Saturday, 15 January 2011
The Law Office(r)s Part 1
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?
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!!!!!
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.
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.
Mike Bowron knows his place and how things are done, in Jersey, should he go "off script".