Friday, 11 September 2015

Statement from Francis Oldham QC.

The Chair of the IJCI Frances Oldham QC has made a statement on the progress of the Inquiry. Mrs Oldham was speaking at the close of Phase 1 of the hearings during which evidence was heard from former residents of Jersey's care system, those who worked in child care services and those accused of abuse.  

00:05 "I explained at the start of this inquiry that the intention was to hear the evidence in three phases, each of which would aim to cover specific terms of reference.
00:14 “In Phase 1 we heard evidence from those who gave accounts of physical, sexual and emotional abuse. We heard from those who worked in, or were in contact with, child care services - there will be some more evidence to hear on that. We also heard in Phase 1 from those accused of abuse.
00:32 “In October the Inquiry will begin hearings in relation to Phase 2. At that stage we will look at the decisions taken in relation to the timing of the police investigation and subsequent decisions to prosecute alleged abusers. Did those responsible for deciding which cases to prosecute take a professional approach? Was that process free from political or other interference at any level?
01:12 “Phase 3 is the final phase of the Inquiry. We will examine whether the child care system since the war was adequate. What went wrong? Has the system changed for the better and what is the way forward? As part of that process the Panel will invite views and recommendations from the community at large about the future of Jersey's children - details will shortly be published on the website.
01:40 “Let us have your views on what needs to change. What are the barriers to change in Jersey? What could you or your agency contribute to that process? We want to ensure that Jersey has a high quality and cohesive care system for its children and your contribution will assist us."
02:01 END


  1. “Let us have your views on what needs to change. What are the barriers to change in Jersey? What could you or your agency contribute to that process? We want to ensure that Jersey has a high quality and cohesive care system for its children and your contribution will assist us."

    Fair enough.

    Could we suggest setting up a CoI into child abuse which actually IS "independent" for purpose
    .......human rights compliant
    .......not PR centred with costly retained, or ex BBC PR staff
    .......not an over priced lawyer fest, with the bulk flushed on the bad guys.
    .......not being "assisted" by the ilk of Richard Jouault

    Can future generations of children be protected by a political and judicial system with "separation of powers"

    Can future generations of children and parents be protected by an "independent" Police Complaints Authority which has not been hijacked/outsourced by the very law firms responsible for previous cover ups.

    Can we have a Police force which actually investigates inconvenient complaints and accusations.

    It is worth ever so politely suggesting these things but Ms Oldham's CoI has a poor track record of taking on board (or even responding to) inconvenient suggestions or requests.

    Daniel Wimberley put a huge amount of unpaid work into this which was published in full on the VFC blog:

    Millions of pounds later "we are where we are"

    The "Oldham Report" had better be good or she and her reputation are history.

    1. How come 'Eversheds' sounds so much like a brand of whitewash?

    2. Eversheds Whitewash. Just £6 million a can.

      At that price you would expect it to be "one coat"

      but you can see the rot through this stuff.

  2. So the inquiry aren't going to deal with the all-powerful circle or expose them then?

  3. Please do not tell me that this CoI will not have all of the Law Officers (past and present) who over saw this disgraceful period in our history called to account for their involvement? With all that is and will come forward where was the JEP? this Islands only newspaper, as I am sure everyone with even half a brain can see the JEP is now 'flowing' with information, BUT you cannot tell me that this organ of the Island who professes to have the 'pulse' of the Island did not know of what went on over the past sixty years? hell even I as a young kid heard the rumours!! The JEP perhaps more than any other is culpable for NOT doing what it should have done and that is expose the rotten core that was always evident.

  4. "Was that process free from political or other interference at any level?"
    The COI have three choices in answering this question they present : 1/ Keep going with their blinkers in place. 2/ Resign Or, 3/ Do what they are being paid millions to do!

  5. It is this very Committee of Enquiry that can safe guard the children of jersey. Start by hauling in the Law Office. My suggestion would be - start with Philip Bailhache and work your way down. The L;aw Office and the Culture of secrecy.

    1. The biggest problem Jersey and its children has is the Law Office and if the COI doesn't conclude that in its final report the whole exercise would have been a waste of time as far as safe guarding children is concerned.

  6. "Was that process free from POLITICAL or OTHER interference at any level?". No and they know it.

    1. Among many others in the Law Offices' Department, William Bailhache has some very uncomfortable QUESTIONS TO ANSWER.

  7. Importantly, in Oldham's words:
    [when we look at] ".....subsequent decisions to prosecute alleged abusers. Did those responsible for deciding which cases to prosecute take a professional approach? Was that process free from political or other interference at any level?"
    Is she reviewing any of the [non] prosecution decisions e.g. Mr.K (multi identity rapist and torturer?) or is she restricting herself to only looking for evidence of interference in these decisions?

