Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Operation "Invicta" Timeline.

Further to a previous posting on OPERATION INVICTA readers will no doubt be aware that this IS a Police Operation that DID exist and our information should be viewed as reliable and factual.

In anticipation of an up-coming Blog Posting we thought it would be extremely beneficial to our readers with an interest in Operation Invicta, and the Curtis Warren car bugging case in general, to have an understanding of events leading up to "Invicta" and events subsequent to it, so we offer a "time line." (below)

Much criticism has been levelled (notably in the State Media) against the actions of the three Police Officers involved with the Warren/bugging case. The spotlight has been turned on full glare in their direction. We offer the view that while the spotlight is focussed on the Police Officers it leaves The Law Officers in the shadows and the Law Officers might have a lot more to answer for than the cops.

As regular readers will be aware, the cops have faced a criminal investigation, AND a disciplinary investigation for their part in the "car bugging incident" and have been cleared by both. But what of the Law Officers who advise the police? Have they come under ANY kind of scrutiny at all let alone a criminal or disciplinary investigation?

We invite our readers (as we have) to turn the spotlight into the shadows. The rights, and wrongs, of the cops have been well aired and discussed but what about the rights, and wrongs, of the Law Officers? While the discredited and disgraced State Media have set the agenda of "cop bashing" (in our opinion) we do what we always do and that is to "dig," ask the right people the right questions and most importantly follow the evidence.

We encourage our readers to think for themselves, don't be blinded by what you see/hear in the disgraced State Media, ask yourselves why you hardly ever see/hear the Law Officers being interviewed on the State Media? Ask yourselves who are the Law Officers accountable to? When have the Law Officers EVER been investigated?

Could it be that while the State Media keep your minds occupied on the police and politicians that the real power in Jersey (and unaccountable) Law Officers go about their (your) business unnoticed and untouched?

"Invicta" Timeline.

June 2007.

The Police receive intelligence that Curtis Warren, a dangerous criminal of international standing, is about to be released from prison in Holland and plans to travel to Jersey. It is believed that he intends to establish a base in Jersey for criminal operations. Warren has a reputation for “taking over” territory from rival criminals. There are reports that he plans to “take Jersey.” He is reputed to have considerable personal wealth which has been concealed from law enforcement authorities. He has previously appeared in the Sunday Times “Rich List.” He also has a reputation for bribing and corrupting members of police forces, lawyers, prison officers and other public officials.

The States of Jersey Police decide to mount an operation against Warren in partnership with relevant agencies in the UK. The operation in Jersey will be under Jersey Law and in particular the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Law (RIPL). The Law and accompanying guidelines require that any intrusion into the privacy of any individual should meet strict legal criteria. The normal process is for the Police Officer who is designated as Head of Operations to make a written application to the Chief Officer. The Chief Officer checks the application to ensure that it meets the legal requirements and is operationally justified. If the Chief Officer signs the application it is then forwarded to the Attorney General who has the final say on whether the application is granted or refused. At the relevant time the Head of Operations was David Minty. The Chief Officer was Graham Power. The Attorney General was William Bailhache.

July 2007.

Jersey Police Officers under the leadership of David Minty are successful in maintaining surveillance of Warren and associates. This is no small achievement given that Warren is very surveillance-aware and displays considerable tradecraft. Comparable operations against Warren in the UK and elsewhere are reported to have run for months or even years without resulting in arrests or charges. A small team of officers under David Minty are working up to 20 hours a day. The team includes Louis Beghin and Lawrence Courtness.

Intelligence indicates that an associate of Warren intends to take a vehicle from France to Holland and return with a drugs shipment. Minty applies to the Chief Officer for the vehicle to be fitted with a tracking and audio device. The Chief Officer agrees that the application is justified on operational grounds but neither he nor Minty are experts on the law relating to such operations in European jurisdictions. The Chief Officer supports the application subject to it being deemed to be lawful by the Attorney General.

Events begin to move quickly and so an arrangement is established whereby Minty and his team take advice directly from the Law Officers Department. One of the Advocates designated to assist the police with the legal aspects of what is proposed is Advocate Matthew Jowitt. Complications arise regarding the consent for the audio device to be used in France and other jurisdictions. According to Court Records a discussion took place regarding the legalities of what was proposed. This discussion involved Beghin, another officer (now retired) and Advocate Jowitt. The records indicate that Jowitt told Beghin that a Jersey Court would be unlikely to exclude the evidence of an audio device in the vehicle whether permission had been obtained from other jurisdictions or not. It is reported that Jowitt said “If it was me I would go ahead and do it but don’t quote me on that.” Records of subsequent evidence indicate that officers took it that they were to install the audio device before the opportunity was lost. Legal experts could then consider at greater length whether the product of the audio could be used as evidence or not. If they did not install the device then there would be no opportunity to consider the matter one way or the other.

