Saturday, 30 April 2016

Reform Jersey. Parish Assembly.

Following the recent Press Release (below) issued by Jersey's only (overt) Political Party "Reform Jersey". VFC sat down with the party Chairman, Deputy SAM MEZEC, to discuss the rarely used (Loi (1804) au sujet des Assemblées Paroissiales) Law.

This is a law that the public should be aware of and used, if necessary, on a regular basis if the (mostly unelected) Parish Constables continue to ignore their Parishioners views on major political issues.

The video/interview/discussion (below the Press Release), we hope, will help inform the public of their, so-called "democratic" right(s) and encourage them to engage with the process.

Political Party to invoke two centuries old law to force Parish debate on TTS outsourcing

"Jersey’s only political party, Reform Jersey, has invoked a 212-year-old law written in French to force the Constable of St Helier to hold a Parish Assembly to discuss the plans of the Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Eddie Noel, to outsource hundreds of workers jobs.

This follows the recent ballot where workers voted in favour of strike action in response to the Minister’s refusal to enter meaningful negotiations with them.

Article 9 of the Loi (1804) au sujet des Assemblées Paroissiales allows Parishioners to force a Parish Assembly if ten signatures are obtained to support a particular motion to be debated, which will conclude with a vote for Parishioners to register their support or opposition.

“We have chosen to use this old law to force this debate to make a point about local democracy in Jersey. Parish Deputies and Constables very rarely bother to put on meetings to discuss political issues and hear the views of their constituents and there is a widespread perception that they are out of touch. Deputy Noel is looking to sack huge numbers of our Infrastructure workers despite promising during his election that he would do the opposite. This is an issue which could see tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money wasted, so it is only right that Deputies and Constables are forced to get to grips with it” – Party chairman Deputy Sam Mézec

“We would urge people in every Parish to start forcing these public meetings to make sure their representatives are properly held to account. We are happy to offer advice to any Islander who wants to do this.”

The requête has been signed by St Helier Deputies and residents Geoff Southern and Sam Mézec, as well as other members of Reform Jersey and Infrastructure workers.

The Constable of St Helier now has a fortnight to convene this Parish Assembly."(END)

Credit to Reform Jersey for attempting to bring democracy to the island. Please attend the Parish Assembly on Friday 17th May 7:pm at St. Helier Town Hall and ask for details on how to call your own Assembly?

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Adrian Lynch. (The "Official Line" Questioned)

On the night of the 4/5th of December 2015 twenty year old Adrian Lynch disappeared in the Carrefour Selous area of St Lawrence Jersey. Adrian had attended a works Christmas party at the Merton Hotel. He is STILL missing. What Team Voice will be looking at in these Blog Postings is the efforts of the States of Jersey police to find him. Have they done enough? Are they doing enough? Does their official line make sense?

There was an initial large scale search of the surrounding areas but this, according to reports, didn't turn up anything. One of the questions that must be asked is why there hasn't been an Island wide search? We must also remember that the dogs apparently didn't pick up any trace/scent of Adrian.

Here is a list of Adrian's movements on the night in question, the search area, and the last sighting as published in State Media.

Last Known sighting was at 2.17am on the 5th December 2015

Jersey Police have released more details of his last known movements, saying he could have been calling at houses on Rue Du Douet de la Rue.
His last known sighting has also changed; a homeowner saw him on Clos de Devant around 2am, after previous sightings of him at Bon Air Stables.
Below are details of all the known sightings of him from midnight on Friday evening.

0:00 - Adrian is dropped off by a taxi at the junction of La Rue and Ruette D'Avranches.
0:00 - Adrian spoken to by a driver just South of Carrefour Selous.
0:00-0:30 - Two further potential sightings in the same area of Carrefour Selous.
1:00 - Seen by a member of the public in Rue de la Golarde.
1:10 - Seen by a homeowner on Rue de la Gorlarde.
1:30 - Possibly knocking on doors on La Rue du Douet de la Rue.
1:30-2 - Sightings in the area of Bon Air Riding Stables by two witnesses
2:00 - Seen at Clos de Devant, seen by homeowner

Are we saying that in Jersey a person can go missing, there is a week long search, and then that's it? All the reported evidence could point to possible foul play. He hasn't been found lying in a hedge, field or in a barn seeking shelter (shelter from what exactly?) from a mild winters night when he could have just gone home. Where is the public concern? Why haven't the Jersey Media asked the police for answers to the real questions?