    If the Bailhache brothers weren't "interfered" with (or she isn't presented with any evidence of this), does that make their decisions "OK", and her final report sanitised?

    1. "Oldham's words" are in fact Term of Reference 13. This was a very hard fought for TOR strongly resisted by the Chief Minister (Law Offices' Department).

      Here it is in full:

      13. Establish the process by which files were submitted by the States of Jersey Police to the prosecuting authorities for consideration, and establish –

      • Whether those responsible for deciding on which cases to prosecute took a professional approach;

      • Whether the process was free from political or other interference at any level.

      If, for these purposes, or as a result of evidence given under paragraph 7, in the opinion of the Chairman of the Committee, it would be of assistance that one or more of the prosecution files underpinning any prosecution decision may be examined in a manner to be determined by the Committee.

    2. Mr. Bailhache's golf buddy12 September 2015 at 09:54

      Thank you VFC.

      So was Frances Oldham QC being brief in her verbal statement
      OR was this a subtle legalese notification that further parts of the TOR's have "evaporated off the page"?

      Bob Hill's similarly "very hard fought for TOR" that was part of the Napier Review into the illegal suspension of the Chief of Police G.Power, unbelievably fell off the page after it had all been agreed. The Napier Review was highly critical, but famously "found no evidence".

      The responsible politicians eventually stated that this was down to a "typographical error"!!!
      Only the Jersey electorate were gullible enough to believe that.

      For avoidance of doubt QC Oldham presumably has also issued a less brief written statement without this TOR being omitted/watered down?
      Otherwise it looks like a preamble for issuing "the client" with a clean bill of health.

  8. Make your minds up12 September 2015 at 09:40

    I thought this inquiry was not fit for purpose?

    1. Did you? Does that mean you've changed your mind? If that is the case glad you've made your mind up.

  9. Viewing that video statement, it strikes me that she isn’t terribly bright? For the head of a public inquiry into matters serious enough to lead to politicians and judges being stripped of office and prosecuted, you’d expect a Chair of sufficient calibre to be able to deliver a brief statement without having to read it from autocue? She isn’t even terribly good at that. (Incidentally neither are the public inquiry’s spin doctors. Basic mistake by the handlers, don’t let the autocue screen be visibly reflected in the eyes of your charge.)

  10. The person attempting to smear Stuart Syvret submitting a comment with an opening line of ;

    “I have spent the past hour reading many COI transcripts.”

    You lost your argument right there. An HOUR reading MANY of the transcripts? You would have a hell of a struggle reading just ONE of the transcripts let alone MANY of them in an hour.

    You really must try harder.

  11. VFC, some suggestions to readers who want to submit comments. I've noticed that I'm having difficulty both saving and submitting comments since I recently went from Windows 8 to Windows 10 and the up-graded browser. If anyone else is having that problem try Chrome, Firefox or one of the other browsers. And generally, it's a very good idea to draft your comment in a word document first, then copying & pasting it to the comment box. If you don't do that, you risk losing your writing if the comment box fails to work.

  12. An interesting discussion.

    Now we see signs of the Chair and the CoI beginning to wriggle and resile from even the weak and defective ToRs, it’s useful to appraise again our perspective on the entire controversy.

    On the 9th March 2014 I wrote a posting published on FreeSpeachOffShore titled, “The Public’s Inquiry into the Public Inquiry Starts Here” : -

    In that article I said a major problem this “public inquiry” faced in delivering the customary whitewash was that “it’s redundant before it’s even begun”.

    Here’s a quote: -

    “It is redundant, at least, in that there’s no need to discover and identify the core issues – the neglect – the psychological abuse – the violence – the savage barbarisms – the rape of children – the gross systemic failings – the collapse in professional accountability – the cultural group-think of Jersey’s polity – an absence of rudimentary competencies – widespread ethical bankruptcy – the complete absence of effective checks and balances – jaw-dropping obstructions to honest, ethical Police Officers – undisguised corruption and abuses of power – witness-intimidation – fear – suppression – and a toxic rot in the Crown functions of prosecution & judiciary in Jersey.

    All of those things are already known, evidenced facts.

    They are known facts because a grass-roots network of survivors, whistle-blowers, activists and bloggers have spent the last six years sharing, researching, collating, speaking, drawing connections, studying, curating – and publishing.”

    That article is an important part of our historic archive. Perhaps someone could do a clickable link?

    Because the evidence – because the core facts which proves a breakdown in the rule of law in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey - were already uncovered and exposed by Jersey citizen media, the judgment of history already stands in plain sight and awaiting this “public inquiry”. The CoI either endorses and supports our findings – as the report of the Howard League for Penal Reform did – or the CoI proves itself to be corrupt, and merely the latest phase of the cover-up.

