The Beginning of the Decisive Battle Approaches.
Court, London, 17th March.
Read Some Key Evidence.
Around June, 2007 – even before I really understood the true depth and seriousness of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster – I would speak privately with whistle-blowers and a few, younger survivors. And I would tell them that exposing the failures, and making the Jersey authorities face up to the truth would almost certainly be a very – very – difficult task.
And when making that observation, I was the Minister for Health & Social Services – a position which, one might imagine, would make one ideally placed to address departmental incompetence, malfeasance and inadequacy.
But even then – faced with the comparative simplicity of the Les Chennes and Greenfields abusive and illegal solitary confinement regimes, I knew that challenging the system would – in effect – be perceived as a declaration of war on the entrenched senior management of my own department.
And so shamefully weak are the island’s traditional politicians – and so stagnant and corrupt are the upper-reaches of Jersey’s civil service – that in any such war the odds would be stacked against the cause of truth and accountability.
Having witnessed the Jersey civil service “at work”, so to speak, for 17 years I knew – even then – even before I uttered those first, public words on the gross failures of Jersey’s child “protection” system when answering a question in the island’s parliament in July ’07 – yes, I knew then that there was but one means of victory.
And whilst I came to this conclusion in the context of the child protection battle – I knew that, metaphorically speaking, we faced some kind of Armageddon – a final battle between the forces of – on the one hand, corrupt, decadent, unethical self-interest – and on the other, honest and accountable public administration, the rule of law and the proper administration of justice. For whilst the child protection war was the most important – similar battles have to be fought in respect of virtually every other facet of public administration in Jersey – mired as it is in anti-intellectualism and the sense of invulnerability which comes of decades of absolute and unchallengeable power.
Decades of gross failure in child protection; no one accountable. Corporate manslaughter; no one accountable. Half-a-million tonnes of toxic incinerator ash dumped dangerously and illegally into St Helier’s Waterfront land-reclamation sites; no one accountable. Economic incompetence; no one accountable. £49 million of tax-payers money blown on capital development “overspends”; no one accountable.
And so it goes on.
For all of the diversity – for all of the seriousness – for all the multi-dimensional aspects to the battle for good public administration in Jersey – there was only ever going to be one shot – one possibility – of defeating our incompetent and corrupt oligarchy.
As I was saying to my constituents back in early ’07 – and as I have said ever more strongly to growing numbers of people since – there is only one way this war will be won.
And that is through London intervention.
It really is as simple as that.
We have to use the London courts and British justice to make the UK government intervene in order to put right that which is clearly a failed and stagnant public administration in Jersey.
Ultimately – the Crown, via the entity of Her Majesty’s government – is responsible for good governance and the proper administration of justice in the ‘Crown Dependencies’ – the Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann.
Though traditionally reluctant to intervene, the UK government can – and has – and does – take action when the islands’ authorities are plainly acting in ways beyond all reasonable tolerance.
But – it almost always requires court intervention to make the government act.
Therefore – to speak plainly – we succeed in gaining the court’s agreement to judicially review Jack straw’s failure to properly discharge his responsibilities – we win the war.
We fail to gain a favourable outcome in court – we lose the war.
It is as simple as that.
Child abuse; corporate manslaughter; corruption; failed justice; ludicrous conflicts of interest across the board – all will finally be challenged and changed if we win in court in London.
If we lose – it will be business as usually for the Jersey oligarchy – to the great and profound detriment of the broad population of island.
In co-operation with Lib-Dem MP John Hemming and Justice for Families Ltd, we are actioning the UK Justice Secretary, Jack Straw. On the 17th March, I will be representing Justice for Families Ltd in court in London for what will be an initial Directions Hearing. The UK government’s lawyers are resisting the action.
Provided we convince the court that we have a just case, that at least merits a full trial of the maters at dispute – we will return to court at a later date – when much of the entire, wretched saga will have its guts pulled out for public examination.
Ultimately – win or lose – that will be as much as I can do.
If the UK government succeed in resisting the action – effectively winning the war on behalf of the Jersey oligarchy – then nothing else will avail.