Team Voice member Rico Sorda has published 5 Blog Postings on the disappearance of Adrian Lynch. The links to these can be found below. He (Rico) was brave/bold enough to suggest foul play back in December 2015. You can find quotes from the States of Jersey police on these postings.

Adrian Lynch still missing DAY FIVE

Adrian Lynch still missing DAY 7/8.

Adrian Lynch still missing DAY 13/14

Adrian Lynch still missing DAY/31/32

Adrian Lynch still missing DAY 35/36

What concerns Team Voice is that the States of Jersey Police (and State Media) are still peddling the misadventure/hypothermia line. If that is the case why haven't they found him? How could a 20 year old fit boy die of hypothermia in such mild conditions and conceal himself so well that he can't be found?

On the 12th April 2016 Detective Chief Inspector Lee Turner released the below statement that appeared on State Media.

"Jersey Police are appealing to islanders to allow them to help search their outbuildings for missing Jersey man, Adrian Lynch.
Detective Chief Inspector Lee Turner, who is leading the investigation into Adrian’s disappearance, has issued an offer of police help for anyone living within a 2 km radius of Carrefour Selous.
It's now been four months since the 20-year-old went missing on his way home from a work party."

"It’s very possible that Adrian sought shelter that night, perhaps with the intention of lying down to rest and concealing himself for warmth. A large number of outbuildings (sheds, greenhouses, garages etc.) have been searched by police and partner agencies within the designated zones during the extensive searches, in the weeks after Adrian’s disappearance. Many people have already checked their properties themselves, however, due to whatever reason, such as physical impairment for example, some property owners may not have been able to satisfy themselves completely that they have looked as thoroughly as they would have liked.
This offer also applies to any neighbours of unoccupied or derelict sites which they believe may not have been checked."(END)

Surely the police must know what has been searched and what hasn't been searched? They must surely have a list of anyone who has been away for the winter months? These properties normally have a neighbour who would keep an eye out on everything.

"Lying down and concealing himself for warmth"

Really. I mean really???? He has been walking around the Carrefour Selous area for 2hrs 20mins. When Team Voice walked it on a cold winters day we found that you warm up quite nicely. How about the recent reports of two fisherman who were elderly and in the water for 4hrs holding onto their boat? They didn't die of hypothermia. Two pensioners have got the fitness and strength to hold onto an upturned boat for four hours and don't die of hyperthermia yet, according to the police, a 20 year old possibly died of hypothermia walking in country lanes for a couple of hours?

Readers might recall, in November 2013, six fisherman, were rescued from the northern isle "The Ecrehous?" One of the fisherman, Jason Bonhomme, was in the water for five and a half hours, wearing no survival clothing. The sea conditions were horrendous that night, with gusts of up to 64 knots coming from the South. Jason, in 2013, was forty years old (twice the age of Adrian Lynch). Jason told us, when he was eventually rescued, that his core body temperature had plummeted to 27/28 degrees. He explained that the normal core body temperature is 37 degrees, if/when your temperature hits 30 degrees (if not before) you will die of hyperthermia. His core temperature was 2-3 degrees below that and he, it must be said, "remarkably" survived and in such treacherous conditions. Yet the police are telling us somebody half his age could have died of hypothermia, fully clothed, walking the lanes of a country parish on a mild winters night? It doesn't make sense!

The police are also telling us that Adrian could have sought shelter, under a bush, or in an out-building/shed. What could he possibly have had to shelter from? It was a mild night.

From the State Media reports we have seen, the police seem to be ruling out any third party involvement/abduction/murder. How can that be ruled out? To a lay person it makes more sense than the hypothermia/shelter line.

On 13 April 2016 ITV/CTV broadcast, what many see as an insensitive, and distasteful, "news" item concerning the abilities of Jersey police sniffer dogs. In a four minute article, they demonstrated how effective the dogs are by getting one of its "journalists" to hide behind a bush and the dog finding her. Not once during the broadcast was the name Adrian Lynch mentioned. Not once was the question asked; "if the dogs are that good how come they haven't found Adrian?" The (distasteful) "news" item can be seen HERE.

