Today we publish the written judgement of the Disciplinary Hearing conducted by Chief Constable Mike Barton of the Durham Constabulary who presided over the Hearing against the three Jersey Police Officers accused of illegally bugging a car used by a Curtis Warren "Gang Member" while conspiring to import a large quantity of drugs to the island.
Hopefully readers, with an interest in this story, will have read our previous postings on this unraveling debacle where we brought you the story, or anomaly, concerning "EQUALITY OF ARMS". We then brought readers attention to the way Jersey does "Democracy" where an urgent question, submitted by a democratically elected Member of Parliament, (legislator) surrounding the "Equality Of Arms" was disallowed by the Bailiff (head of the Judiciary) HERE. We then made our readers aware of a criminal investigation (conducted by Hants Police) into the three Police Officers, and others, involved in the "car bugging incident" which was codenamed "OPERATION INVICTA." Finally we brought you, the reader, a TIMELINE of events which brings us up to date where we publish (below) the written judgement of the Disciplinary Hearing.
SET A PRECEDENT the day that he published the Wilts Report, which as regular readers will be aware is the prosecution case, for a Disciplinary Hearing (that never took place) against Former Police Chief Graham Power QPM. After reading the Confidentiality Clauses set out in the Wilts Report, it was clear that it should never have been made public, unless there was an "outcome" but as Mr. Graham Power QPM was denied the opportunity of a Disciplinary Hearing there never was "an outcome." Senator Le Marquand abandoned the disciplinary Hearing and not only published a heavily redacted version of the prosecution case he actually took it on a media ROADSHOW. The precedent that Senator Le Marquand had set was that it is now acceptable for Disciplinary "prosecution cases" against Police Officers, and possibly others, can now be put into the public domain regardless of whether the Disciplinary Hearing takes place or not or of any confidentiality clauses.
We were convinced that Senator Le Marquand had breached the confidentiality Clauses contained in the Wilts Report and e-mailed him on a number of occasions in order to either verify or refute our understanding but he just chose to ignore the e-mails which has left us with the understanding that we are correct and he HAS breached the confidentiality clauses. Readers will be aware that, in the interest of fairness and balance, Mr Power QPM had asked that his submission to the Wilts (the interim defence case) be published by the Minister, which he has refused to do.
HERE. This will also go some way to explain why Bloggers (Jersey's only independent, and trusted, media) have been leaked these latest documents and the State Media hasn't....................Yet again.
Senator Le Marquand was also asked in the States (the island's parliament) if he would publish the written judgement of the disciplinary Hearing into the car bugging case and the Minister has refused.
Notwithstanding the precedent set by Senator Le Marquand we believe there is a huge public interest in publishing this written judgement and that is why we are taking the equally as huge risk by doing so. The opening line of this Blog Posting makes reference to "putting our necks on the line" that is because we believe we have a corrupt and politicised judicial system on the island, there are very powerful people in the Law Offices Department who will want to keep this written judgement out of the public domain for reasons that will no doubt become apparent after reading its contents. We believe that the Law Offices (the real power in Jersey) will ensure we will pay for this. We fully expect some severe repercussions and are unable to obtain a fair trial in Jersey due to its politicised judiciary.
We make no comment on the findings in the written judgement other than to say that the three cops damn well should be hauled over the coals and be held to account for their actions or inactions and believe they have been. They have been investigated by an outside police force in a criminal investigation and found with no case to answer. They have been subject to an internal Disciplinary Investigation and Hearing presided over by an outside Chief Constable and found with no case to answer. Not only have they been found with no case to answer but, as we previously posted, this all started with Former Police Chief Graham Power, Former Acting Police Chief David Warcup, and others recommending a commendation for the three Officers for the part they played in the Curtis Warren Investigation. After being subject to a criminal investigation AND a disciplinary investigation it has ended with the same recommendation. It is now time for the Law Officers to be subject to the same scrutiny and intense investigation as the cops have. With what has been revealed in the written judgement (below) we argue that there is a case for a criminal investigation into the activities of the Law Officers but encourage readers to come to their own opinions/judgements based on the evidence.