Now – of course, all I’ve written above – and the actions I’m taking – will be spoken of by the Jersey establishment – and it’s “Friends at Court at Whitehall” – as merely some kind of over-blown and melodramatic hyperbole – being engaged in by some kind of anarchist trouble-maker.
So – to understand the truth of just how badly things have gone wrong in Jersey – let us take a look at some hard evidence from the narrative of a recent sad and wretched episode.
Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with the tragedy of the avoidable death of a patient in Jersey’s General Hospital. A locum was tried for – and acquitted of – manslaughter. But, in truth, it should have been Jersey Health & Social Services in the dock – on a charge of corporate manslaughter.
And so disgusting and brazen an example manipulation and cover-up was the attempt to use the locum, and a Jersey consultant, as scapegoats that even the Jersey Evening Post – my favourite journal – just couldn’t stomach the disgraceful spectacle.
Using a combination of evidence presented in court – and evidence from my whistle-blowers – the JEP and I exposed not only the fact that the hospital management had had at least two expressions of concern regarding the locum’s surgical competencies on record before the tragic incident – we also exposed most of the senior Health & Social Services Management team as a grouping of quite shameless liars.
But – as disastrous as this one failing was – perhaps you might find similar examples of attempted cover-ups in hospitals elsewhere?
What compounds the situation in Jersey many times over is the complete failure of all and every supposed check and balance which should have been brought to bear by other agencies.
In the UK, as is well-documented, failing – and fatal – hospitals do get exposed from time to time. Other agencies – such as the regulatory authorities, the police, the CPS the courts, central government etc. will intervene when necessary to do so.
Yet in Jersey, we have the entirely avoidable death of a patient – an unlawful killing due to management failures – and where are the Jersey equivalent of those agencies which should intervene to protect the public interest?
All – every single last one of them – on the side of the culture of concealment.
So for the benefit of anyone who doubts that fact – and anyone who questions the need for London intervention – read the evidence I reproduce below.
Let me call the items exhibit 1, exhibit 2 and exhibit 3.
This is an exact reproduction of an e-mail exchange involving Richard Lane – the H & SS Medical Director, Richard Jouault, the H & SS “performance” manager – and one Michala Clifford – the Human Resources director of H & SS.
And just so you appreciate the full magnitude of what it is you’re reading – let me explain.
The e-mail correspondence involves three of the most culpable senior employees; those who, each in their own way, should have performed differently – essentially, to a basic and reasonable standard of competency and ethics.
Their failure to do so generated the chain of events which led to the unlawful killing of Elizabeth Rourke.
Indeed – Richard Lane in particular was acting as the internal Case Manager for the fatal incident – even though he was a key actor in the death himself.
He was the Consultant anaesthetist responsible for the patient during the last 5 hours of her life.
The death of Elizabeth Rourke occurred on the 17th October, 2006.
You will note that the e-mail correspondence which forms exhibit 1 spans a day from the 20th March, 2007 to the 21st March 2007.
To spell it out – this was written nearly six months AFTER the patient’s death.
Every decent professional I’ve shown this to – be they clinicians, NHS managers, lawyers or journalists – have taken one look and unambiguously concluded that what this e-mail correspondence represents is an attempt to manufacture – post-event – a fake ‘audit-trail’ – designed to deflect culpability away from the senior managers involved, and onto the locum in the first instance, and onto Dr. John Day as a reserve scapegoat.
Although Minister at the time, I was not kept correctly briefed and informed – as required by the procedures.
A fact stated quite plainly in Michala Clifford’s e-mail to the ‘two Richards’.
It is also stated plainly just how a “timeline” was being worked on – “to cross-reference how and when we have complied”
Remember – this is nearly 6 months after the unlawful killing of the patient.
Note how this very expensive, senior States HR manager – a person directly responsible for certain management errors which exposed the patient to the risk – says – quite brazenly:
“We’re mostly OK (it’s quite tricky given the level of detail in the procedure). I’ll forward you copies when I’ve finished.”
“We’re mostly OK”?
A person is dead – and these managers are concerned about themselves being “mostly OK”?
Six months later.
