Friday, 6 August 2010

Napier's Bones

There has been quite a bit of comment about the Napier report on the JDA blog, and some of the other blogs. This seems to be the idea in some circles that the Napier report will completely exonerate Mr Graham Power - the recently retired Jersey Chief Officer of police. I think this is mistaken -- the Napier report is to see whether the correct procedures were followed with a suspension of Graham Power when it was initially carried out under Andrew Lewis as Minister for home affairs. Even if its conclusions were that correct procedures were not followed, it still does not follow the decision to suspend was not the correct one, and it may even make a comment to that effect.

While we are still seeing the evidence on the suspension - with the Wiltshire report gradually over time becoming more available and Mr Powers defence by briefing notes also coming into the public domain (and revealing data not picked up in the final Wiltshire report) - we cannot state whether Senator Le Marquand's decision to continue the suspension, it is too early to say whether the continued suspension was correct or not. As far as I can see, the jury is still out, and without a proper disciplinary hearing, which we will never now get, there may be no final clear resolution on the matter. The heavily redacted Wiltshire report was a shambles, which does not help.

In the meantime, the long-awaited Napier report on the original suspension is being treated in the same manner as the Hutton report into the Iraq war was treated by the opposition in the UK. The Hutton report was to be "The Report" which would vindicate the critics of Iraq war, and condemn Tony Blair's government. If you look at any of the statements which were made by critics of the war, before the publication of the report, they are triumphalistic and declared that the report will show that the critics were right.

Of course the outcome was almost entirely the opposite. The opposition was sent into complete disarray, the BBC was totally emasculated, with top-level resignations. This should surely be a lesson to everyone who talks up the outcome of the Napier report -- the results may well be not what was expected, and may be used as a stick to beat the critics of Mr Power's suspension. After all, it is the result of one man's deliberations, rather than the team proposed by Deputy Bob Hill.

Whatever happens, it is unlikely that Stuart Syvret will be commenting on the matter. What appears to be (and are alleged to be) extracts from personal e-mails sent by Mr Syvret have found their way into the public domain on another blog. This blog has even published Mr Syvret's present address, which is not in the public domain - and this may well constitute a breach of the Data Protection Law, which would be ironic for a blog which is so critical of Mr Syvret's blog.

The blog in question asks if any of the bloggers which it considers supporters of Mr Syvret will now come to his defence. I have never been an unqualified supporter of Mr Syvret, as any reader of this blog will be aware, largely because of his language and propensity to fling names in the void. Nevertheless, primary documents of importance in the search both for justice in the case of Mr Power and for a broader historical perspective have been released on Mr Syvret's blog - for this, despite his often vitriolic polemic, he should receive thanks. These documents included the ACPO reports and the Sharp report. Future historians will certainly be grateful as it is not clear if these would have ever seen the light of day within the Wiltshire report.

It is not clear whether the publication of what may be selections from Mr Syvret's private life will aid our understanding of the suspension of Graham Power, although the blog writers believe that by discrediting the person (which they do with malicious relish), they can discredit any documents he has released - an almost perfect example of an "ad hominem" argument.


voiceforchildren said...


The Briefing notes were to help the "accredited" press with their reporting of the "facts" and as I have written elsewhere one could be forgiven for believing that the "accredited" media didn't receive them. Incidentally there are still a couple more to come, including one from "the cutting room floor" that the "accredited" media don't have.

As for his defence, as you know there are, including Blast, 75,000 words of it that I am sure will make their way to the world wide web at some point.

Napier will be interesting, what will be very interesting is if the people that suspended the Chief Officer made "mistakes". Graham Power QPM was not given the luxury of "mistakes" It was mis-management or worse.

TonyTheProf said...

I hope we see all of Mr Power's defense. I think he has been given very short shrift, and you are doing a great job with the briefing notes - and I hope the 75,000 words defence is also seen.

I just don't think it's too good to place too much hope on Napier changing much. There's some interesting background on a case he was involved with at: