Monday, 21 February 2011
The COCF "Could" be used.
BY SENATOR F. du H. LE GRESLEY
ANSWER TO BE TABLED ON TUESDAY 15th FEBRUARY 2011
Would the Minister, after consultation with H.M. Attorney General if necessary, advise if the use of money in the Criminal Offences Confiscations Fund could be applied for the purpose of funding the cost of a Committee of Inquiry into historical child abuse by virtue of Article 24 (4)(a)(ii) of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 1999 which states that “the Fund shall be applied by the Minister…. in promoting or supporting measures that, in the opinion of the Minister, may assist….. in dealing with the consequences of criminal conduct”?
Would the Minister also advise the current balance of the Criminal Offences Confiscations Fund?
Having consulted with H.M. Attorney General, I have reached the view that monies in the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund ("COCF") are unlikely to be capable of being applied for the purpose of funding the cost of a Committee of Inquiry into historical child abuse.
The COCF is established under Article 24 of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 1999. Article 24(4) sets out the circumstances in which the COCF, which is separate from the general revenues of the States, can be used.
Article 24(4) and (5) are the relevant provisions:
(4) Subject to paragraph (5), monies in the Fund shall be applied by the Minister for the following purposes, that is to say –
(a) in promoting or supporting measures that, in the opinion of the Minister, may assist –
(i) in preventing, suppressing or otherwise dealing with criminal conduct,
(ii) in dealing with the consequences of criminal conduct, or
(iii) without prejudice to the generality of clauses (i) and (ii), in facilitating the enforcement of any enactment dealing with criminal conduct;
(b) discharging Jersey’s obligations under asset sharing agreements; and
(c) meeting the expenses incurred by the Minister in administering the Fund.
(5) Before promoting or supporting any measure under paragraph (4)(a), the Minister shall consult the Attorney General and other persons or bodies (including other Ministers) as the Minister considers appropriate.
Where there has already been a full criminal investigation and prosecutions have taken place, it would be difficult to construe such an Inquiry as "dealing with the consequences" of criminal conduct (Art 24(4)(ii)).
A final view could be taken when the terms of reference of any such Committee of Inquiry are published. However, on the basis of present information, any link with criminal conduct is likely to be indirect or tangential.
The total available balance in the COCF as at 31 December 2010 was £8,257,520. (End)
One has to ask are the Attorney General and the Treasury Minister looking for reasons as to how the COCF “CAN’T” be used to subsidies the PROMISED Committee of Enquiry, rather than looking at how it CAN be used?
Here is but one example……..there are plenty of others.
“(i) in preventing, suppressing or otherwise dealing with criminal conduct,”
With the right Terms of Reference the Committee of Enquiry could establish how it was possible for our children to be abused for decades, in the Jersey “care” system, without it coming to light. It could, with the right TOR, establish how NO SENIOR MANAGEMENT of the Jersey “care” homes have, to this day, ever been charged with abuse or covering it up. Then put measures in place to ensure that this is not able to happen again. Depending on the Committee of Enquiry’s findings, then those in Senior Management who have escaped justice, thus far, could then be prosecuted. Those who have been falsely accused can be given the opportunity to have their names cleared.
The bottom line is, that going by the Attorney General's and Treasury Minister's answers, the COCF COULD be used for a Committee of Enquiry. The question being do "they" want a Committee of Enquiry and could it's findings bring down the government (the Law Offices)? And doesn't that make the Attorney General, once more, wholly conflicted? What if the TOR were wide enough to look into what the AG and Law Office(r)s have been to? Is it pure coincidence that no senior management have ever been charged? Is it coicidence that nobody with political responsibility for the "care" homes have ever been held to account, let alone charged? How does a senior Civil Servant at the Education Department remain in post while under investigation by the police? And how does the Chief of Police who are investigating the Civil Servant get, possibly "un-lawfully" suspended on alleged managerial issues?
And not least the victims and survivors of Jersey's "care" system will have their experiences put into the public domain and the History books. It will give some of them just a little closure, and the Council of Ministers would have delivered on a promise.
Supporters for a Committee of Enquiry have set up a Facebook page which is now gaining political support by a number of politicians joining the group. If you agree there should be a Committee of Enquiry, please go to this LINK and press "like."