More Shocking Revelations of Cover-ups.
Watch ‘Inside-out’ on BBC 1, South-West
Tonight, at 7.30.
Read the Transcript of a BBC Interview;
Lenny Harper – on the Obstructions He Faced.
Below this post, I reproduce a transcript of an exclusive BBC interview with Lenny Harper, tough, straight cop who until his recent retirement led the investigation into the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.
It really is extraordinary stuff.
I’m grateful for the efforts of fellow blogger A Holiday In The Sun (see my links list) from whose blog site I’ve lifted this transcript.
The interview with Lenny was recorded very recently, and was broadcast on BBC television breakfast news on Tuesday 16th September.
And – wonders will never cease – the interview was carried by BBC Jersey radio yesterday morning. Indeed – quite staggeringly – BBC Jersey have even trailed and publicised today’s up-coming BBC South regional television ‘Inside-Out’ documentary which looks again at the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster.
How different – from January this year, when BBC Jersey bosses actually attempted to get the first regional TV piece on child abuse in Jersey spiked – and having failed to do so – took the pro-active decision to give the January broadcast near-zero publicity.
But that is all – well documented – history now.
If you’re able to watch tonight’s program, do so. But don’t worry if you can’t catch the broadcast, I’m sure it will be viewable on the web through BBC iPlayer for a week.
These obstructions by the Jersey establishment are yet more rock-solid evidence of a breakdown in the rule of law and the good administration of justice in the island.
Corrupt cops? Bent business men? Their politician friends – going to see the Attorney General William Bailhache at a private meeting – who then agrees to abandon the prosecution of the business man?
And some people feel I exaggerate when I say Jersey’s oligarchy has brought all aspects of public administration in Jersey to a state of utter corruption and decadence.
Sadly – if only it were an exaggeration.
Many years ago, I described Jersey as, “the last bastion of openly-practiced corruption in Western Europe.”
This statement was met with the predictable howls of outrage by the local power-spivs.
But my statement was correct then – and it’s even more correct now.
Take a look or listen to Lenny’s interviews of yesterday.
Here are the links, which you’ll have to copy and paste, as I haven’t worked out this hyperlink placement thingy yet. Maybe if Computer Nerd is reading, they could post them in a comment?
The fist is to the TV interview; the second is to the much longer radio interview.
Exclusive BBC Interview with Lenny Harper: transcript.
With Acknowledgments to A Holiday In The Sun.
BBC: “A marked reluctance to get behind the investigation into historic child abuse and to prosecute cases rigorously”. That’s the considered opinion on Jersey’s legal establishment from the former Deputy Chief Officer, Lenny Harper. In an extensive interview with the BBC’s Robert Hall for BBC Jersey, Mr. Harper is critical of the island’s Law officers and the relationship between them and the States Police.
Lenny Harper: On a personal nature, we got on with each other, we talked civilly to each other, but professionally we were a gulf apart. Myself and the enquiry team felt that we were not getting the service that we should have been getting. We felt that we’d not been given the specialist assistance that we’d been promised. I felt the advice was not available to the same extent as I had been promised, and I felt that everything was taking too long.
So, nothing moved quickly in that respect. But we were submitting files and we were told earlier on that we would get turnaround in a day or two, and this simply was not happening, so professionally it was not a good relationship.
And it wasn’t just me. If it was just me it could have been put down, in fact some people have tried to put it down to a clash of personalities, but it wasn’t me. It was reasonable, professional, detectives who were getting increasingly frustrated, and I was the one who was carrying their concerns. They were not getting the service that their work deserved. They were carrying out a professional, thorough, investigation and it was not getting the support it deserved.
I personally believe that there is a marked reluctance to wholeheartedly get behind the enquiry and to prosecute rigorously and vigorously the suspects to the extent where the victims are given their day in court. I think that the public face of some of the politicians who have called the victims “people with criminal records” and “disturbed people” underlines a more fundamental attitude that these people should not have been allowed to make complaints against people who are involved in the establishment. Yes I do believe that, I think that’s the case.
I think it’s a marked reluctance to rock the boat in respect of that, and I think the victims interests have been sacrificed, for whatever reasons, and I don’t have an answer to that, but I do think the interests of the victims have been sacrificed for some reason, and that there has been a marked reluctance to vigorously pursue the allegations to a natural conclusion in court – as there would have been I think perhaps maybe in jurisdictions in the UK.