Subsequently Beghin, Courtness and another officer went to France and installed a tracking device and an audio device in a hire car to be used by an associate of Warren. The Hire Company was aware of the police activity and had given their consent.

A few days later Warren and his team are arrested. The Jersey Law Officers Department, having considered the matter in more detail, determine that the evidence from the Audio Device can be put to a Court. At a subsequent “Trial within a Trial” a judge hears arguments from both sides and rules that the evidence can be used. Warren and his associates are subsequently convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.

2007 to 2011.

Chief Officer Power, Acting Chief Officer Warcup and Senator Ian le Marquand, the Minister for Home Affairs make separate public references to the work of the officers in the investigation of Warren and praise the professionalism and dedication of those involved. Both Power and Warcup are recorded as saying that some form of formal recognition of their achievement would be justified.

Meanwhile Warren and others are pursuing an appeals process which will ultimately take the case to the Privy Council. The line taken by Advocates representing Warren is that the audio evidence was obtained illegally and should be excluded by the Court. The line taken by the Jersey Law Officers is to agree that the evidence was obtained illegally but to argue that the Court has discretion to allow it to be used. Not all of the police officers in the case are happy with the manner in which their actions are being portrayed by the Law Officers. They do not agree that what they did was “illegal” in the commonly understood sense of the word and feel sure that it is not contrary to RIPL. They also feel that the way the evidence is being presented does not place sufficient emphasis on the fact that they were receiving advice from the Law Officers and that they had given a full and accurate account of what happened at the first opportunity. However, they are not a party to the case so there is nothing they can do about it.

March 2011 

The verdict of the Privy Council is expected to be released soon. The Chief Officer of the States of jersey Police, Mike Bowron, issues a press release indicating that he expects the Privy Council Judgement to criticise the actions of the officers in the case. He has therefore asked Hampshire Police to conduct a full criminal and disciplinary investigation into the operation against Warren. The investigation is subsequently named “Operation Invicta.” Among those to be investigated are David Minty, Louis Beghin, Lawrence Courtness, Advocate Jowitt and former Chief Officer Graham Power who by then has retired and is living in England. Thus, officers who had expected to be commended now find that they are suspects in a criminal investigation for alleged offences of attempting to pervert the course of justice and perjury.

Hampshire Police establish an office in Jersey and commence their enquiries. All local “suspects” are “invited” to be interviewed but it is made clear that anyone who does not agree to be interviewed voluntarily will be arrested.

The position in respect of former Chief Officer Power is more complicated. He is in England and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Jersey authorities. Any attempt to arrest him as a suspect would need an application to the relevant English Authorities which would need to supported by evidence. It is rumoured locally that such evidence is not to hand.

August 2011.

Hampshire Police write to former Chief Officer Power at his home address in England. They ask him if he will voluntarily submit himself to be interviewed as a criminal suspect in “Operation Invicta” Mr Power replies offering information in relation to his role in the Warren investigation but says that he has nothing further to say and declines to agree to be interviewed as a criminal suspect. He does however make it clear that if he is approached in any other capacity, such as a witness, he will re-consider. As it transpires he receives no further request to assist with “Invicta.” He is not asked to make a statement or to give evidence in respect of the Criminal Enquiry of the Disciplinary Investigation which followed.

December 2011.

“Suspects” in the “Invicta” criminal investigation are formally notified that, following an examination of the evidence by an independent QC in the UK, it has been determined that there is no basis for any criminal charges against any person.

December 2011/Early 2012.

Officers who have been cleared by the Criminal Enquiry but have not retired or left the Force are told by senior officers that they will be subject to disciplinary proceedings before a Tribunal presided over by a Chief Constable from the UK. Those facing disciplinary action include Minty, Beghin and Courtness. They indicate that they will strongly deny any allegation of misconduct and engage lawyers to represent their interests.

During much of 2012 a number of legal issues arise and there are also problems with the availability of the Chief Constable initially selected to preside at the hearing. The matter drags out through a series of adjournments and delays. Minty and Beghin develop symptoms of stress-related illness. Beghin is placed on sick leave. Minty is suspended in relation to an unrelated matter said to be in respect of his non-attendance at a meeting.