Rico has obtained, from local experts with experience in cases of this nature, a document that explains, in laymen terms, the meaning/significance of some of the most crucial paragraphs contained in the written judgement which can, and NEEDS to be read HERE.
Some names/identifications have been redacted.
In the Matter of Disciplinary proceedings
(Jersey) Order 2000
Detective Chief Inspector David Minty,
Inspector Louis Beghin Detective Sergeant Lawrence Courtness
Decision of the Disciplinary Tribunal
1. This matter concerns the police investigations into the criminal activities of Curtis Warren and others which commenced in or around June 2007.
2. In broad terms it is alleged by the Presenting Officer that the three officers who have been charged with disciplinary offences namely, Detective Chief Inspector David Minty, Inspector Louis Beghin and Detective Sergeant Lawrence Courtness, all agreed to mislead foreign authorities in relation to their activities with regard to the Warren investigation and particularly all three officers were involved in misleading the foreign authorities particularly the French, Dutch and Belgium law enforcement authorities in relation to audio surveillance of a vehicle which was used by the Defendants in the furtherance of their criminal activity.
3. It is alleged that these three officers not only misled foreign law enforcement officials but also senior officers within the States of Jersey Police Force and members of the Law Officers' Department in relation to the audio surveillance of the vehicle as it travelled through the foreign jurisdictions.
4. It is also alleged that Dl (name redacted) and DC (name redacted) were also involved in this deception although neither appear before this tribunal as Dl (name redacted) has now retired from the police force and DC (name redacted) has apparently been dealt with by the States of Jersey Police. In all cases the officers are charged contrary to paragraph 2 of the Discipline Code under the Order of 2000 namely that they acted without honesty and integrity in relation to Operation Koala-Floss (the code for the Curtis Warren investigation) and secondly, that their acts or omissions in relation to their activities in the furtherance of
the Curtis Warren investigation were likely to bring discredit on the States of Jersey Police Force contrary to paragraph 13 of the Discipline Code of the 2000 Order. These charges were particularised by the Presenting Officer and whilst a number of submissions have been made in relation to them, I have ruled and I am satisfied that the final version of the Particulars as circulated, gave all three officers ample opportunity to know the case that was being put against them and what they had to do to meet that case.
5. I am aware of the law in accordance with which I have to decide this matter and I am familiar with the test for 'honesty and integrity' as well as the test for 'disreputable conduct'. For ease of reference these tests and references to the law are set out very clearly at paragraphs 11 to 18 inclusive of Advocate MacRae's Skeleton Opening and the Human Rights legislation insofar as it is relevant is also set out very clearly at paragraphs 19 and 20 of the same document. No one has taken issue with these definitions and I fully endorse their accuracy. I should also point out that I have to determine the issues before me on the balance of probabilities and at the outset I would like to thank Advocate MacRae and Advocate Sinel for their advocacy in this case. Advocate MacRae has referred me to all of the relevant evidence in this matter and has done so in detail and has been of great assistance to me in reviewing the evidence. Advocate Sinel, albeit late in the case, has tackled his brief with great enthusiasm.
6. I should also say that I could not have presided in this case without the expert, knowledgeable and wise counsel provided by Advocate Santos-Costa. I would like to make it absolutely plain that all decisions made in this case are my own although Advocate Santos-Costa has advised me on the law and has made it clear to me that I have to determine this case on the balance of probabilities.
7. I should point out at this stage that not all advocacy in this case has been as good. The officers can, quite rightly, feel aggrieved that Advocate Gollop did not recognize an immediate conflict of interest. I also deprecate the manner in which Advocate Whittacker left the officers unrepresented. I remain perplexed where the money set aside for the potential expert McKay has gone. I also stated when I gave my verbal decision on Thursday 10 January 2013 that I did not expect to see my comments in the media and whilst I was not gagging others, I did make it clear that I did not authorise the use of my comments other than for this hearing and I do not authorise the publication of this written judgment other than for the purposes of this hearing.
