Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Moving the Island in the direction of openness and honesty

An extremely good letter which I reprint below was written by Deputy Daniel Wimberley and appeared in the Jersey Evening Post. I offer a few comments on the  strange dates of the letters - "the letter from Deputy Lewis to Chief of Police Graham Power informing him that the disciplinary process had commenced was created three days earlier, at 8.44 on Saturday 8 November."

While there have been attempts to "patch the chronology", by offering explanations for why the letters were drafted before the suspension, these strike me as particularly "ad hoc" explanations. One example of a "patch" is by claiming that the letter predating the suspension was legal work done as a "precautionary measure" because suspension was possible. Yet we still do not know who authorised that letter - it doesn't appear to be Andrew Lewis. Letters don't usually just get drafted by staff because they take up matters on their own initiative. Or if they did, then evidently, there was widespread news about the likelihood of a suspension.

This is the trouble with "ad hoc" explanations, as with attempts to plug holes in pseudo-scientific theories and immunise them against falsification, they raise more questions, requiring further "patches". Of course explanations can be found, but whether they would convince a historian, I'm not so sure.

For the historian, inconsistencies in chronology suggest we should look again at how much credence we can place on the story that the chronology is supposed to support. Here is G.R. Balleine, pointing out problems with the legend of St Helier:

St. Helier was born, we are told "after the death of wicked Queen Brunehild. when Childebert governed the Francs". This must be Childebert III, who came to the throne in 693. But Helier became a disciple of St. Marculf. who died in 558 ; and 'according to one account he was buried by the famous eighth century Bishop Willebrod. In other words he was baptised 150 years before he was born, and buried, while still a young man, two hundred years later.

He concludes (after looking at other problems) that the "Passion of St. Helier, written at least five hundred years after the time when our hermit is said to have lived, is a religious romance, composed purely for edification". He thinks there may be a core of truth in it, but it has become distorted in the composition.

Looking at the inconsistencies regarding the official account of the suspension of Graham Power, with letters written 3 days before they should have been, might a future historian think it likely that this may be a political fiction, composed purely for the public's edification?

From Deputy Daniel Wimberley.
WHY does it matter about Power and Warcup?

Surely, the Comprehensive Spending Review, or the Sustainable Transport Policy, to take but two things I am currently working on, will have a more direct impact on Islanders' lives?

Yes, it can feel like a sideshow - but I am convinced that it is not. It also seems to have gone on forever, but I ask readers to just remember that delay is the classic tool politicians use to make an uncomfortable issue go away.

It must not be allowed to die quietly. It has to be brought to an acceptable, fair and transparent resolution. Otherwise the suspicion of corruption, and the division of our Island, carry on.

I challenge anyone to read what follows and then say hand on heart that they still think that the procedure followed was fair and above board.

.  Until 11 November 2008, Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis 'had no reason to believe that they (that is, the States of Jersey Police) were not managing the investigation well'.

.  It was on the 11th that he saw the letter from Deputy Chief of Police David Warcup sent to chief executive Bill Ogley on 10th November 2008 and forwarded to him by Mr Ogley.

.  This account is in Mr Lewis's statement to the Wiltshire Police, which has the force of a sworn statement.

.  But the letter from Deputy Lewis to Chief of Police Graham Power informing him that the disciplinary process had commenced was created three days earlier, at 8.44 on Saturday 8 November.

.  The written notification of suspension was also drafted on Saturday 8 November at the same time.

.  So why was somebody creating suspension letters at a time when the minister thought the inquiry was being managed well, and bearing in mind that only the Home Affairs Minister can discipline or suspend the Chief of Police?

.  How could a minister be led to the extraordinary step of suspending the Chief of Police on the basis of one letter (the 'Warcup letter')?

. Particularly when that letter contradicts the opinion of both Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary who have praised the leadership of the force, and its success in reducing crime, and the Association of Chief Police Officers' advisory team who have mentored and advised on the handling of the Haut de la Garenne investigation?

. This letter (the 'Warcup letter') of 10 November 2008 relies heavily on the Met 'interim report'. No one has ever seen this report apart from David Warcup.

. The Met withdrew this report from its use by the Jersey authorities for disciplinary purposes.

.  So when Senator Ian Le Marquand reviewed the suspension in March 2009, he was forced to put a red pencil though all the references to the Met Report in the Warcup letter. How then could it have properly been used in the original November suspension?

. When Mr Power was phoned by Mr Lewis on 11 November and summoned to the meeting on 12 November, he was not told that it would be a disciplinary hearing. 'I had been given no notice, no time to prepare, and was not offered any representation' and 'suspension was not discussed until seconds before it was actually invoked' and 'I had not seen the documents to which the (suspension) letter referred.' (Graham Power's affidavit).

. The Disciplinary Code states that the chief executive (ie Bill Ogley) carries out a preliminary investigation to 'establish the relevant facts. Facts will include statements from available witnesses and the Chief Officer.' There was no such investigation.

I have focused in this letter on just one event - the suspension. I am happy to help readers who would like to be guided around other aspects of this murky affair.

We have to move as an Island in the direction of openness and honesty. We have to stop holding the door tight shut against the tide of history, justice and the evidence. It is an unworthy and in the end unsustainable position.



TonyTheProf said...

I had one comment which used swearing; I'm afraid I operate a zero-tolerance police with regard to bad language on the blog.

tim said...

You are doing good work Tony.

I feel strongly that honesty and integrity are the backbone and the least a Government should strive to attain, even though being human mistakes will happen. The JEPs usual not fact based trolls turned up very soon after Deputys Wimberlys letter was published. I offered this. It will be interesting to see if they publish. As I am here again maybe you may find it useful.


I agree with Gary no1 who is wanting the Wiltshire report out in the open there is far to much behind closed doors politics in Jersey which is supposed to be a democracy. His posting is very strange because he goes on to say once its out in the open it will stop cheap political point-scoring and its all a farce.

Obviously he has read the Wiltshire report and it supports Mr Warcups letter then and the suspension of Mr Power.

Got that wrong diden't I. Mr Warcup used the Metropolitan police report to write to Mr Ogley about Chief of Police Power. Which is the reference report used to suspend him, oh gosh, somebody's lying.

Taking small pieces out of any report can easily distort the true findings of a report so it is the whole report that must be published. Senator Le Marquand has possessed it since November 2009. What is he afraid of ?

Well done Deputy Wimberly, his letter is short factual and to the point. The point being there is something very wrong here, and the police and Government departments must be whiter than white and follow the rule of law.

Who knows there may be a knock on your door one dark windy night.

Who will you turn to then? Scary.