Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Philip Bailhache and the Roger Holland Affair

Former Constable Bob Le Brocq raised a question about the suitablility of a former senior Crown officer standing for election who had permitted a known pedophile to remain in the honorary police. The replies of the candidates, who were unanimous in condemning the actions of the Crown officer, are given in the link below.

http://tomgruchy.blogspot.com/2011/10/bob-le-brocqs-question-district-3-st.html

What is interesting is how neither Bob le Brocq, nor the candidates for election in St Helier No 3, mentioned any of the individuals by name, even though, of course, the whole affair is a matter of public record. Instead, they berated the former Crown Officer for poor judgement, and almost universally said they did  not think anyone with a record like that should be standing. Then Ted Vibert spoke, and of course, let the cat out of the bag - it was Sir Philip Bailhache who let Roger Holland stay as an honorary police, despite a known conviction, because it had resulted in a probation order and was therefore "clearly not very serious".

Despite numerous attempts by the Chief of Police to bring the seriousness of Roger Holland's position, it seemed he would not be budged. He also stated that it would have been "impractical to have undertaken" checks by the Crown officers department. Once the oath of office had been taken he took the view that " the swearing-in of an honorary police officer before the Royal Court process is a solemn affair, and to ask the Court to review shortly after the swearing in an honorary police officer's suitability for continuing in office would have been a very serious matter", so the matter was not referred to the Royal Court, as it should have been.

Sir Philip has stated that "in hindsight", he made a mistake. Perhaps if he had a greater ability to listen to others - because there were enough voices sounding warning notes - and less reliance on his own judgment being correct, there wouldn't have been a need for hindsight. As far as he was concerned, he had made his statement, and that was an end of the matter.

Has he learned his lesson? He made no apology for a liberation day speech which not only didn't focus on the liberation, but also placed Jersey's reputation above that of the "alleged victims". Now technically that term is correct in legal terms, but that he should be unaware of the ambiguity of language - and the upset that would cause those who had been abused (as subsequent Court cases demonstrated) - is indicative of a very narrow range of sensibilities, and a considerable lack of empathy.

It is also worth noting that the current Bailiff Michael Birt, as Attorney-General after Sir Philip, didn't substantially improve matters because while checking was introduced, it was only for new officers, not retrospectively.

For those who berate the States for commissioning reports, when matters go wrong, these inquiries are extremely useful at bringing the facts into the public domain, and ensuring that the same mistakes do not happen again. I suggest readers look at the whole report. Here are some highlights.


http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/reports/7537-3643.htm

On 8th September 2000, Mr. Roger Holland was found guilty by the Royal Court on two counts of indecent assault committed prior to 1992 and was sentenced to a three year probation order, which included a requirement to attend for a minimum of 12 months at Wolvercote Centre, United Kingdom, where he would receive compulsory treatment. The Court indicated that, if he did not co-operate fully with the programme, he would be brought back before the Court and would be likely to receive a custodial sentence.
 
In the event, on 2nd March 2001, Mr. Holland was brought back to the Royal Court which concluded that Mr. Holland had breached the three year probation order, by failing to abide by requirements of the Wolvercote Centre and to co-operate with treatment. The Court discharged the probation order and instead sentenced him to two years' imprisonment on each count concurrent.
 
The conviction of Mr. Holland made the public aware that he had a prior conviction for indecent assault in 1986. His apparent ability in 1992 to enter and then remain in the St. Helier Honorary Police whilst having such a conviction raised serious questions as to the procedures that had been followed in the recruitment and monitoring of this officer. It was considered in some quarters to be essential that the procedures followed, or not followed as the case may be, should be investigated in depth so that secure safeguards could be put in place to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

In 1989, a child protection team was formed in Jersey and staffed by members of social services. It deals with all types of child abuse, including sexual abuse. In 1991, a total of 80 cases were reported to the team; of these there were 11 prosecutions for sexual abuse and four for physical abuse. The States of Jersey Police has a Family Protection Team which was established in 1990. There is also a Child Protection Committee which consists of representatives of the key agencies and includes a representative of the honorary police. In 1993, a report recommended the use of video recordings in court hearings dealing with child abuse. Work on sexual offenders' legislation is currently underway.

The. Attorney General also had the authority to suspend any member of the Honorary Police from office, if, following consultation with the Connétable, he was satisfied that the conduct of the member fell short of the highest standard required of the Honorary Police. He also had the power to suspend a member of the Honorary Police during the course of an investigation into a complaint against that member.
 
In 1986, Mr. Roger Holland, who was 21 years old, and was an active member of a division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, was arrested and charged with indecent assault on a minor who was mentally retarded. The minor had accepted a lift from Mr. Holland whom she knew from that Brigade.
 
