So yesterday (1st August 2017) saw the appearance of Deputy Andrew Lewis at the Privileges and Procedures Committee (PPC) Hearing. The Deputy was there, by all intents and purposes, to convince the Committee that he hadn't breached the Code of Conduct for elected States Members. The important aspect to note here is that PPC was not looking to discover whether he had told lies or not.
From PPC PRESS RELEASE: “What matters to the Committee is whether, during the course of his time as a States Member, throughout his dealings with the IJCI and his responses to the Assembly, Deputy Lewis’ actions complied with the Code. In other words, we will be determining whether his actions maintained and strengthened the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of the States and its members.”
At the start of yesterday's Hearing the Chairman read out a statement informing Deputy Lewis, and those in attendance, that PPC accepts the findings of the Care Inquiry (IJCI). The Chairman reiterated that the Committee was there to discover if he (Andrew Lewis) had breached the code of conduct for elected States Members. To most fair minded people this would suggest that PPC (since it agrees with the IJCI's findings) agrees that Deputy Lewis lied to the States and to the IJCI a number of times. This (lying under oath) would constitute a charge of perjury for the likes of you and I but Jersey's Attorney General has given, what we believe to be a "legal opinion" (not a "ruling" as reported in the local MSM) that Deputy Lewis can't be PROSECUTED FOR PERJURY. We believe this "legal opinion" should be challenged and that Deputy Lewis should be subject of an independent CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION.
Deputy Lewis arrived at yesterday's Hearing with legal counsel and it would be a fair question to ask who is paying for it? But probably one of the biggest farcical moments (there were many) was when Senator Philip Bailhache sat alongside Deputy Lewis and it became apparent that the Senator was legally representing him, or was his "Mackenzie's friend."
The deference shown (by the Committee) was palpable, if not shameful and embarrassing. Senator Bailhache was given a free rein to quote from the English Dictionary as to what a "lie" is or isn't. This had nothing to do with the purpose of the Hearing (as explained above). Senator Bailhache spoke for around 35 minutes from a pre-prepared statement that for the large majority (in my opinion and others who were present) had nothing to do with PPC's TOR's. Any mere mortal would have been closed down and told to stick to the TOR's but not Senator Bailhache.
It was no surprise that Philip Bailhache turned up to defend Andrew Lewis and further seek to undermine the work of the Chief Minister and the IJCI. He has consistently attempted to undermine the Care Inquiry to include ATTEMPTING TO PREVENT it receiving much needed funds to complete its work.
He was (as the Bailiff of Jersey) presiding over the infamous in-camera states debate where Deputy Lewis told some of his alleged "lies." The Hansard of this debate was bravely leaked, by a whistleblower, with a conscience, to Bloggers and was published HERE. Part of that debate, where Andrew Lewis was stating he had seen the MET interim report the Bailiff (Philip Bailhache) intervened and said: "Minister, do not go down this road please."
The Deputy of St John (Andrew Lewis):
"The Senator's conspiracy theories continue to astound me. I was not part of the Council of Ministers until but a few weeks ago. I am not conspiring in any way at all. The Senator consistently conspires in his own mind to work out conspiracies. This is nothing about that. This is a matter of great interest to me as the Minister for Home Affairs, as a resident of Jersey, as a custodian of the public purse. I am bringing a Chief Officer to account. I am giving him every opportunity to defend himself. 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 Bailiff (Philip Bailhache):
"Minister, do not go down this road please."
Why did Philip Bailhache not want Andrew Lewis telling people he had seen the MET Interim Report? Was it his (unelected) place to tell a politician what (not) to say?
We must also be mindful that the IJCI questioned the honesty of senator Bailhache. Granted it didn't go as far as calling him a liar but a fair minded person could reach the reasonable conclusion that the inference was there where in its REPORT when addressing Philip Bailhache's notorious Liberation Day speech it wrote:
"Sir Philip said that perhaps his juxtaposition of words was unfortunate. He accepted that as a highly experienced lawyer he was accustomed to choosing words carefully. His purpose was to address the island as a whole and encourage Jersey people not to feel ashamed of their history. The apparent comparison between the importance of child abuse and Jersey’s reputation did not occur to him."
"We have considered whether Sir Philip’s words indicated a belief on his part that the reputation of Jersey was of more importance than the child abuse investigation. We cannot accept that a politician and lawyer of his experience would inadvertently have made such an “unfortunate juxtaposition”. We are sure that the way in which Jersey is perceived internationally matters greatly to him. However, his linking of Jersey’s reputation to the child abuse investigation was, we are satisfied, a serious political error, rather than a considered attempt to influence the course of the Police investigation."
We also have the Senator's apparent views on "lying" from when he was on the ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Those views don't appear to ring "true" right now.
Was Senator Bailhache the right person for Andrew Lewis to have defending him at the PPC Hearing? If you were wondering if "The Jersey Way" had been changed because of the IJCI report we think this appearance (Lewis/Bailhache) should confirm it has gone nowhere.
We will publish part two of this posting exposing the farce that was the PPC Hearing yesterday. The inadequate, or non existent, questioning from the Committee and much more. We will publish this after the PPC has published its findings which are expected soon.