8. I should also point out that when I gave my verbal decision in this matter, I referred specifically to a letter written by Assistant Chief Constable Pryde of the Hampshire Constabulary to the Attorney General dated 28 July 2011 did not receive an acknowledgement let alone a response. This was the evidence given by Detective Chief Superintendent Cessford who was a representative of the Hampshire Police. I am, however, informed that this letter although shown to me and confirmed by Mr Cessford as having been sent, was not actually sent to the Attorney General in Jersey and therefore my comments about finding it odd that there had been no response to this letter were, at the time that I made them, inaccurate. Be that as it may, and having now been informed that the letter was never sent, the position in relation to the co-operation by the Attorney General and the States Police in Jersey remains the same. I do find it odd that having asked the Hampshire Police to investigate the matters surrounding the Curtis Warren police operation, the authorities in Jersey did not co-operate fully in the way that I would have expected given that it was they that asked for the enquiry to be carried out. Mr. Cessford made this very clear and I have no reason to doubt it and that caused me some considerable surprise. I maintain that this lack of co-operation or, perhaps more accurately, lack of complete co-operation, can only have compromised the Hampshire enquiry and limited the full facts available to me to make a decision in this case. I stress again that this is just one of the unsatisfactory elements of this case which have either been decided upon or effected the Crown about which more later.
9. I do not propose to go into the facts of this case in any great detail. The Disciplinary Hearing has been fully recorded and all of the facts fully ventilated by Advocate MacRae both in oral submissions and in his skeleton opening. In essence, however, the facts are that in June 2007 the States of Jersey Police received intelligence suggesting that John Welsh (one of Curtis Warren's co-defendants) intended to orchestrate the shipment of a consignment of drugs, namely cannabis, into Jersey. As a result of the intelligence received, the States of Jersey Police sought to deploy intrusive surveillance on Welsh's motor vehicle, a Jersey registered VW Golf, J(number excised)
10. Initially an application was made under RIPL for 'property interference', in the form of a tracking device. That application was granted by the Solicitor General as Acting Attorney General on the 15 June 2007.
11. On the 3 July 2007 a separate application was made under RIPL for intrusive surveillance in the form of an audio device or 'bug' to be placed in Welsh's motor vehicle to monitor conversations between Welsh and his associates. The application was recommended by Sergeant Beghin who was, at the relevant time, the sergeant in charge of the drug squad. Again, the application was approved by the Acting Attorney General, Stephanie Nicolle QC, on the 3 July 2007. DCI Minty was ultimately in charge of the investigation particularly with regard to the surveillance and his subordinates in the operation were Dl (name redacted) and DS Beghin.
12. On 10 July 2007 a decision was taken to set up a covert monitoring post in the SOCA premises in the UK. The intention being that any product obtained from the audio device could be monitored and evidenced in the UK.
13. On 13 July 2007, the covert tracking device and audio recording device which had been authorised was deployed in Welsh's vehicle, J(number excised), and monitoring commenced.
14. It soon became obvious that Welsh intended to travel in his Jersey vehicle to Holland via France and Belgium and both Dl (name redacted) and DCI Minty were informed at a meeting with SOCA on 11 July 2007 that SOCA would not commit to recording of the audio product from Welsh's Jersey motor vehicle in the event that it travelled through Belgium, Holland and/or France without permission from the countries concerned. This was because the United Kingdom was a signatory to their Schengen Convention which required the consent of foreign nations to intrusive surveillance on their soil. The officers were therefore aware that in order to obtain further audio product there had to be a requirement for Letters of Request or Commission Rogatoires to be made by the Attorney General of Jersey and granted by the relevant foreign state. Advocate Jowitt was informed of this requirement by a telephone conversation on 1 July 2007 and he directed the officers to Rebecca Boxall of the Law Officers' Department who then undertook to make three urgent applications for permission to track and to undertake audio surveillance in Welsh's Jersey VW car.
15. The result of these requests were that neither the French authorities nor the Dutch gave their consent for audio tracking to be monitored within their jurisdictions and in very broad terms the allegations are that the officers knew this and knew that they needed French and Dutch consent to monitor the audio product in those jurisdictions, didn't have it and proceeded without it.