    No hiding place.

    Stuart Syvret

    1. I think Ms Oldham may have realised how foolhardy has been the collusion with the Jersey power/Civil Service hamstrung CoI.

      See her previous statement, published at:

      She may use the non cooperation of teh Law Officers etc. as an excuse for curtailed/incomplete report and the serious overspend but in reality to now avoid professional and reputational suicide she must now show considerable fortitude and make the very best of a bad job.

      While technically the previous mistakes make the situation unrecoverable, if she now proceeds to and beyond her abilities and the full TOR's she may not come out of this that badly.

      If her report is rejected/unimplemented because it is too hard hitting and because the "lessons to be learned" are too many and too hard it will not be Frances Oldham QC who looks like an incompetent shyster.

      Thus far she has let herself down at almost every opportunity.
      What is her end game? If she has made enough off the Jersey taxpayer to retire, she may not care.

      Otherwise Mr. Syvret's polite reminder of the full extent of the remaining TOR's may be just what she needs.

  13. All this blog does is turn out negative comments about the COI and attempt to tell Francis Oldham QC how to do her job.
    Thank God those giving evidence have not been distracted by this because if they had, it would have been shameful.

    1. No @10:25, to his credit VFC continues to give the CoI the benefit of the doubt at every opportunity.

      This despite being banned (along with the rest of Team Voice & Ex Deputy Bob Hill) from being able to report effectively on it through their summery exclusion from the media room.

      True to form VFC rises above this even though it was particularly damaging and belittling to VFC because of his disability.

      This "schoolteacher response" was as a result of criticism by Stuart Syvret. It is the CoI which does not permit criticism. Do you think that Francis Oldham QC might have made a mistake there in a CoI that was already struggling with public and survivor confidence?

      That said, campaigners and survivors can be delighted with the CoI has confirmed so many facts that were available on the blogs nearly a decade ago.
      @10:25, Don't you think that Francis Oldham QC now needs to pull out all the stops so that Jersey Taxpayers don't feel utterly robbed?

  14. Not so much Gorst, but the two Chief Ministers before him were very much involved in political interference, especially to do with the Chief of Police, Graham Power's illegal suspension. Does anyone know if Frank Walker and Terry Le Sueur are likely to be invited(?) to give evidence at this COI?

    1. It's difficult, if not impossible, to imagine they won't be called to answer for their actions. After Ben Shenton's evidence last week (even without it) Jimmy Perchard has serious questions to answer and after Paul Le Claire's evidence (even without it) Frank Walker has some explaining to do. Terry Le Sueur similarly.

  15. Do you have a link (or page No) for Ben Shenton & Paul Le Claire's evidence?

    1. The transcripts/documents have not been uploaded yet. When they are uploaded they will be HERE.

  16. I have this feeling that there is going to be a brazen fight back from the UK establishment to "put to bed" the accusations against Ted Heath and living MP's

    Harvey Proctor left the country after his bizarre (and in parts erroneous) statement:

    We now seem to have the screws being tightened on other witnesses on apparently rather dubious grounds:

    The grounds for referring the witness' son to Social Services is apparently that "abuse victims are more likely to abuse". That may statistically be the case but the same is probably true of, say schoolteachers, who would not generally have their children referred purely on statistical grounds.

    It would be particularly interesting if that UK fight back coincided with the release of a defective Jersey report.

    It's a long shot and I hope I am wrong.

    1. There are some obvious points which should be borne in mind when looking at the British child-abuse cover-ups scandal.

      That there were a number of episodes of very serious child-abuse and associated cover-ups by various public authorities in Britain - including at the very highest levels such as the security services and the Cabinet Office - is already established. Savile, Cyril Smith, Kincora, Righton, Jersey, Morris, Hayman, etc. etc. That there was a staggeringly decadent and corrupt breakdown in the rule-of-law by power in Britain when it came to protecting vulnerable children from the powerful is already a fact that can't be "reverse-engineered". This means that the need for a national reckoning with this worse-than-Watergate crises is now unavoidable. That will remain the case even if "no evidence" is found in other particular individual alleged abuse cases .eg. Ted Heath.

      The lid is too far off - things are too far down the tracks now - for the reckoning to be dependent on two or three outstanding specific allegations.

      Of course - the powers-that-be will certainly try and spin a different outlook if "no evidence" is found against Heath etc. But it won't work. Even without Heath, Dolphin Square etc being on the table and in the matrix - the scandal is still mountainous - and it can't now be made to disappear.

