be increasing with the “safe” and uncontroversial interviews unlikely to disturb the old folks. I don’t give a tinkers what colour a St Ouen hut is – I want to be informed not patronized by journalists who think they know best. The bottom line reason is that there is an election to the States in October and we don’t want uncomfortable issues like child abuse, corruption, GST increases, Zero-Ten, unemployment, poverty and the presence of a successful finance industry in Guernsey troubling voters’ minds. The BBC is back in command and they set the agenda for us. Our choice as listeners remains intact: what will it be, Green or White?

    Hunter Gowan, Gorey

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  35. Hi VFC.

    Just put up Question 8 on Audio. HERE
    From Deputy M. Tadier.

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  36. Hi VFC.

    Just put up Question 8 on Audio. HERE
    From Deputy M. Tadier.

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