Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Very Casual Approach

I've been reviewing the part of the Jersey Care Inquiry where they interview Deputy Andrew Lewis about the Wiltshire Investigation of Graham Power and Operation Rectangle. 

It's a very casual approach - "I had moved on. I was back in business. It wasn't a primary concern to me." This was despite the fact that he was clearly a key witness in the suspension of Graham Power. It's a very slack attitude.

He makes a great play of the short amount of time to review the witness statement that had been taken fromn him - and then it emerges that it was only 4 pages long. How long can it take to review four pages? Admittedly it is a bit longer than the Gettysburg Address, but not that long. When the Government issues propositions, sometimes with a four or five page preamble, are we to believe that States members have trouble with it?

Now Deputy Lewis was not a member of the States at that time. But it does raise a point: do States members only make more of an effort when in  office, or should they still see it as a civic duty to ensure that they remain engaged with any process resulting from their time in office?

An example of the latter would be Senator Sarah Ferguson, who remained very engaged with States matters even after she lost her seat, and had no platform in the Assembly. Part of that was what might be called "pundit" columns in the JEP, such as also seen with Ben Shenton, Terry Le Main or Rob Duhamel.

But she also attended Parish Assemblies and other Parish events - the Noirmont Liberation Day service, for example - and remained very much a participant in  the St Brelade, as well as addressing more Island wide issues in the JEP.

Andrew Lewis and Wiltshire

Q. Did you tell Wiltshire Police "I had no reason to believe that they", that's Mr Harper and Mr Power, "were not managing the investigation well"?

A. I don't believe those were my precise words, no. What I would have said was that I didn't have any concerns that justified any public statement, or any huge concern at that time, because I needed to protect the integrity of the Police Service and indeed the investigation.

Q. So it's written in this way through the carelessness of the police officer who was taking down what you were saying?

A. Yes, and it went to many many pages, the Wiltshire report I think was sort of 300 pages, they had a lot of work to do, and so I wouldn't say it was careless, I imagine they were getting witness-weary.

Q. And it was also carelessness on your part that you failed to spot the mistake?

A. No, I won't say it was carelessness. I had moved on. I was back in business. It wasn't a primary concern to me. Clearly it was to those that would be using the Wiltshire report for any purpose in the future, but it wasn't for me.

Q. Well, you knew the purpose of the Wiltshire investigation, didn't you?

A. Well, I was aware of some of the purposes of it, yes.It was to review as to how that operation had gone.

Q. And also to review the actions of Graham Power?

A. That was certainly one of the things they were looking at.

Q. So it was hugely important that the investigation received accurate information from its witnesses?

A. Yes, it did, absolutely.

Q. And you were a key witness?

A. I wouldn't say I was -- I was one of many witnesses.

Q. And you had made the decision to suspend?

A. Yes, I had.

Q. So it was really important, wasn't it, that anything you told the Wiltshire Police was accurate?

A. Yes, to the best of my ability, bearing in mind this was quite a while after the suspension had taken place.

Q. Yes, but the explanation you have given for this inaccuracy turning up was that you had moved on and it wasn't as important to you as it was to others. Is that really why we end up with inaccuracies in the statement?

A. Sorry, you will have to repeat that question.

Q. When I asked you how this inaccuracy had turned up and how you hadn't noticed it when you looked through the statement, you said that you had moved on and this statement wasn't as important to you as it was to those who were actually doing the investigation.

A. I think that's fair to say, yes.

Q. So does that mean you didn't give this great care when you looked over it again?

A. I didn't really get a chance to look over it again. It was a statement that was taken relatively quickly. I didn't get a huge amount of time to review it afterwards and looking at it in the cold light of today, maybe I would have made more attempt to get Wiltshire to clarify matters.

Q. How much time were you given to review it?

A. I really don't remember; not very much.

Q. Was it sent to you in the post?

A. I can't remember.

Q. Well, if you don't remember how you received it how do you know you didn't have much time to review it?

A. That I do remember.

Q. So how much time did you have?

A. I don't remember exactly how much.

Q. Well roughly, are we talking half an hour, or two days, or a week?

A. I really can't remember.

Q. Because you see, this statement is only four pages long, so it wouldn't have taken very long to go through it, would it?

A. No. Like I say, I have explained my situation. I had no intention of saying anything other than helping Wiltshire with their inquiry and the fact was that I had no major concerns about the inquiry at that stage. I made that perfectly clear and I made it also perfectly clear that to go on the public record and say that would not be the right thing for a minister to do.

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