      Insofar as the Jersey "public inquiry" is concerned, always remember this: no matter what it says, does or concludes - it has no vires.

      The authorities in Jersey - and in particular the authorities in Whitehall who were hoping the Jersey inquiry would deliver to them some kind of diversionary fig-leaf - are only ever going to receive now a document that has zero legal standing. The report of the Jersey CoI has no more validity - no more standing - than an ordinary, partisan, in-house departmental report cooked up by civil-servants and spin-doctors.

      That is the case because - in so many, many ways - the conduct of those recruiting the CoI and then of the CoI and its lawyers themselves - was - from the very outset - in stark and direct defiance of the settled ECHR and administrative law case-law in respect of investigative quasi-judicial tribunals. Just for example, ignoring part (e) of the empowering legislative decision - incorporating and co-opting from the outset directly conflicted parties and witnesses - by way of contrast - refusing effective legal advice to key involved parties - witness-intimidation - refusing to permit cross-examination - etc. etc.

      In fact, so ultra vires is the Jersey "public inquiry", its already become a key part of the overall evidence - itself - for the depth and breadth of child-abuse cover-ups by entrenched public authorities. The Jersey CoI is itself - an example of the cosmetics-of-cover-up - now added to the historic archive.

      So be assured, no matter what uses the plainly wholly corrupted and involved Cabinet Office and Whitehall mandarins hope to make of the Jersey "public inquiry" report - one thing they cannot now do is ever proffer the Jersey report as a legally valid result of a legally valid public inquiry. It cannot now ever be that.

      Stuart Syvret

    2. Jersey has layer upon layer, decade upon decade of uncleaned pond slime. The UK pond is far bigger but is hopefully having it's bottom feeders flushed out.

      Too little too late.

      IPCC launches 13 more probes into paedophile cover ups bringing the total of current IPCC investigations to 31 !!!!

      That these things could happen in the first place is symptomatic of a system riddled with sleaze and shysterism.

      Hang them from the lamp-posts???

  17. Is there a problem with the planet Jersey site? I don't visit it very often and have never posted, but when I looked to day I had a message that I was banned!

  18. Dick Shenton evidence to the Coi DAY 99

    11 The Police announced that they had found the remains
    12 of a child at Haut de la Garenne.

    Is their anyone that could provide a link to the above announcement from the police?

  19. Stuart,

    Is it correct that you were President of the Health and Social Services Committee from 1999 to 2005?

  20. A reader says: -

    "Is it correct that you were President of the Health and Social Services Committee from 1999 to 2005?"

    Yes. And then Minister from 2005 until September 2007.

    Since 1945 till 2007 many dozens upon dozens of politicians - and even greater numbers of other people - for example professionals, civil servants, governors, police officers, Crown Officers, judges, Jurats etc - also had responsibility for child-welfare / child-protection issues.

    What distinguishes me from all of those others?

    I realised the system had catastrophically failed - was corrupt, essentially - and that we had a long-term, intergenerational child-welfare disaster on our hands.

    And it was me who said so - and made the fact public.

    It was me in July 2007 who first stated the island's child-"protection" system had failed.

    I was then illegally undermined and suppressed by a variety of public officials who had a longer - more direct - and a deliberate - role in the child-protection failures and cover-ups - and who were desperate, simply desperate, to burry the truth and their culpability.

    Just for example - people such as Philip Bailhache, William Bailhache, John Le Breton, Marnie Baudains, Tom McKeon, Mario Lundy, Michael Birt - and Richard Jouault.

    You'll note that this supposed "public inquiry" has abdicated a key evidence-gathering function to that last named individual, Jouault.

    It's so very sad - a tragic reflection on this community - that even now - even after all that has been made public since July 2007 - it still falls upon my shoulders amongst all of those other responsible public officials - to be fighting cover-up; it's pathetic - absurd - contemptible - that even now - even to this very day - people like me are having to fight a system of "make-believe" over-sight - and of concentrated and abused power - whilst the powerless, whistle-blowers in my position, get no support, no resources, no representation - whist culpable individuals are involved in running the co-called "public inquiry".

    Couldn't make it up.

    I'm not a person given to "pride" - but if I was I'd be proud of myself for standing against the farcical and wretched - tragic - spectacle of a "public inquiry" designed and being run-by those involved in the cover-ups.

    In addition to the song Pinball Wizard, The Who produced a lot of other famous songs - for example, Won't Get Fooled Again.

    Stuart Syvret

    1. This corruption is truly international

    2. Link to Exaro News' ARTICLE.

      The BBC continues to cover itself in shame.

  21. Stuart,

    Thanks for this detailed response. (I am the "Anonymous" who asked the question above.)