Tuesday, 5 March 2013
Two Sides To The Story.
Former Deputy, and Anti Child Abuse Campaigner, Daniel Wimberley, wrote to Chief Minister Ian Gorst back in November 2012 with his concerns relating to the Child Abuse Committee Of Inquiry and its Terms of Reference.
Mr. Wimberley outlines the many discrepancies between the "Official Government Line" and "The Truth" concerning the Child Abuse atrocities and related issues including the illegal suspension of Former Police Chief, Graham Power QPM, the Napier Report, the so called, Met Interim Report and much more.
The letter was written in the hope of striking up a dialogue with the Chief Minister in order to help shape some fit for purpose Terms Of Reference for the Child Abuse Committee Of Inquiry due to be debated in the island's parliament tomorrow (Wed 6 March 2013). Links will be published for our overseas readers where the debate can be listened to online and members of Team Voice will be tweeting the debate using the hash-tag #coijersey.
Alleged Chief Minister Gorst did not reply to Mr. Wimberley's letter so he (Mr. Wimberley) sees value, for the historic record, in making the letter public in the hope that people will gain a wider understanding of the questions still being asked and whether the Committee Of Inquiry will be given the tools to glean the answers.
Dear Chief Minister, November 1st 2012
I see that the proposition for establishing a Committee of Inquiry (CoI) into the issues surrounding child abuse in the island is due to be published next week.
This letter concerns the Terms of Reference of such an Inquiry. I believe that it is most likely that the Terms of Reference as presented by the Council of Ministers to the States will be passed. I also believe that if the Terms of Reference are deemed to be faulty in one or another aspect, and an amendment or amendments are brought by backbenchers, then it is most likely that they will not succeed.
That is my belief, and I would expect that you agree. It is after all what tends to happen, not always but in the majority of cases. And so it is very important that the Terms of Reference, as proposed by the Council of Ministers, are “right first time”.
I am asking you to ensure that the Terms of Reference proposed by the Council of Ministers will allow the Inquiry to consider:
· The conduct of the police investigation
· The conduct of the Law Officers Department (LOD)
· The conduct of other individuals, public bodies and agencies of government as they affected the investigation
I am asking this because I fear that if these areas are excluded, then many key issues will be excluded. For example, if it is true, as many believe, that the initial Power/Harper police investigation was effectively “shut down / discredited” then this has serious implications. Why would it be shut down? Whose interests might be protected if the investigation was to be “shut down / discredited”? Does the “shutting down / discrediting” of the investigation mean that some guilty parties, guilty either of abuse, or of aiding abuse, or of concealing abuse, might escape justice, which is a view that has been clearly expressed, by for example, David James Smith, crime journalist for the Times, at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6241652.ece
I am not saying how much, if any, of this chain of reasoning is justifiable. I am saying that many believe the notion that the investigation was effectively “shut down / discredited” and that this can be shown to be in line with the facts of the matter.
Conversely there are many who believe that the Power/Harper team were a disaster, and somehow systems should have been in place to stop all their mistakes.
That is just one example. I will list in the Appendix some of the many matters which require to be explained, if this whole affair is ever to reach closure, the island is to be brought back into a state of harmony, and a reasonable level of trust in island institutions can be restored.
As chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten has had to deal with the fallout from the recent revelations about Jimmy Savile. In a recent article for the Mail on Sunday  he expressed his reactions thus:
“Did some turn a blind eye to criminality? Did some prefer not to follow up their suspicions because of this criminal’s popularity and place in the schedules? Were reports of criminality put aside or buried? Even those of us who were not there at the time are inheritors of the shame.” (my emphasis)
So how does the BBC respond to this critical situation, involving child abuse and one of their leading stars? By launching three inquiries:
“The first inquiry, led by Nick Pollard, former head of Sky News, will look at all aspects of the Newsnight report: the reasons for dropping it, whether editor Peter Rippon was leaned on by senior executives to drop the item, how the fallout of the decision was handled, and how the editor came to produce a blog explaining his decisions in terms that no longer seem accurate. We want and need a full account of what happened, wherever its conclusions lead. The Trust will publish it and take whatever steps are necessary. (my emphasis)
“The second inquiry will be conducted by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith. She will examine the BBC’s culture and practices in the years that Savile worked there. She will also examine whether BBC child protection and whistle blowing policies are good enough. Due to the nature of the subject, her report is likely to take longer to produce.”
“Third, the Director-General has appointed a distinguished QC, Dinah Rose, to advise the BBC on its sexual harassment policies and practices.”
Patten goes on:
“The independent inquiries are not smokescreens behind which we can hide. They must and will get to the truth of what happened. The BBC must tell the truth and face up to the truth about itself, however terrible.” (my emphasis)
Please can Jersey’s government take a leaf out of Chris Patten’s book? He is taking immediate, strong and genuine action because he can see the dangers. There is an unequivocal commitment to finding out the truth and to taking any remedial action necessary.
