Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Powerful Arguments

Voice for Children has posted a letter from Mr Graham Power:

Assuming the letter to the Privileges and Procedures committee from Graham Power is authentic, and as yet there is no reason to doubt its genuineness, it raises some odd instances in the timetable of events leading to his suspension. In particular,

Letter from the Minister for Home Affairs notifying Graham Power that the disciplinary process had been commenced - dated to 0844hrs on Saturday 8 November 2008

Written notification that Graham Power was suspended from duty - this letter was created at 0848hrs on Saturday 8 November 2008.

According to the official Chronology (as detailed by Mr Power):

On 10 November 2008 the Deputy Chief Officer, Mr David Warcup, wrote to the Chief Executive, Mr Bill Ogley, expressing concerns regarding aspects of the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry

This was received on 11 November 2008 by Mr Ogley who, the same day, wrote to the then Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Andrew Lewis, enclosing a copy of Mr Warcup's letter

In his statement to Wiltshire Police Mr Lewis states "Up until I received the letter from David Warcup, I had no reason to believe that they were not managing the investigation well."

Former Deputy Andrew Lewis in his statement to the Wiltshire Police investigation claims that he instructed that the letter be drawn up on Wednesday 12 November 2008 and he is supported in this claim by Mr Ogley.

All of the three letters referred to are dated 12 November 2008 and refer to information received on 11 November 2008.

The creation date of a Word document is embedded in the document, and is not easily altered. It is not the same as the time the document was last modified or saved (see So it is entirely feasible that the date stamp on the documents were created when Mr Power claims they were. The date typed on the letters themselves counts for nothing in this respect.

What is needed is an independent third party (such as an expert in computer forensics) to corroborate this, because if it is true, then clearly something is wrong with the official chronology. It may well be that Mr Lewis is correct in his statement about being ignorant of affairs until the 11 November, but if so, that suggests that someone else had prepared a draft document ready for dating and signing.

The reasons for doing this could be manifold, ranging from a desire to attack the integrity of the Haut de La Garenne enquiry, to simple presumption on Mr Warcup's part that a suspension would take place, given his assessment of the situation; in which case, he could have drafted a form of words in readiness as a measure which might or might not prove necessary.

There have also been apparent changes in the press release. Again, according to Mr Power.

Changes made between 5 and 11 November 2008. For example, the draft script says "It has never been suggested by the States of Jersey Police that Child Murder took place at Haut de Ia Garenne." The script actually used in the briefings on 11 and 12 November 2008 says "Statements which were issued by the States of Jersey Police suggested that serious criminal offences had been perpetrated against children and also that there was a possibility that children had been murdered, bodies had been disposed of and buried within the home." Other differences between the scripts are of a similar nature.

Because this redaction took place around the same time, again this needs an explanation. Again, different explanations are possible. It might be that the press release was given to review by several people, and it was thought that the first draft was not as clear as it might be. However, coupled with the suspension of Mr Power, the timing and changes seem impossibly coincidental.

What is clearly the case is that Mr Power was taking a short period of leave, and when called in for the review, and thence suspension, had no idea what awaited him. It seems to me that at least two quite different historical explanations might fit the facts, and while Stuart Syvret favours the latter, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility at this stage that the former might be true.

Explanation 1:

This begins with the draft script, which was never intended as a final version. Soon after 5 November, perhaps in consultation with others, whoever was responsible for revising writing the final version (which might have been a team effort), decides that significant changes are needed to make it clear that whatever may have been implied, no murder has taken place. This, after all, was very much the tone of the press releases such as those reported by the BBC in May 2008:

Bone fragments found in the cellar of a former Jersey children's home had been cut, suggesting a homicide or an unexplained death, police say...

( )

Once the revision has taken place, either the redactor(s) or David Warcup reads it, and realises that it is likely to lead to a question being raised about the leadership of Mr Power. At this stage (8 November), a draft letter is prepared as a contingency against a possible suspension. On 10 November, Mr Warcup contacts Mr Ogley, and in turn Andrew Lewis is notified. After the meeting with Mr Power, the prepared letter can be used, and Andrew Lewis is none the wiser about its provenance, even if the speed at which it is drawn up might arouse curiosity. (Here's one I prepared earlier!)