December 2012.

The disciplinary hearing eventually convenes under the chairmanship of Mike Barton who is the Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary. Mr Barton is assisted by Jersey Advocate Santos-Costa. Legal and procedural arguments are heard and the hearing adjourned until January 2013.

January 2013.

The full hearing finally takes place and evidence for and against the officers is heard and assessed. In his judgement the Presiding Officer makes criticism of the States of Jersey Police, the Law Officers Department, and the standard of evidence against the officers. All disciplinary charges are dismissed and the Tribunal recommends that all three officers be commended for their role in the Warren Investigation. The evidence and findings of the Tribunal are subsequently set out in a nine page typed document signed by the Presiding Officer.

January 2013.

Concerns are expressed locally relating to the timescale and the cost of the disciplinary action. States Members, Bloggers and interested parties ask the Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian le Marquand to release the written findings of the Tribunal. He refuses to do so.(timeline end)

Yet another debacle to add to the growing list under the tenure of Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand. We have previously reported how he has been able to spend millions of pounds of taxpayers money on fruitless disciplinary investigations and possible personal vendettas HERE.

This latest debacle goes one step further though. It started with the three Police Officers being recommended for commendations, then  over a matter of years, a number of inquiries (to include criminal) and millions of £s of taxpayers money being spent, we have come full circle, with it ending with the same recommendation as it all started!

Senator Ian Le Marquand would have been receiving legal advice from the very highly paid, unelected and seemingly unaccountable Law Officers, as were the police. Yet the Law Officers have come out of all this totally unscathed or scrutinised...........How could this be?

With Senator Le Marquand's refusal to publish the findings of the disciplinary case, could it be that the Law Officers DON'T come out unscathed and DO have questions to answer? Will ANY of the island's State Media be submitting an "Access To Information" (Jersey's poor equivalent to FOI)  request to obtain this document?

Will Senator Le Marquand, the Law Officers and State Media be praying this document doesn't get leaked to a Blogger like so many others have in the past?




30 comments:

  1. At various stages in todays States sitting the Minister Senator Le Marquand was asked to reveal information to justify the disciplinary action and repeatedly he refused. Does anyone doubt that if things had gone his way the Minister would be all over this like a rash, claiming credit and deriding the former leadership of the Force and finally had the smoking gun he's been searching so desperately for in Graham Power's hand ? The fact that he is using every ounce of his slippery skills to distance himself from the whoe thing already tells us that the findings of the Tribunal will contain no good news for LeMarquand.

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  2. Senator Le Marquand wasted no time in publishing the prosecution case against Graham Power but won't publish this case? You can't help thinking there is something inside this judgement that if it got out would cause some people some problems!

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  3. The Crown Advocate’s advice is recorded in the Privy Council's Judgement which can be found in my Blog. His advice was; "he didn’t see a Jersey Court ruling any evidence which was obtained inadmissible, it would be a matter for the Court to decide. it was an operational decision for the officers to decide." He added “If it was me I’d go ahead and do it, but don’t quote me on that.”

    No doubt the officers shared the Court’s view that they were given honest and well intentioned advice and took it. The Crown Officer was correct with his assertion that it was for the Court to determine whether the evidence obtained was inadmissible. In fact not only did the Jersey Royal Court accept the evidence but also the Privy Council which then strongly criticised the officers’ action, how bizarre.

    Unlike the States Police, there has not been any review or investigation into the role of the Crown Advocate, therefore one is entitled to assume that there is no dispute about the advice given. So why was tax payer's money wasted on a Disciplinary Hearing which was not only dismissed but ended up with the Chief Constable recommending that the 3 officers being commended

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  4. A very well set out timeline VFC, and explaining the whole debacle in a straight forward manner.

    As usual, accountability remains bottom of the pile in the Jersey Justice System, and Le Marquand's conduct is just as disgusting as ever.

    As far as the police are concerned, they knew they were not given permission for the bugging yet continued regardless. Any honest officer would have refused to continue with the operation, regardless of the consequences.

    This is why, in my opinion, they are as guilty as the Law Officers. This is also why virtually all police officers are regarded as corrupt, at the end of the day they will do exactly as they are told with flagrant disregard for their corruption or the victims of their corruption....