She then goes onto say:
“The bits where we have slipped a little (we can justify but need a couple of file notes) are:….”
“Where we have slipped a little”?
But – not to worry!
“(we can justify but need a couple of file notes)”!
You see – no mater that a person has lost their lives needlessly – the manufacture – post-event – of a couple of retrospective “file notes” – and, everything in the garden will be rosy!
There are, of course, a few other minor details these managers need to sort – in order to cover their rears.
“technically we should be providing the Minister with a written report at the end of each exclusion period!”
Exclamation mark! Ooh – silly us; never mind – a bit of fiddling in the files – and it will all be smoothed over.
Then we come to that oh so annoying lawyer, David Caddin – who is being so unreasonably “pedantic” in attempting to stop the wholly unjustified smearing and destruction of his client, Mr. Day.
And then let us note how Michala Clifford confirms Richard Lane as the “Case Manager”. To be clear – here is an extremely expensive States of Jersey Human Resources manager – acting in apparent ignorance of the fact that Richard Lane was Medical Director (‘MD’) DID MOST CERTAINLY NOT make it “appropriate” for him to Case Manage an SUI in which he himself was a key actor.
But should any further evidence be required of just what planet these people are on – consider Michala Clifford’s signing-off:
“RJ – hope your plane spotting is going well!!!
Dr. Lane – hope you’re feeling better X
Richard Jouault – “Performance Manager” – we mustn’t let the mere death of a patient interfere with his plane-spotting, now – can we!
And poor Dr. Lane was feeling a little unwell. Never mind – a kissy-kissy X from Michala will make him feel better.
A person has needlessly lost their lives – and here we have – displayed in all its jaw-dropping mendacity, immorality and inappropriateness – the antics of three of the senior managers in attempting to conceal their shared culpability.
Nearly six months later.
Here is the full exchange:
“From: Richard Jouault
Sent: 21 March 2007 11.42
To: Michala Clifford; Richard Lane
Subject: RE: Mr. Day
I have left a message with Sam Smith requesting permission to disclose to NCAS. As said, we keep Minister and deputy Minister informed of this case at each fortnightly meeting. I will suggest at the meeting this Friday that a ministerial decision will be required regarding next steps.
Director of Corporate Planning
& Performance Management.
From: Michala Clifford
Sent: 20th March 2007 19.01
To: Richard Lane; Richard Jouault
Subject: Mr. Day
I’ve been working on a timeline to cross-reference how and when we have complied with the Docs Disciplinary Procedure as requested by Advocate Davies.
We’re mostly OK (it’s quite tricky given the level of detail in the procedure). I’ll forward you copies when I’ve finished.
The bits where we have slipped a little (we can justify but need a couple of file notes) are:
Keeping the Minister updated in a formal manner. I know MP will be doing this regularly but technically we should be providing the Minister with a written report and the end of each exclusion period! I’ll get MP to provide me with a file note to explain how and when he updates SS. Going forward could this be added as a quick agenda item at the Ministerial meeting once a month so that we can prove we’ve complied? Seems a bit OTT but David Caddin is being so pedantic Advocate Davies thinks we should make every effort to comply.
Once we reach 6 months of exclusion we are required to report to the Minister a situation report detailing reasons for continued exclusion, actual and anticipated final costs and anticipated timescale so I’ll definitely make sure we do this.
Also we are obliged by this stage in the exclusion period to ‘formally’ refer the case to NCAS. Although we’ve registered the case and entered into correspondence we haven’t formal referred it and asked NCAS to investigate. Dr. Lane – in the update letter you’re about to send to NCAS could you point out that our disciplinary procedures states that we should be making a formal referral but we are minded to wait until the police have pronounced. Could they confirm in writing that this would be appropriate. What do you think?
Also I’ve had to allocate roles as per the procedure. Dr. Lane you’re the Case Manager (as MD this is appropriate). The guidelines state you must consider all the issues around pay, exclusion from premises, keeping in contact, cpd etc which you’ve been doing.