4.1.2        The investigating officer, Detective Constable B. Duffy, recorded in his report that Mr. Holland, during the course of questioning, admitted to another indecent assault on a minor. This admission was followed up by the States of Jersey Police. However, the parents of the victim did not wish to pursue the matter as they wished to protect her from any distress that might be caused by the investigation process. Consequently, to date, Mr. Holland has not been prosecuted for this admitted assault.
 
4.1.3        The investigating officer advised Mr. Holland that he should seek medical help and noted in his report that Mr. Holland had sought psychiatric help of his own volition and had an appointment with Mr. J. Hollywood, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, prior to his appearance in Court.

4.1.8        On 15th March 1992, Mr. Holland submitted an application as a prospective candidate for Constable's Officer for the Parish of St. Helier. On his application form he declared that he had one previous conviction.

4.1.10      On 18th March 1992, the Town Greffier wrote to the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police Force requesting a criminal record search. There does not appear to have been a reply to this letter. However, as noted above, previous requests by the same Town Greffier following the application of Mr. Holland to become a member of the Parish Civil Emergency Team had been replied to in full.
 
4.1.11      On 19th March 1992, the Town Greffier wrote to Mr. Holland telling him that the Connétable considered that he would be unable to accept him as a probationary officer in view of the unfortunate incident which took place in 1986.

4.1.12      However, the letter also stated that if Mr. Holland wished to put forward an application to become a member of the Honorary Police he could always get a proposer and seconder and put forward his nomination at a Parish Assembly. This letter was copied to Centenier Patton, and Vingtenier Couriard.
 
4.1.13      On 9th June 1992 the monthly meeting of the St. Helier Honorary Police discussed, among other matters, recruitment. The minute of that discussion reads: Vingtenier Mahé reported that there was one recruit that was almost ready to join. He added that two candidates that had been turned down might stand for election. Vingtenier Holmes felt that if these candidates wanted to stand they should be allowed to and let the Royal Court decide if they were desirable. It was felt that it could harm recruitment if official candidates were beaten an (sic) election. No officers present were opposed to the election of the two men and if they were prepared to face the possible rejection of the court they should be allowed to stand. From the evidence submitted, this Committee is satisfied that one of the two candidates referred to was Mr. Holland.

4.1.16      On 7th July 1992, Mr. Holland, having been duly proposed and seconded, was elected unopposed at an Assembly of Electors to be a Constable's Officer for the Canton de Bas de la Vingtaine de la Ville. No record has been traced of who proposed and seconded him, and no witness has been able to tell this Committee who those people were. In accordance with normal practice, Mr. Holland, together with four other successful candidates in different Cantons and Vingtaines, was warned to appear before the Royal Court on 10th July 1992 at 10.00 a.m. in order to take the oath of office as a Constable's Officer.
 
4.1.17      On 8th July 1992, the Town Greffier formally wrote to Mr. Holland on behalf of the Connétable congratulating him on his successful election and reminding him to appear before the Royal Court on Friday 10th July 1992 at 10.00 a.m. to take the oath of office as Constable's Officer. Also on 8th July 1992 the Connétable wrote to the Attorney General, Philip Bailhache, informing him of the names of persons elected as Constable's Officers at the Parish Assembly on 7th July 1992, and notifying him that they had been warned to appear before the Royal Court. This letter was in standard form and was not accompanied by police records for any of the elected officers. A similar letter was sent to the Judicial Greffier so that he might sign the new officers' warrant cards.

4.1.18      The oath of office for a member of the Honorary Police is administered by the Royal Court after it has heard any observations of the Attorney General as to whether or not the oath should be administered. It is for the purpose of these observations (known technically as "moving conclusions") that the Attorney General requires to know whether the officer concerned has any previous convictions.
 
4.1.19      There was a conflict of evidence regarding the requirement to inform the Attorney General of the criminal records, if any, of prospective honorary police officers. The then Attorney General [Philip Bailhache] insisted that this was a matter for the Connétable, and correspondence from his successor supports that understanding.

However, in written evidence to this Committee, the then Clerk to the Attorney General paints a different picture. She stated that: As a matter of routine, all prospective honorary police officers were automatically checked out with the Criminal Records Office, both by the Greffier on behalf of the Town Hall and by myself on behalf of our department. My requests to the Criminal Records Office were made by telephone and that office would fax the records through to us with no other paperwork being created. Criminal records are not usually kept on file as a safeguard against a Data Protection breach. She also stated: Should I or one of my colleagues have omitted to do this, it would have been picked by the Attorney General or Solicitor General before going to the Samedi Court for the swearing in process.