In this scenario, there is no conspiracy as such, but there has been a degree of presumption and pre-planning, which is disquieting as it has not been publically corroborated by Mr Ogley or Mr Warcup, who surely would have been aware of the draft letter.

Explanation 2:

This begins with Wendy Kinnard's departure, and then Mr Power's short leave. Soon after this, a decision is made by person or persons unknown to spin against the Haut de La Garenne investigation - perhaps for political reasons - and the opportunity presents itself when Mr Power is away and unaware of any whispers which might reach him of emendations to the press release.

Wendy Kinnard has been replaced by a newcomer with relatively little working experience of Graham Power or Lenny Harper, Deputy Andrew Lewis, who can be counted on to be open to persuasion. Significant changes are made with the purpose of discrediting the work of Lenny Harper, and it is considered that Graham Power would not be complicit in this approach, so the press release is also used as a means of suspending him. As long as he is suspended, and not dismissed, he is effectively silenced. In this scenario, the letters are prepared beforehand, because the entire process of suspension has been planned before. Whether Andrew Lewis is part of this process is immaterial, because he is willing to listen to advice from Bill Ogley and David Warcup, and has not been in a position of having to defend the conduct of the investigation (as Wendy Kinnard did earlier).

In this scenario, there is a conspiracy to discredit the leading officers involved in the Haut de La Garenne investigation, as as well as a degree of presumption and pre-planning.

I know that this kind of explanation is probably the favoured option, but I have given two explanations to show how different historical constructions can be built on the basis of the limited evidence which we do possess. It will not do to simply say - it must have happened this way and in no other - if alternatives are possible.

Even if we accept "Explanation 1", there is still a good many questions unanswered. Why was the original draft changed in the way that it was? Who drafted the letters regarding the suspension before the meeting with Mr Power to discuss his suspension, and what reason did they have for doing so? Given that these letters existed, was there a draft letter for the possibility that he might accept resignation instead?

I find it strange that neither the BBC nor the Jersey Evening Post has as yet commented on Mr Power's arguments, and can only conclude that they are waiting for the reply from the scrutiny panel, or for further data to be forthcoming. Certainly the discrepancies in the chronology, and the later editing of the press release on Haut de La Garenne raise serious questions which should not be lightly dismissed.

To some extent, apart from some blogs, the media seem to be treating this very much as yesterday's news, which is, after all, what the professional media the world over tend to do. But for Graham Power, who is still suspended, there can be no case for unfair dismissal (as would happen if he had been sacked), and instead he is reduced, to the most part, to an impotent silence by the terms of the suspension, with no means of publically clearing his name.

Cases for unfair dismissal are a matter of public record, but proceedings of suspension are not, and in this instance, the law requires any discussion within the States to take place in camera (which is without precedent in any other democratic assembly). If his term of office comes to an end before his suspension, will there exist any means by which he can publically seek justice for himself?


voiceforchildren said...


Another Conundrum I have posted on VFC.

Right here is something else that confuses me.

Chief Officer Graham Power's letter addressed to the Pivileges and Procedures Committee was dated the 30th of October 2009.

The reply (soon to be published on this Blogsite) from Connetable Gallichan, chairman of PPC was dated the 13th of November 2009.

I have scoured the governments website, and in particular, the minutes of PPC meetings and can find NO PUBLIC RECORD of any meeting being held to either discuss Cheif Officer Power's letter or the subsequent outcome of it (Connetable Gallichan's response)

So I am left wondering how is the decision making process of PPC dealt with? Did Connetable Gallichan keep Chief Officer Power's letter to herself without sharing it with her committee?

Were Connetable Gallichan's "findings" all her own? If this is the case then what would be the point of having a committee if only one person makes the decision(s)? and why can't I find any public record of any of this?

Something just doesn't smell right.

TonyTheProf said...

Are there any minutes of PPC after that date? I know - from emails with Mike Higgins - that because of pressure of time, some minutes were late being written up and added to the site - in his case, the Financial / Treasury one because of the work done on the bank depositors protection scrutiny. If there are no minutes after a date, it need not have sinister implications, only manpower ones.

TonyTheProf said...

Actually I can see why. There are Part A and Part B agendas, and Part Bs do not get minuted.

rico sorda said...

Hi Tony

Great posting and well laid out. Have you read Graham Powers judicial review. The part where it mentions Warcups letter and his remarks on A.C.P.O are worth a read.