Once more the "official line" of events just don't stack up and some serious questions need to be asked of our police (who, as a force, haven't reportedly been externally reviewed since 2008)

There is a 20 year old boy/son/brother still missing in Jersey and his family deserve answers, they deserve some kind of closure. The public deserve answers.

The media needs to start challenging the official line instead of promoting it. The official line, as mentioned above, doesn't make sense. Adrian's family and the general public deserve better than this from our police and media. Questions need to be asked/answered.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Jersey Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry Transcripts. (Andrew Lewis Part Three)

former Chief Police Officer
Graham Power QPM.

In November 2008 the then Home Affairs Minister, and current Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, Deputy Andrew Lewis, controversially (possibly illegally) suspended the Chief of Police while his force was investigating  (Operation Rectangle) decades of concealed Child Abuse in State run institutions and elsewhere in Jersey.

As part of our "transcript Blogs" we are currently looking at the transcripts of Deputy Andrew Lewis. These are the transcripts of those who have given evidence to the on-going Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry (COI).

In this, part three, publication we continue attempting to determine how credible Deputy Lewis' testimony to the Inquiry is......or isn't.

For those who have been following this story you will be aware that the law required Deputy Lewis bring a statement to the parliament after suspending the Chief Police Officer. He suspended the Chief Officer on the 12th November 2008. He brought the statement to the parliament on the 2nd December 2008 so plenty of time to get his story straight one would expect?
Clearly this wasn't the case and has been well documented since so no need to repeat it in this posting.

Today we look at why Deputy Andrew Lewis believes (or tried to convince the COI) thirty of our politicians voted against releasing the Hansard of the in-camera (secret) States Debate when delivering his statement regarding his suspension of Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM. 

Deputy Mike Higgins.

Deputy Mike Higgins, on 23rd May 2012, lodged a proposition asking the parliament to make public the Hansard of the 2nd of December 2008. The proposition was debated on 26th June 2012 and can be read HERE. Both the December 2nd 2008 debate and Deputy Higgins' proposition were held in-camera (secret)

Deputy Andrew Lewis looks to be attempting to convince the COI, and public, that the reason thirty politicians voted against Deputy Higgins' proposition to have the December 2008 Hansard released was because those thirty politicians weren't confused over what he meant when discussing a preliminary/interim report. Deputy Lewis, in the transcript below, seems to be of the impression that those thirty politicians knew he was talking about "The Warcup Letter" (that he never mentioned during the December 2nd 2008 debate) and not the Metropolitan Police preliminary/Interim report. (which he did mention on a number of occasions)

We produce this part of the transcript here.

Counsel to Inquiry Cathryn McGahey QC questioning Deputy Andrew Lewis:

Can I stop you there. Where in this States debate (2nd Dec 2008) had you already said that this was information from Mr Warcup?

That's the issue, ma'am, and you're correct, I have not mentioned Mr Warcup, but then why have members later on said "It is very clear that Mr Lewis is talking about Mr Warcup's letter"? Why are they saying that? That's a matter of record in Hansard.

How do you think that they deduced that you were talking about Mr Warcup, bearing in mind you did not refer to him once?

Well, you have to ask them, ma'am. 30 of them felt that. That was the vote after that debate (26 June 2012), so you would have to ask all of them..............

The full transcript of that Public Hearing can be read HERE. The excerpts published by VFC can be read HERE.

So Deputy Lewis has (under oath) told the Public Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry:

"but then why have members later on  said "It is very clear that Mr Lewis is talking about Mr Warcup's letter"? Why are they saying that? That's a matter of record in Hansard."

We searched the Hansard of 26th June 2012 debate using the quote used by Deputy Lewis; "It is very clear that Mr Lewis is talking about Mr Warcup's letter" That term DOES NOT exist in the Hansard search we did.

What we did do, also, is to read the Hansard of those who voted against Deputy Higgins' proposition to discover if (as Deputy Andrew Lewis seems to think) those who chose NOT to release the December 2008 Hansard voted against the proposition because there was no confusion and that those thirty politicians knew he (Deputy Andrew Lewis) was referring to "The Warcup Letter" that was NEVER mentioned in the November 2008 debate...........Yeah, I know!

Out of the thirty who voted to keep the December 2008 Hansard a secret, we counted only ten of them spoke.