16. To a large extent this is a factually accurate summary of events, however, the French and Dutch authorities did give consent to track Welsh's Jersey vehicle through France and Holland as did the Belgium authorities and, Commissions Rogatoires were in place in relation to that particular vehicle. There was however, no permission granted by the French or the Dutch authorities at any time to install and monitor audio tracking devices in their jurisdictions. Both DS Beghin and Dl (name redacted) (as they then were) did speak on 11 July 2007, to Advocate Jowitt, the Crown Advocate with conduct of the criminal prosecution against Warren and others, about the likelihood of receiving the necessary permissions for this technical tracking and audio monitoring in other jurisdictions. In essence, Crown Advocate Jowitt stated that this was essentially an operational decision for the police but he also stated that any audio evidence obtained was unlikely to be excluded by a Jersey Court regardless of whether consent had been obtained or not. He went on to say, "if it was me I would go ahead and do it but don't quote me on that". The Presenting Officer makes it clear that in his view, this was not 'legal advice' and should not have been relied upon. Whilst I accept that this was not legal advice as such, I nevertheless think that it was a comment made by a senior Crown Advocate having conduct of the prosecution of the case which could only serve to encourage the officers in deploying the audio monitoring device in the vehicle and obtaining the product to see later whether it would be admissible in Court or not. It is right that this was an operational decision but, nevertheless, it cannot be the case that the officers are not entitled to at least take some comfort from what they are told by the Crown Advocate prosecuting the case. Ultimately, it became clear that Welsh would not be travelling in his own vehicle but would be travelling as a foot passenger to France where upon he would collect a hire car. Ultimately the officers decided to ascertain the identity of the hire car and obtained the permission of the hirer namely, (name redacted), to install devices into the hire vehicle. As far as fitting the tracking devices on the hire car were concerned, a police to police request was made of the French police to allow the installation of a "tracking device on the rental car". No mention was made of an audio device and ultimately the French police apparently gave consent for a tracking device to be installed.
17. The hire car company certainly gave its consent for the hire car to be wired and this is clear from the fact that they handed over the hire car to the Jersey police in the first place and the Jersey police had to pay for the rental of the vehicle until such time as they could remove the tracking devices so they did not impact on anyone else who may have hired the car.
18. It is also right to say that the foreign authorities assisted the Jersey police in relation not to the VW in respect of which Commission Rogatoires had been obtained but in respect of the Citroen hire car.
19. The allegations therefore are that DCI Minty and DS Beghin (as he then was), lied to foreign authorities by not informing them that an audio tracking device had been deployed in the hire car and that they were going to monitor the audio product from Jersey.
20. As far as DC Courtness (as he was then) is concerned, then he is accused of being party to a lie to the French police because he was called on duty to travel to France in order to fit the tracking and audio devices and prior to leaving the Jersey police headquarters to catch the boat to go to France he asked DS Beghin (as he then was) what he should say to the French if they asked what he was doing fitting the audio device and DS Beghin told him to say that this was a back-up tracking device which was clearly not the case. In the event, DC (name redacted) who accompanied DC Courtness to France was there as an interpreter and it was she who told the French police that the audio device was a back-up tracking device and that is essentially the allegation against DC Courtness.
21. I found all of the officers to be open and honest. They were working 20 hours a day for a month at a stretch. Any errors, omissions or partial briefings in e-mails or similar are understandable. This case spanned far more than whether the Dutch had agreed to the listening of an audio device in the hire car. For example, there were Commission Rogatoires in place - indeed the three countries, Holland, Belgium and France, fully co-operated with surveillance assets, interestingly for the red Citroen hire car, not the VW Golf that Rebecca Boxall had stipulated in her requests for co operation. I found DS Courtness' evidence to be utterly convincing. He was placed in an unenviable position and has approached his role professionally. He was asked to do a particular job on a particular day and was not directly involved in communicating anything at all to French police officers. Indeed, he could not speak French and they could not speak English so I fail to see how he could have misled them in any way. He asked, understandably in a covert policing operation, what he was to say to French police in the event that they asked questions about the audio device and his superior officer told him what to say. In the event he didn't say anything at all to the French Police and, therefore, I find it difficult to see why he is in this position defending disciplinary charges.
22. I find that on the evidence as a whole (hire car firm) did consent to the property interference in relation to their car. This is implicit from the fact that they allowed the officers to install the devices, made the car available and charged the States of Jersey Police to be able to remove the kit.