The BBC is beholden to the license-fee payers, on whose support he depends, and that means virtually all of us. For them he has to protect the reputation and integrity of the institution. He has also to save the self-respect and the self-confidence of all those who work for the BBC. I also happen to find from the tone of his remarks that he genuinely is shocked and genuinely believes that the course of action he is taking is right on moral grounds alone.
Does all this not apply equally to the issue of child abuse in Jersey? Indeed one only has to change a few words in the paragraph above: for Chris Patten write Ian Gorst; for “chair of the BBC Trust” write “Chief Minister of the Council of Ministers”; for “license-fee payers” write “the people of Jersey”.
The only difference is that you, as Chief Minister, are responsible both for matters of compliance and for execution, which Mr. Patten is not. No matter. It falls to you, in this instance, to act to protect (or some would say renew) the integrity and reputation of the island of Jersey and its institutions, and its government.
I hope that you and the Council of Ministers will make sure that the TOR are as wide-ranging as I have asked, for the reasons I have given. But hope is not enough. There are no serious checks and balances in Jersey, no diverse and independent-minded press ready to pounce on this issue and sound the alarm, no-one to blow the whistle and raise the stakes on the issue as David Cameron has about the BBC.
Therefore, if you attempt to sweep these issues under the carpet, then you are forcing me to seek out checks and balances elsewhere to highlight what you are doing, and the word “Confidential” at the head of this letter will no longer apply.
I close with what two islanders wrote in online comments to an article in the JEP:
“How ironic the vast majority of us want the same thing the truth some are clearly supporters of the C.O.M others the survivors and some I think just the plain truth. A few are just worried about the money being spent to those I would say the finance industry like it or not works on trust and stability the continuing allegations are destroying that.
Can’t we put the politics aside and work to getting the truth or it will continue festering to the detriment of us all, and Jersey will be destroyed. The C.O.M keep saying that nothing serious happened but something did happen and the truth about what happened needs to be exposed and in a way that can be believed and accepted by all.
As per my previous post that can only be obtained by a truly independent enquiry with only one term of reference the TRUTH”
and from the same discussion thread:
“Until the wound is completely cleaned out and treated it will continue to fester and never heal. Those who might be innocent in all this, but unfairly blamed by ‘unproven hearsay’ will forever carry the weight of suspicion. Conspiracy theories will continue to be nurtured and gossip will thrive.
A full, thorough and independant (sic) enquiry, inclusive and involving all interested parties is, in my humble opinion, the only way we will ever be able to put this sorry saga to bed.”
Listed below are just some of the issues which have to be addressed if this CoI can be said to be comprehensive and provide, in the words of Chris Patten “a full account of what happened” so that we “can take whatever steps are necessary.”
(NOTE all emphases are mine unless where otherwise stated)
On the one hand:
Mick Gradwell: “'I have never seen anything like this in 30 years. In respect of sexual offences I have been a detective for 22 years, I can show convictions for rapes and sex offences by predatory paedophiles as well as a huge number of murders, but I have never ever seen police working in this way, I really am absolutely shocked by what has gone on. It is abhorrent behaviour.” Cited on Voice for Children blog as “said on leaving Jersey”
On the other hand:
“In a statement dated 7th May, 2009 Andrew Lewis speaks of his briefings by the H.W.G. (the Homicide Working Group of ACPO) and states in paragraph 8, “When I received their report with the recommendations, I was told by Andy Baker that the investigation was a “shining example” of how an investigation of this type should be run and that they were satisfied that the S.I.O. was doing a good job” Power statement to the Wiltshire Inquiry paragraph 158 
On the one hand:
I remember the Wiltshire report being highly critical, both of specific media events, (Graham Power was asked by Wiltshire to comment on “the sensationalist media releases”) and of the lack of attention to media issues and of an overall strategy.
On the other hand:
I have read Graham Power’s statement to Wiltshire. Paragraphs 285 onwards show quite clearly that media issues were given considered and constant attention by the Power / Harper team. Some examples: before the inquiry went public the creation of a website giving contact details and encouraging victims to get in touch, likewise pre-emptive briefings of the key politicians about what might happen in terms of media; the need to emphasise the “independence and integrity of the police” in an environment where that was not always taken for granted by certain sections of society; the pro-active approach taken to the service of remorse organised by the Dean of Jersey at Gouray church on 26th February; strategy was clearly discussed (paragraph 298 and 299) and it goes on.