We reproduce extracts of that Hansard below in order to demonstrate our point that if any of the thirty politicians thought "It is very clear that Mr Lewis is talking about Mr Warcup's letter" They did not say those words, and even if there were those that believed (despite Deputy Andrew Lewis never mentioning any "Warcup letter" in the December 2nd 2008 debate) the Deputy was referring to it then this was NOT the sole reason as to why they voted to keep that Hansard a secret.

Selected excerpts from Hansard from June 26th 2012 debate:

Bold emphasis added by VFC.

(Then)Deputy James Reed said:

“……….I do not know, necessarily, what the former Minister for Home Affairs at the time exactly what he was referring to but it is quite likely that the report that he was referring to was, indeed, the summary that Mr. Brian Napier acknowledges was contained in a letter sent by Mr. Warcup to Mr. Ogley on 10th November. So if that is the case, we are going to have extreme difficulty in determining whether the report that is referred to which, indeed, was a summary, presumably reflected the main points of the interim report and it was that which was relied upon, rightly or wrongly, by those at the time to determine the actions that they took.”

Didn't know what he (Andrew Lewis) was referring to. VFC.

Deputy Steve Luce said:

“I do not feel that I am going to be able to support this proposition. The proposer has given us a reasonable sized document to read and to new Members here who have not had the benefit of sitting in the last House, this is all new. We are trying to listen to the debate, read the document at the same time and then pass judgment that has been well made. I do not think I can do this justice in the period of time we are going to be here.”

Didn't have enough time to make a decision. VFC.

(then) connetable Phil Rondel said:

“No matter what is being said here by my colleagues today, I am having difficulty in saying that I could support this because I have not had all the evidence.”

Lack of evidence. VFC

                                      Deputy Rod Bryans said:

 "I feel that I understand what Deputy Higgins has brought to this Assembly. But I am very concerned and I support what the Deputy of St. Lawrence and the Deputy of St. John has said, it seems now that there are 2 germane documents that seem to be missing and that is the summary provided by Mr. Warcup and the actual interim report itself. Because if these 2 things marry-up and look very similar and the content is germane to the whole situation, then there is not, as the Connétable of St. John says, that to me seems, as he said, in the middle of all of that situation with it in full flow you would have to make your decisions as you go along and although I totally understand where Deputy Higgins is coming from, I think those 2 documents would now have to be discovered by certainly the new Members who have not been party to all of this and so I could not support this motion.”

Missing documents. VFC.

Senator Philip Ozouf said:

"I do understand the frustration of Members but I think that we are not in a position to be able to release information that was collected and expected to remain in camera, I think as a matter of principle. The Deputy believes that the former Minister has said something incorrect. I do not know. I am in the same position. I was in the debate. I simply do not know. The difficulty is that I do not think that we can publish a transcript because it reveals also other Members’ questions which they had a legitimate expectation that would remain secret."

It, for Senator Ozouf, was a matter of principle that secret debates should stay secret and he simply "didn't know" if Deputy Andrew Lewis said something "incorrect." (misled the parliament). VFC.

Deputy Richard Rondel said:

“What I am hoping is that people that were there do speak and advise us exactly that happened because it is very difficult to look at all this information in a short space of time and make a judgment.”

Hasn't had time to look at all the information. VFC.

Connetable Juliette Gallichan said:

“But if you simply read the transcript and understand the way that the Deputy of St. John expressed himself habitually and how you knew how his mannerisms, et cetera, were, he says: “I saw a preliminary report” as if I was given some information at the beginning. It is not, necessarily, I would put it to you “the interim report” and if we are hinging the entire possibility of changing the way we look at in camera debates and the release of transcripts on the interpretation of a couple of words, I think the Assembly does itself no justice at all and I really was expecting a more cataclysmic revelation from Deputy Higgins than what he has given, and from that point of view I really am at a loss as to how we justify the trade-off between our tradition and something that Members have come to rely on as being very important even though it is to be used extremely sparingly, i.e. the in camera debate. We have no way of knowing unless we talk to the former Deputy of St. John exactly what he meant by that ……..”

No way of knowing what Deputy Lewis "meant by that" and wanted to uphold the Jersey tradition of secrecy. VFC.

One must also keep in mind that Connetable Juliette Gallichan is the former Chairman of Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) who has questions to answer herself HERE and HERE. Why she was not called as a witness to the Child Abuse Inquiry is still a mystery.