23. I find some of Detective Inspector Beghin's evidence to have been eroded by time. His fortitude in giving evidence against a doctor's advice has gone in his favour. He was working incredible hours and he is a witness of truth. I can see why he feels he was thrown to the wolves. I also understand that since the time of my verbal decision in this matter and this written Judgment, Dl Beghin has fallen ill and was admitted to intensive care. I wish him a speedy recovery and I hope that he is able to move on with his life once he does recover.
24. DCI Minty had more of a pivotal role in allegedly mis-informing colleagues. Much has been made of his e-mail traffic and influence on others. His evidence in recollection also has been affected by time but I found his evidence to be compelling. It was also helpful to have the perspective offered by retired Inspector (name redacted). One could see the passion of the team for crime fighting.
25. I do not find it sinister that there are similarities in evidence given by witnesses. Officers will have discussed matters and there recollections have been tested in more than one Court.
26. I stress that this was a covert operation in relation to the investigation of serious crime with regard to serious criminals particularly, Curtis Warren, who was apparently seeking to get a foot hold in Jersey which would have been very detrimental indeed to the Jersey community.
27. It is, of course, right to say that when analysed objectively and in a vacuum, some of the e-mails that Advocate MacRae has referred me to, together with some of the exchanges that have taken place, do not necessarily depict the entire truth of the situation. In my view, however, this is not a deliberate attempt on the part of the officers to mislead but more an incomplete picture which is very much influenced by the extremely long hours that they were working and the pressures they were under throughout this investigation. Decisions had to be made quickly and evidence had to be obtained quickly otherwise it would be gone forever.
28. I am, of course, mindful of the Privy Council decision. Indeed, I agree with the Learned Law Lords (for what it is worth) as they have overturned in my view what was bad law in relation to the impact of admissible evidence tainted with police malpractice. Insofar as concerns the monitoring of the audio device and the use of its product, it may well be deemed to be unlawful insofar as concerns the lack of specific foreign consent to these actions but, this is not because it is contrary to RIPL. It is not RIPL that creates the unlawfulness as RIPL is an enabling Statute. The unlawfulness is simply caused by the fact that it is simply unlawful to obtain intrusive surveillance in foreign jurisdictions without the consent of that jurisdiction. Be that as it may, the Privy Council ultimately ruled that the evidence was admissible and this evidence was clearly important evidence in the conviction of Curtis Warren and his gang. As a result of the obtaining of this evidence, a serious criminal had gone to jail for a very long period of time.
29. As far as the Privy Council case is concerned then this is a different hearing. In relation to this disciplinary hearing I have heard different evidence, evidence that the Privy Council did not hear and that is why I have come to a verdict which some may say is contrary to the comments made by the Privy Council but I disagree that it is contradictory because as I have said I have heard different evidence. I have tried my best to be fair to all parties throughout these proceedings. I have let matters run within a reasonable time and I have read all the evidence offered in documentary form, even the unsatisfactory elements such as statements that have been submitted to me unsigned and transposed onto Hampshire Police paper without the signed versions being put to the witnesses. It may well be that these statements are identical to the signed versions but when a witness calls the statements into question I am in some difficulty when the signed versions are not put before me. Moreover, it was made clear to me that the Presenting Officer had put forward all of the evidence that was necessary in this case and that did not include signed versions of the statements. I have, however, listened carefully to all of the witnesses and I have balanced all of the evidence to come to my conclusion. In my conclusion I have no doubt that the officers have done nothing reprehensible. They have not broken the disciplinary code. Indeed, the evidence has shown me that they were part of a professional and effective investigation team.
30. I have heard the reported remarks attributed to Messrs. Warcup and Power about commendations for these officers and I agree with those sentiments. These and other officers protected the Island of Jersey from one of the UK's worst criminals, for that they should continue to take professional and personal satisfaction.
31. In all the circumstances, I find that none of the charges against these officers are proved and I dismiss all charges accordingly.
Dated this 15th day of January 2013(END)
Time now then to investigate the Law Offices' and ask why the State Media were not trusted with this document?