However, in written evidence, the Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache] has challenged that recollection. He stated that it would have been impractical to have undertaken such checks as a matter of course because of the short time between receipt of notification of the elections and the appearance of the officer before the Royal Court.

4.1.20      Whatever the procedure in place at the time, the then Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache], in oral evidence, stated that he was not aware of Mr. Holland's previous conviction before he was sworn in.
 
4.1.21      On 10th July 1992 at 10.00 a.m., Mr. Holland was sworn in before the Royal Court as a Constable's Officer, the Attorney General having moved that the oath be administered.
 
4.1.22      That same day, an anonymous letter, dated 8th July 1992, was received at the Law Officers' Department. The letter read: Reading today's JEP. I notice with horror that a Mr. Roger Arthur Holland has been elected as Constable's Officer for the Parish of St. Helier.

My reason for being concerned is that Mr. Holland was recently convicted of an Indecent assault on a retarded child whilst he held a position of trust as a St. Johns Ambulance Instructor; surely people of this calibre can not be allowed to hold office in the Jersey Parish Police".
 
4.1.23      Under procedures in place at the time in the Law Officers' Department for receiving and distributing incoming mail, it is almost certain that this letter was not seen by anyone in authority until after the Attorney General had returned from the Royal Court that morning. In due course, the letter was passed to the Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache], who initialled it and his Clerk sent a copy of the letter under cover of a compliments slip to the Town Greffier asking for comment.
 
4.1.24      The then Attorney General stated in oral evidence to this Committee that this was the first time he had become aware of Mr. Holland's conviction.

4.1.26      The then Attorney General told this Committee that he could not remember whether he had any conversations with the Connétable regarding Mr. Holland but he had accepted the advice recorded in the telephone message that in all the circumstances Mr. Holland's membership of the St. Helier Honorary Police should not be opposed.
 
4.1.27      The then Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache] told this Committee that, in his view, the Magistrate must have decided that the original offence was clearly not very serious because it had resulted merely in a probation order. It was also in Mr. Holland's favour that the probation order had been discharged early on the grounds of good progress. Furthermore, the conviction had been six years earlier and, so far as anyone was aware at the time, Mr. Holland had not re-offended. The then Attorney General told this Committee that, in the light of these facts, even if he had been aware of them before Mr. Holland had been sworn in, he would very likely have agreed that the matter was in the past and would have moved that the oath be administered. This statement was made, however, apparently without the knowledge that Mr. Holland had confessed to another indecent assault at the time of his first conviction.

4.1.28      The then Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache] made the point to this Committee that the swearing-in of an honorary police officer before the Royal Court process is a solemn affair, and to ask the Court to review shortly after the swearing in an honorary police officer's suitability for continuing in office would have been a very serious matter. Furthermore, the threshold for making that petition would have been higher than if the question were asked before he had been sworn in.
 
4.1.29      In the event, the Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache] decided not to refer the matter of Mr. Holland's previous conviction to the Royal Court.
 
4.1.30      The then Attorney General  [Philip Bailhache] agreed with the suggestion made by a member of this Committee that, once an officer with a previous conviction had been sworn in, and therefore accepted by the Royal Court, the previous conviction from his record would be of no further account in determining the officer's suitability to remain in office. Thus at this point Mr. Holland had been accepted formally as a member of the honorary police, in spite of his previous conviction, and for all future purposes, his conviction was effectively regarded as spent.

4.2.7        It is clear from the evidence that this Committee has received that, if an Attorney General were notified that a candidate for honorary police office had previous convictions, it would be his responsibility to decide whether details of the conviction should be brought to the attention of the Royal Court. Among the factors that he would take into account in making that decision are whether or not the existence of the conviction might affect adversely the reputation of the Honorary Police generally, or compromise the officer's ability to discharge his police duties.

5.1.6        On 11th September 1994 there was an incident outside the Pomme d'Or Hotel in St. Helier witnessed by a Centenier and by an ex-United Kingdom police officer during which Mr. Holland was alleged to have assaulted a visitor to the Island.
 
5.1.7        On 16th September 1994 the Town Greffier wrote a letter to the victim of the alleged assault to establish the facts of the incident. The Town Greffier also wrote to the United Kingdom resident who had witnessed the incident. At the time of the alleged assault, Mr. Holland was working as a taxi driver and was not on duty.
 
5.1.8        On 29th September 1994 Mr. Holland was caught turning right against a traffic light. He was later fined £20 for this offence.
 