(Then) Senator Ian Le Marquand said:

"The second approach is that where there is any debate of a matter that individuals who contribute to the debate must have the right to expect that what they have said in camera will remain in camera and remain confidential and that is a very important principle that should not be overturned, and the effect of this proposition is to do that. I have found this extremely difficult because I understand both those principles. I think the first principle is right. That is a reason why the statute requires these matters to be in camera and I think the second principle is probably right as well; Members should be able to trust that what was in camera remains in camera."

Although in the full Hansard Ian Le Marquand believes Deputy Lewis, it is not the sole reason for upholding the secret Jersey Way as he explains above.............It's about secrecy as well.

Ian Le Marquand has a number of questions to answer also. Not least from HERE.

(Then) Deputy Sean Power (or what ever his real name is) said:

It is not specific in this text as to what he is referring to and he refers on the bottom of that page, which is the fourth page that we have, he refers to it again. He says: “I believe if this preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal.” So, again, he is referring to a report, which is a synopsis or some sort of briefing situation because I am quite sure………”

He goes on further to say:

“Again, we have this vagueness as to what he is actually referring to in using the words “preliminary report” and Senator Le Gresley has referred to that. Then on the bottom of page 4 he refers to the fact that: “I am purely acting on information contained this time in a report.” He does not even use the words “preliminary report” and we do not know what the source of that report is, we do not know where it came from, and we are not sure who prepared it.”

Self explanatory.VFC.

Senator Philip Bailhache.

“……and now we are asked to agree that the transcripts of an in camera debate be released so that the reputation of a former Member can be dragged in the dust. We are asked to do this on the flimsiest of evidence and without hearing what the former Member has to say about it. I agree with the Senators Le Gresley and Le Marquand and I am not at all persuaded that there was an attempt or an innocent misleading of the Assembly. Deputy Pitman says that the integrity of the Assembly is in question and he is right. Even if the former Police Chief was treated unfairly, and I simply do not know whether or not that was the case, I do not think that that is a justification for treating the former Deputy of St. John with unfairness. The short answer for me is that the former debate, or the debate held on 2nd December 2008, was held in camera in accordance with the mandates of the law and it should take a very, very strong reason, in my view, for that to be overturned. There may be reasons why such a transcript should be released but at the moment I cannot think of such reasons. Of course a Member should speak the truth, whether they are speaking in camera or in public; that goes without saying. Some Members have said that the transcripts clarify matters and therefore they should be put into the public domain. I must say that as a new Member I do not share that view at all. If you are a new Member you need a great deal more information than we have heard this afternoon in order to understand what is going on.”

Well as much as Senator Bailhache tried to pass himself off as a "new member." He neglected to mention that he actually chaired the December 2nd 2008 secret debate that is being discussed/voted on here.

Regular readers will know that when Deputy Andrew Lewis said in that debate;

"As far as the accusation you raise about the Metropolitan Police, when I saw the preliminary report I was astounded. So much so that my actions, I believe, are fully justified. If the preliminary report is that damning, Lord knows what the main report will reveal. So my successor will have an interesting time. The report that I was shown gave me no doubt at all."

The then Bailiff and now Senator Bailhache said:

The Bailiff: (Philip Bailhache)

"Minister, do not go down this road please." HERE. 

So Senator Bailhache seems to know a bit more than he is letting on? Clearly one of his reasons for voting against Deputy Higgins' proposition was to maintain secrecy.

Twenty of those who voted against Deputy Higgins' proposition didn’t speak so we, the Committee of Inquiry, (or Andrew Lewis) have no way of knowing what they thought. So IF Andrew Lewis is saying (under oath) they believed he wasn’t misleading the House, or that they knew he was referring to the “Warcup letter” then how does he, or we, know this?

People who are economical with the truth in one topic are usually as economical in others. People who attempt to cover up one thing are usually prepared to cover up another.

The fact is that the evidence doesn't look to back up Andrew Lewis' testimony to the Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry. This should be of considerable concern to the island's government and to the general public.

Andrew Lewis is a serving politicians and Chairman of Public Accounts Committee who's honesty, and integrity, should be beyond reproach.

Part one of this series can be viewed HERE.

Part two of this series can be viewed  HERE.