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  5. VFC, for the purposes of historical accuracy, it is Matthew JOWITT not JOWETT

    http://www.jerseylawsociety.je/cgi-bin/lawyers.cgi?memref=371&memdetails=yes

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  6. As complex and disturbing as this episode is, there must be even more to it. Every player or group of players had a motive for each decision made. It is the unknown players and motives which require investigation. Such expensive circular and bizarre decisions and reversals did not happen without a reason.

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  7. VFC, in correcting the Jowitt spelling, I forgot to state the obvious: another cracking blog, full of inside information provided to citizens' media journalists first. Well done, keep up the good work ;-)

    Le Marquand was on fine form today, hopefully TJW will have recorded it. He says he can't release the OUTCOME of the disciplinary hearing into the 3 officers because the statute does not allow him to do so. But he has, in his opinion, discretion to release whatever he wants about Graham Power, because there was no outcome! And who made sure there was no outcome....??? Aaaaarrrggghhhh!!!

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  8. The only guilty ones here are the law officers. The police officers were under the impression that nothing they were doing was illegal in Jersey - they had to rely on the advice from those whose job it is to give that advice. The police did the job thy are paid to do. A highly dangerous man is behind bars. If the officers had been guilty of anything in Jersey you can be sure that Le Marquand and the Bailhache henchmen would have rammed it home. A Chief Constable from the UK with no axe to grind (what a novelt in Jersey - whoever selected him is for the high jump)saw through them and commended the officers. Concentrate on the real culprits - those law officers who advised the officers and knew that they would remain in the background. Lenny Harper

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  9. Without a doubt the law officers are the guilty ones here, but the motives of those behind the decision to prosecute the officers remain incomprehensible.

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  10. Hi VFC.

    I think this will go nicely with your Blog Posting.

    Just put up the Audio of the Questions without Answers From the States Sitting today, you & your readers can listen HERE

    Hope it helps,

    TJW.

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  11. If the police officers are innocent of all wrong doing, it must follow that they were innocent because they were operating under the orders and sanction of their superiors.

    They have not been disciplined or found guilty of anything, therefore, logically it is safe to assume that their superiors and their advisers were the persons criticised by the Privy Council's Judgement. It is simple isnt it??

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  12. Is this really an example of the quality of advice that people are given from the Crown Officers: "If it was me I'd go ahead and do it, but don't quote me on that".

    The Beano is not the Rag

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  13. Sorry can someone help me here, who is the Crown Officer, why is he not being questioned? who does he have to account too? I heard it was a Matthew Jowitt, (his father I believe is a High Court Judge in the UK) this may answer why he was not brought to book and why the Privy Council did not bring him in harder! if the police system is under scrutiny then surely so is the case with the Crown officer/officers... who ever they are...... or have I missed something....

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  14. I have to disagree with some on here, to a degree at least.

    Without doubt Jowitt and the Law Officers' Department should be investigated. The comment "don't quote me on that" is the same as saying that he knows it is wrong and so he does not wish his name attached to it. Advising or encouraging the police to do something illegal in order to acheive a particular judicial outcome might be regarded as an attempt to pervert the course of justice.

    The police officers however were not schoolboys, they were long standing profesionals who knew exactly what Jowitt meant. They cannot rely on 'only following orders/advice'.

    Under the Police Discipline Code there is an offence of bringing the force into 'disrepute'. The trial judge and Supreme Court voiced their distain over "deliberate law breaking". This cannot by any stretch of the imagination (except by Jersey standards) be read as anything other than disreputable behaviour. i.e. It has damaged the reputation of the police force in the eyes of the court - and many of the public. It erodes public confidence in the police.

    As an aside, I am also very surprised to read that Advocate Santos Costa was on the panel adjudicating the police hearing. He is an 'external' Crown Advocate of some years standing and therfore often in the employ of the Attorney General.

    Nice to have a chap on the inside protecting the interests of the Crown?

    For their celebratory shin dig, I wonder if Inside Job were hired for the gig?

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  15. Now that you have put this story out in some detail VFC, the waters are starting to get rather muddy from my perspective!

    Do we have any concrete evidence that the order to bug came from Jowett? If it didn't, who gave the order? Was this order written? Was it sent in an Email? Was it verbal? If it was verbal, has it been recorded?

    One would think there would be some form of evidence that an order of this magnitude was given. Why has no one pointed it out thus far? The statement "If it was me I’d go ahead and do it, but don’t quote me on that." is 'NOT' an order to bug a car! It is simply a personal opinion, and a personal opinion that is clearly evidenced.