RJ as the ‘Designated Board Member’ you are the person who oversees and maintains momentum of the process. Your responsibilities include:
• Receiving reports and reviewing the continued exclusion form wok of the practitioner;
• Considering any representation from the practitioner about their exclusion;
• Considering any representations about the investigation.
So you’re doing all this too.
I’ll try and catch you both tomorrow morning.
RJ – hope your plane spotting is going well!!!
Dr. Lane – hope you’re feeling better X
I won’t, yet, produce all of the evidence concerning the efforts made be me and others to stop this disgraceful farrago, but as I’ve explained on previous occasions – I tried many times to get the police, the lawyers, the judiciary and the prosecutors to recognise and accept that – effectively – what was taking place was an attempted perversion of the course of justice.
But – just to give you a flavour of my correspondence, I reproduce as Exhibit 2 a self-explanatory e-mail thread involving me, the Attorney General, William Bailhache, the Solicitor General, Tim Le Cocq and the acting Chief of Police David Warcup.
Diplomacy is not – alas – one of my strong points at the best of times.
But under circumstances during which I had tried and failed – over a 12 month period – to get the Jersey authorities to recognise and accept that Health & Social Services – as an organisation – had killed a person – and the senior management were attempting to pervert the course of justice in an attempt to hide their culpability – what slight inclination I may have had to be diplomatic was long-since exhausted.
Here is the e-mail thread – beginning with the most recent:
“From: Stuart Syvret
Sent: 12 February 2009 14:24
To: Timothy Le Cocq (Solicitor General); William Bailhache
Cc: David Warcup
Subject: RE: The Death of Mrs Elizabeth Rourke
Solicitor General & Attorney General
I would be grateful if you would answer the following questions.
1: It is asserted that the decision to prosecute Dr. Moyano was the correct decision, as opposed to prosecuting Health & Social Services for corporate manslaughter. You make this assertion on the basis of legal advice and opinions – as though such opinions are never wrong.
Dr. Moyano was – rightly – acquitted of the criminal offence; though what her professional organisation may make of the issue is another question.
It was very clear – both from the trial – and from common knowledge amongst staff – that a number of fundamental management errors occurred which – needlessly – exposed the patient to risk.
Elizabeth Rourke is – as a consequence – dead.
Her death was – plainly – an act of unlawful killing.
Could you then explain to me that, given Dr. Moyano’s acquittal – and your opinions that H & SS should NOT be prosecuted – just who, then, IS responsible for the unlawful killing of Elizabeth Rourke?
For my part, I was the Minister responsible for the organisation at the time of the unlawful killing of Mrs. Rourke – and, in light of information which has accumulated to me during the last 12 months – I know – for a stone fact – that the organisation I was responsible for – killed Elizabeth Rourke. I – again – confess that fact – for what is probably around the tenth time now.
No doubt I’d have to confess to some heinous offence – such as helping an infirm person apply for a postal vote – before either of you ordered your police force around to slap me in irons?
2: Could you identify who was the leading council from the UK who advised the extraordinary decision to not prosecute H & SS?
3: Did they make a full and detailed study of all of the evidence?
4: Did they, in fact, actually consider the specific option of prosecuting H & SS?
5: Will you make their assessment available for professional peer-review?
6: The Attorney General and the Solicitor General are the de facto directors of public prosecutions in Jersey. Could you explain to me what appeal mechanism lays open to victims of crimes, in general terms, in respect of either of you deciding not to prosecute apparent offences?
7: Could you identify to me the specific legislation which describes and confers the powers to prosecute to the Attorney General and Solicitor General?
8: Could you confirm to me that the process of mounting private prosecutions in Jersey is, broadly, the same as that which prevails in the United Kingdom?
9:If – in your opinion – the process of mounting private prosecutions is not the same as that which prevails under English common law – could you explain why, and in what way, it differs?
You make reference to my “tendentious” e-mail of the 6th February.
You seem to find an expectation that a simple e-mail be acknowledged within four days to be some form of monstrous and unreasonable burden.
Tell me, just how much are you paid by taxpayers per annum?
I have not had a holiday for over two years. I frequently work 7 day weeks. I have zero resources – and thus have to undertake all of my work myself.