5.1.9        On 17th October 1994, after the Town Greffier had received information from the victim of the alleged assault outside the Pomme d'Or Hotel and the witness, the Chef de Police wrote to Mr. Holland. He told him that he had been directed by the Connétable of St. Helier to inform him that a serious allegation had been lodged with the Connétable relative to Mr. Holland's conduct.
 
5.1.10      On 18th October 1994, Mr. Holland voluntarily surrendered his warrant card.
 
5.1.11      On 21st October 1994 the Chef de Police wrote to the [new] Attorney General, Michael Birt, on behalf of the Connétable, to advise him of the alleged assault by Mr. Holland and requested that the Attorney General issue such directives as were appropriate.
 
5.1.12      The Attorney General, in a letter dated 26th October 1994 replying to the Chef de Police, pointed out that, in the reported case 'In re Pearce' (1987-88 JLR p.109), the Royal Court had emphasised the importance of keeping separate the investigation of the criminal and disciplinary aspects of a particular incident. In this instance the Attorney General decided not to request the States of Jersey Police to carry out a criminal investigation but decided that the facts should be investigated by the Connétable as a disciplinary matter. For that purpose, he recommended that the Connétable obtained the assistance of the States of Jersey Police.


5.1.19      Under the Honorary Police (Jersey) Regulations 1977, the Attorney General had the power to suspend Mr. Holland from office or require him to resign. The then Attorney General stated in his written submission that he was undecided at the time whether to require Mr. Holland to resign or to suspend him a period. His file note of a meeting held on 4th August 1995 with the Connétable and the Town Greffier stated: The Constable requested that I consider suspension. He said that C.O. Holland is a very enthusiastic member of the Force and has been already punished quite substantially by the long period of suspension. He believes that Holland has learnt his lesson and is much chastened by the whole experience. The then Attorney General decided to suspend him for three months.

5.1.23      While this matter was being investigated, the States in January 1995 appointed an independent Review Body, chaired by Sir Cecil Clothier K.C.B. Q.C., to carry out a "full and thorough" review of the policing system in the Island. Among those making written submissions to the Review Body was the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police. He gave a copy of his submission, in which he expressed concern about the election of Honorary Police Officers with criminal convictions, to the Attorney General.
 
5.1.24      As a result of reading this submission, the Attorney General wrote on 29th June 1995, to the Chairman, Comité des Connétables, giving new directions for reporting previous convictions and stated: With immediate effect I require to see the criminal record (if any) of all new applicants. In order to avoid misunderstandings, he also required the Connétables to provide specific written confirmation if there were no criminal record. The letter also set out a procedure for dealing with late nominations which might leave insufficient time for a record check to be completed. The Attorney General told this Committee that the reason this direction only applied to new applicants and not to re-elected officers was because of the difficulties I envisaged in applying the new rule retrospectively to persons who joined the Honorary Police under the old system and who had perhaps served conscientiously and diligently for many years.

5.1.26      In July 1996 the Review Body published its report entitled "Report of the Independent Review Body on Police Services in Jersey". The report contained various recommendations and also expressed serious concern about the election and re-election of officers with previous criminal convictions.
 
5.1.27      On 5th December 1995 Mr. Holland was re-elected as a Constable's Officer for the Canton de Bas de la Vingtaine de la Ville in St. Helier having been proposed by Vingtenier Haynes and seconded by Mr. K. MacCarthy, the caretaker at the Town Hall. In evidence to this Committee, Vingtenier Haynes stated that he had proposed Mr. Holland because he thought he had done a good job, even though he knew of Mr. Holland's previous conviction. He had also become aware of an allegation that Mr. Holland had committed a further indecent assault prior to joining the Honorary Police (other than the one that Mr. Holland had admitted to in 1986) but for which he had not been prosecuted. Mr. MacCarthy explained in a written submission that he is often one of the few people present at meetings of the Parish Assembly when nominations of candidates for the honorary police are being made and therefore is asked to second candidate's applications for office, which he does to assist the process.

5.1.33      On 23rd September 1997 the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police wrote to the Attorney General to express concern over, inter alia, Mr. Holland's election to the post of Vingtenier. In his letter he stated: I acknowledge that his conviction was 11 years ago and whilst the details of the incident are not at the serious end of a scale, the victim was a 14 year old girl who attended a school of Special Education as she had a mental age of 10 years. Furthermore, he admitted to another incident for which he was not charged and admitted to having a "problem for younger girls". With his letter, the Chief Officer sent copies of the States of Jersey Police report, a related witness statement and Mr. Holland's statement after caution recorded by the Police.