    This opinion was made 'OFF THE RECORD' as it has been clearly evidenced as such "but don't quote me on that". If three high ranking police officers are that stupid they take an off the cuff comment as an order, quite frankly, they need their heads testing and should be hung out to dry accordingly.

    Also, there was some talk of a female officer (who was this?) who was told she was refused permission for the bugging, if my memory is correct. If this was the case, and if Graham Power knew about this, he should have ordered them to come home immediately, simple as.

    I also find it inconceivable that high ranking police officers did not know the laws about jurisdiction abroad. It is not rocket science, especially when such matters can be addressed by a simple Google search!!!

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  16. I know little about this case but have always wondered whatever happened to the guy in Holland who was part of the original scheme...and what of the Jersey guys involved - have they nothing to say or complain about? Does nobody know - has anybody been asked?
    After all, if the Police were acting illegally then they all have grounds to complain to somebody surely. Especially since no drugs were ever actually imported so far as I know.
    All a bit fishy isn't it...and shall anybody ever be pursued for salting away the alleged £millions of proceeds that are supposedly hidden in a haven just like this...and shall the oh so respectable men in pin-striped suits be immune as always from censure or dare I suggest - prosecution?

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  17. It doesn't matter that no drugs were imported. They were rightly prosecuted for CONSPIRACY to import drugs.

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  18. If I may add VFC, the Law Officers department is the tightest closed shop in island history, they will throw a hundred cops to the wolves before they ever consider holding even one of their law officers accountable!

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  19. Hi VFC,

    I know you don't buy the JEP so may not be aware that tonight they ran a story about how Police crime statistics were down on previous years. This was heralded as some sort of triumph for Bowron.

    The reality of course is that this is a carefully crafted peice of spin doctoring designed to take the heat off the Home Affairs Minister who faced a barage of questions yesterday in the States.

    Once you used to looking for news in this way you can begin to see quite how desperate and politically paranoid the party machine has become.

    Jersey has lost its soul. We are run by vainglorious morons for the benefit of blind sheep.

    Keep up the good work. Its greatly appreciated.

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  20. Thanks for that very clear and well crafted timeline. It will certainly be useful in properly understanding future posts on the matter.

    It has already contributed to a high standard of debate in this thread.

    As usual, Lenny's comment is brief and to the point.

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  21. 103 local radio station have yet again broken their listening record, now 47,500.

    This is all thanks to Gripton, boss of Radio Jersey.

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  22. Ref the advice from the Crown Advocate - surely there are two different elements here:

    a. Bugging the car was illegal without the authority of other countries - fact.

    b. Such illegally obtained "might" be admissible - that could be argued at a later date - fact.

    But the bottom line is that the police knew the bugging was illegal.

    So they did well, got their man. But they cannot now hide behind the advice they were given. even if they are now being treated appalingly

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  23. Curtis Warren is hardly a criminal "Mastermind" when you consider he has spent the best years of his life in a little cell regardless of his alleged wealth.

    He is certainly not as "Dangerous" as the idiots in red robes who run this island

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  24. Let's make this very simple....

    My my advocate or accountant tells me there is a way I can avoid paying my taxes that will work but is not strictly legal. He say's "I am doing the same - but don't quote me"
    So I fiddle my tax and get caught - I cannot now hide behind my advocate - I have to take some responsibility because HELLO I am responsible.

    I suspect the puppet masters knew full well that two of those officers would nick their own grannies for doing 45mph if they could smell a few brownie points!

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  25. Update on the Troll, another illegal police raid, two more sexual assaults (perhaps on minors), and a month of CORRUPTION REVIEWS

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  26. Hi VFC.

    Just a quick one, you know Gwyn Garfield Bennett is or has left the BBC. Well she was interviewed yesterday by Sara on the Radio & one thing that was interesting that I just happened to listen too, was that she once wrote a book about Devil worshiping & Child abuse, but ITN who she was working for at the time didn't let her Publish it but she didn't expand any more.

    I just thought it was a strange thing to say with no explanation or reason, she wrights under the name of Alex Wilde. Does any of your readers know any more, so we can fill in the blanks.

    Very Strange indeed.

    TJW.

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  27. What TJW has posted about the writer and the book on abuse is very curious.

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  28. The Gwyn Garfield Bennett story is in need of some attention and follow-up IMO. She was willing to discuss it on air so she would probably answer follow up questions from investigative journalists at Voice?

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