You are paid a very substantial amount of tax-payers money – and in addition, you are supplied with a department full of expensive personnel and resources.
If you really cannot acknowledge an e-mail – about a matter as serious as the avoidable death – the unlawful killing of a person – within 4 days – then I suggest you return to private practice where, we must assume, such lackadaisical attitudes prevail.
I look forward to your answers to the above questions.
Thank you for your assistance.
Senator Stuart Syvret
States of Jersey.
From: Timothy Le Cocq (Solicitor General)
Sent: 12 February 2009 12:55
To: Stuart Syvret
Cc: Timothy Le Cocq (Solicitor General)
Subject: Re: The Death of Mrs Elizabeth Rourke
Dear Senator Syvret,
I refer to your email of the 2nd February addressed originally to the Attorney General and to Mr Warcup and forwarded to me by you in the Attorney General’s absence on leave.
Your email concerns, of course, issues surrounding the recent trial of Dr Moyano. In your email you observe that you would normally write only to the Police concerning this matter. I agree that it is initially for the Police to consider any complaint and determine whether there are any issues raised in your email which are appropriate for further investigation.
I have had no involvement in the prosecution decisions relating to the case of Dr Moyano and, even if I had, it would not be appropriate for me to discuss those decisions with you.
From my inquiries, however, I can inform you that when the file was submitted to us in 2007, the possibility of a prosecution of other people (including prosecution for an offence of corporate manslaughter) was fully considered. Advice was obtained from experienced leading counsel based in the UK. On the basis of that advice given by leading counsel on the law and evidence, and our own consideration of those factors, no proceedings were brought for corporate manslaughter. I am aware of nothing which came out during the course of the trial of Dr Moyano which would now alter that assessment.
I do not think that I should comment further on these matters at this time given that your original communication was addressed to the Attorney General and he is returning to the office shortly. Doubtless he will review your email and may respond if he has anything to add and thinks it appropriate to do so.
You would not, I am sure, expect me to respond to your email of 6th February given its tendentious content. I merely observe that your assertions relating to my attitude appear to be based on nothing more than the fact that I did not respond to your email of the 2nd February within 4 days. I find this surprising and disappointing, particularly given that you were aware that the Attorney General was and is absent and for two of those days I was, as were you, in the States.
Timothy Le Cocq Q.C.
H.M. Solicitor General
Law Officers’ Department
Jersey JE1 1DD”
So there we have evidenced and explained – in addition to the ethically bankrupt intransigence of the H & SS senior managers – an example of smug and complacent indifference on the part of what passes for a prosecution service in Jersey.
A service itself conflicted due to its incompetence in not prosecuting H & SS in the first place.
But – were all that not yet sufficient evidence of a breakdown in good governance and the proper rule of law in Jersey – I recently received a letter from the Police Force – written in response to my e-mails above.
Dated the 10th February – this is what it said:
“I acknowledge receipt of your e-mail dated 2nd February 2009 regarding the above subject.
As you know the criminal trial is now concluded. The content of your e-mail and your request for the States of Jersey Police to conduct further criminal enquiries has been considered.
At this stage we do not intend to instigate any further enquiries into this case.
Acting Chief Inspector.”
I cannot – in truth – exhibit any surprise at this response from Officer Beechey.
For he was the very same Police Officer I spoke to in early 2008 – and to whom I explained the truth of what had taken place – and that it should be Health & Social Services in the dock.
He was completely disinterested.
So – a person has lost their life – and no one has been held accountable for it.
And the Jersey civil service, the Jersey prosecution service – and the States of Jersey Police are all singularly indifferent to that fact.
“Good governance and the proper administration of justice”?
It most certainly isn’t to be found in Jersey.
So now, perhaps you may understand why I am – and have been throughout – of the view that only intervention from London can save this community from these clowns, shysters and nincompoops.
In the material above – you see displayed plainly and nakedly all of the very stagnation and non-existence of effective checks and balances that characterise the public administration of Jersey.
As I said – it is, metaphorically, Armageddon.
Succeed in court in London – and we win.
Fail in court in London – and we lose.
It is – sadly – as simple as that.