The then Attorney General told this Committee that this was the first occasion upon which [he] had seen the papers setting out the evidence which underlay Holland's conviction in 1986. Partly as a result of this, he changed the directive concerning the reporting of previous convictions of elected honorary police officers and wrote on 3rd November 1997 to all Connétables directing that all convictions of such officers should be reported to him whether they had been elected for the first time or re-elected. In that letter he stated I appreciate that, in the case of an officer with previous convictions who has behaved impeccably as an Honorary Police officer for many years, my judgment may be exercised in a different manner to that which it would have been had the officer been elected for the first time. Nevertheless I think it is important in the public interest that, even in the case of re-elected officers, his previous record, if any, be known so that a decision can be made as to whether it precludes him from office.

5.2.1        Mr. Le Brocq became Connétable just under a month after Mr. Holland's swearing-in. There was no formal system in place in St. Helier for briefing an incoming Connétable on his responsibilities. No doubt on policing matters Mr. Le Brocq was expected to know the ropes because he had a total of twelve years' service in the St. Helier Honorary Police. He also had a long discussion with the retiring Connétable. Mr. Le Brocq told this Committee that, in that conversation, Mr. Clarke said: Nobody can actually tell you what responsibility a Constable has, you actually have to sit in the chair to find out what it's about. He also advised that, in policing matters, if there should be any enquiries or any complaints reference the Honorary Police, you give it to the Chef to deal with. In particular, this Committee was told by Mr. Le Brocq that no mention was made of Mr. Holland in the hand-over discussions.

5.2.12      The Attorney General [Michael Birt] responded to the letter of 23rd September 1997, from the Chief Officer, States of Jersey Police, by changing the procedures for advising him on convictions of officers to be re-elected. In his reply to the Chief Officer he stated: In the light of the way in which this has arisen, I do not propose to take any action at this stage in relation to the Honorary Police Officers to whom you refer. In his evidence to this Committee the then Attorney General stated that he could not at that stage take retrospective action in respect of those officers who had already been duly sworn in. This was effectively the same decision that his predecessor [Philip Bailhache] had taken in 1992 following his receipt of the anonymous letter.

However, the Attorney General in 1997 did not make the connection that one of the officers referred to in the Chief Officer's letter was Mr. Holland whom he had suspended from office two years previously and therefore could not be described as having "behaved impeccably as an Honorary Police Officer for many years".

6.1.19      Centenier Hilton, having discovered from her dealings with Mr. Burnett that Mr. Holland had a previous conviction, wrote to the Attorney General on 29th July 1999 expressing her concern that a person with such a conviction could be a member of the Honorary Police. This was after discussing the matter with the Chef de Police, who had decided that he could not disclose anything to her because of the investigation which was taking place at that time.

6.1.20      On 20th August 1999 the Solicitor General wrote to Connétable Mrs. I.M. Le Feuvre, in her capacity as Chairman of the Comité des Connétables, asking her to nominate representatives to a committee of Connétables and Centeniers to be appointed by the Attorney General to investigate the allegations made against Mr. Holland. This was the standard form of investigation provided by the Honorary Police (Jersey) Regulations 1977.
 
6.1.21      On 17th November 1999 Mr. Holland resigned from the Honorary Police admitting to conduct unbecoming of the office of Vingtenier prior to his election in 1992.

8.3           In 2001, the States adopted a Law which has now been enacted as the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002. This Law includes a range of provisions regarding the conduct of elections, including specific provisions in Article 22 regarding the election of Centeniers (but not Vingteniers or Constable's Officers). These are directed primarily to ensure that, if a candidate for election as Centenier has been convicted of an offence of a kind listed in Regulations made by the States, that information will be reported to the nomination meeting. It will be the duty of the Connétable to seek out this information and see that it is reported to the nomination meeting, as well as to the Attorney General.

In practice, he could have only two days to obtain that information. This part of the Law appears to this Committee to be impractical given the time required to obtain criminal records, particularly from other jurisdictions. Article 22 of the Law is not yet in force and consequently Regulations have not been made. It should be noted that offences of a kind not listed in the Regulations would not be reported to the nomination meeting.

6 comments:

James said...

This whole "question about Roer Holland" thing self-evidently never happened.

There's not a word about it in the JEP...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for publishing this

Anonymous said...

That is a long read. What is the moral of the story concerning Sir Philip

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing such a clear and concise account of what exactly happened, Philip Bailhache should stand down with some form of dignity if he has any! Go Philip before you are told too!

Ian Evans said...

LIES, LIES, AN MORE LIES!!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post: As one poster says 'not a word about it in the JEP'.

I concur with another poster who typed 'Philip Bailhache should stand down'.

As for standing down with dignity he left that virtue slip long ago....to late mate!

ahimsa