On the one hand:
“I had written in detail about the child-abuse inquiry last year. I had never given much credence to the more lurid tales of possible homicides, mainly because I had been counselled against them by Lenny Harper. There were no missing children, he said, clearly and often, and there was no evidence of murder”
Times article, May 10, 2009, by David James Smith, “Britain’s foremost crime writer,” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6241652.ece
“I told Bob Key (on 25th February, the day before the service at Gouray church, and two days after the announcement of the “piece of skull” find) our position was that we did not know if any crime had been committed, and that contrary to reports there was no murder enquiry. I suggested as best I could, that he tone his words accordingly.” Power statement to Wiltshire, paragraph 296
“LH emphasises that there is no evidence that anyone was murdered or died at Haut de la Garenne in these rooms but there is evidence of abuse there” (Power statement to Wiltshire, paragraph 302, quoting a report by PC Dunwell-Smith recording what Lenny Harper said on Sky TV on 28/02/08)
“I note that in his statement Frank Walker refers to an announcement that a full homicide enquiry could not be justified, which was made on 18th April 2008. . . . other similar announcements were made around that time but did not seem to receive adequate exposure.” Power statement to Wiltshire, paragraph 323
On the other hand:
"unfounded suggestion of multiple murders" Commissioner Sir Christopher Pitcher
“An assessment of the evidence available has revealed that the forensic recoveries do not indicate that there have been murders of children or other people at Haut de la Garenne” (Press Release, Operation Rectangle November 12th 2008)
· “The basis on which he (Graham Power) was suspended was in my view inadequate” (Napier paragraph 107)
· Too much reliance was placed on just one letter, that of David Warcup. No other evidence was taken into account. (Napier paragraph 107)
· The Chief Minister resisted to the utmost letting Graham Power know the dates on which the suspension letters were created.
· The Met Interim report on which David Warcup relied to some extent in his letter, and for the Press Conference of November 12th 2008, had caveats. The Law officers specifically warned against using the report if it had caveats. (Napier, paragraph 45)
· The Met Interim Report was part of a learning-type review process which should never be used in a disciplinary context. (Wiltshire, reference not to hand) And yet it was so used.
· Until the 11th November 2008, the Home Affairs Minister at the time, Andrew Lewis, “had no reason to believe that they (that is, the States of Jersey Police) were not managing the investigation well.” (Mr. Lewis’ statement to the Wiltshire Police) and yet on February 22 2010, responding to the impending debate on P9/2010 and to Graham Power’s Affidavit, former Minister Lewis wrote: “I had been aware for some time of concerns about the command and control of the Child Abuse Inquiry.” These two statements cannot both be true.
· “As from October 10 he (Mr. Ogley) was making preparations for the possible suspension of the Chief officer (of Police) . . .” (Napier, paragraph 79) and “there was little objective basis for planning such precautionary measures as at 10 October” (Napier, paragraph 80)
· The hearing itself did not accord with natural justice as the person facing suspension was given no notice, no time to prepare, no representation and the documents on which the suspension was based
“This particular officer, in my view, caused enormous problems in this Island, not just in this context, but in the context of the police force generally, and he is, in my opinion, an incompetent maverick and not in the least a credible person to be believed by this Assembly or anywhere else." (Minister for Home Affairs, debate on P19 Tadier amendment, Hansard, March 1st 2011)
This is not the view of the abuse survivors.
Nor of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) who have praised the leadership of the force, and its success in reducing crime, nor of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) advisory team who mentored and advised on the handling of the Haut de la Garenne investigation
A balanced report of the entire investigation can be read here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article6241652.ece
Again and again there are two completely different versions of events. Or there are contradictions which appear to make no sense. And yet the consequences were severe – the suspension (effectively the dismissal) of our Chief of Police in utterly extraordinary circumstances.
In fact sense can be made of all of this – but without a Committee of Inquiry with the powers and remit to find the truth such hypotheses cannot be fully tested. And the truth is ultimately the only way this will all be resolved.
 MAIL ONSUNDAY: PUBLISHED: 23:34 GMT, 27 October 2012 | UPDATED: 21:20 GMT, 28 October 2012
 I am aware that the Minister for Home Affairs tried to discredit the ACPO reports by suggesting that as Andy Baker was applying for a top job at SoJP he was biassed towards praising the inquiry. Mr. Power has refuted this caustically pointing out that a) he, Graham Power had nothing to do with the selection process whatsoever, and b) that praising the investigation was hardly going to win brownie points in the atmosphere prevailing at the time. I would add, c) that trimming one’s views away from what is useful towards what is cosmetic is hardly a good way of recommending oneself as a top policeman, and c) people at the top of their profession, as Baker was, are unlikely to jeopardise their reputation by not doing their job properly. The point being that here too there are two sides to the story.(END)
Will this Committee Of Inquiry be able to deliver the answers? Why would Senator Gorst ignore Mr. Wimberley's letter? Why have the Council Of Ministers been dragged, kicking and screaming to this Committee Of Inquiry? Is there any real appetite from the COM (Law Offices) to get to the truth? After tomorrow's debate, will Senator Le Gresley be offering his RESIGNATION?