BBC: Mr Harper told the BBC’s Robert Hall that his frustration with the Law officers in Jersey predates the historic child abuse enquiry. He says there are cases of corruption within the States Police for which there are strong evidence, but which failed to come to court.
Lenny Harper: It really came to a head when we started dealing with a small number of corrupt Police officers, and other employees that were working within the organisation. We were investigating them internally and I had young officers doing superb jobs investigating wrongdoing – and again, I emphasise it was only a small number of bad cops and employees. But we began to have some success in dealing with these people, and we started submitting files. We had a couple of detectives who we caught passing over sensitive intelligence files on criminals in return for sex with informants, and even admissions from them, and prosecutions were not being mounted.
BBC: Some of the subjects of the internal investigation into corruption within the States Police in Jersey instigated complaints against Mr. Harper.
Lenny Harper: As far as I’m aware, there were five or maybe six of these people who we know were meeting together and also meeting with local politicians, and a local businessman, who all made complaints. And I think three or four of them have been already ruled as being malicious.
BBC: What sort of complaints?
Lenny Harper: Well there were complaints that we over-reacted, that we were hounding and interfering with their human rights, that we were fabricating charges against them. Basically that we had indulged in a witch-hunt.
BBC: Where there personal allegations about you and your conduct at the time?
Lenny Harper: When the child abuse allegations were just going public, and were starting, a close relative of one of this group who’d complained about me – who had no involvement with me at all – circulated a letter to a number of news desks in the UK, accusing me of being involved in, it says “abuse”, didn’t specify what type of abuse, and also warned them to beware of myself and other staff that were working with me on this enquiry. And so there was a thread, running through from this anti-corruption business through to the child abuse enquiry.
BBC: Were you cleared of such wrongdoing?
Lenny Harper: I don’t think that all the complaints have been dealt with as yet, I think most of them have, and they’ve been declared as not only unsubstantiated, but as malicious.
I just find it astonishing that in any jurisdiction that I’ve worked in before, crooked Police officers were treated with contempt, but here it was myself and my staff who were taking the abuse in trying to hunt down these cops.
I should emphasise that when I’m criticising politicians and the establishment that our department always had total backing of Graham Power, the Chief Officer, who had a very difficult situation with some of the politicians, but always totally supported what we were doing and was 100% behind our efforts. And also the Home Affairs Minister and the Assistant Minister who supported what we were doing – but who themselves came under bitter attack from some of the politicians who sided with these corrupt cops.
It was a totally bizarre situation where we felt under attack every day.
BBC: Former Deputy Chief of Police Lenny Harper also claims that some local politicians here in the islands seemed happy to countenance corrupt practices:
Lenny Harper: There were criticisms, and those criticisms eventually took the form of the Attorney General trying to get us to reduce our media circulation. It first arose at a meeting, which I didn’t attend, and that meeting was attended by the Chief Officer of Police, the Assistant Minister – who actually was the in charge of dealing with the child abuse enquiry.
BBC: And Mr. Harper is concerned that the corrupt practices seem to be countenanced and maintained:
Lenny Harper: What I found particularly distasteful was the involvement of some of the local politicians, who sided with corrupt Police officers and their associates, even to the extent of interfering in the charging process.
I think it’s fairly well documented that we were due to charge this businessman, and we were due to charge him with an offence which he admitted under oath in court, in which he admitted inciting a Police Officer to carry out illegal checks on computer systems. We eventually got the authority from the legal advisors to charge him with the offence of inciting this Police Officer to commit the illegal computer transactions. We were due to charge him at six o’clock one evening. At five thirty, two local politicians who were friends of his went to see the Attorney General. As a result of that we received a phone call from the Attorney General instructing us not to charge.
BBC: Do you know that it was a result of that, or is that just your belief?
Lenny Harper: Yes I’ve had conversations with the Attorney General about it. The consequence was that we received instruction not to charge.
These two politicians had been involved throughout this series of enquiries and in fact were two of the politicians who criticised us for wasting public money.
BBC: Are they still in government? Are they still active politicians?
Lenny Harper: They’re still active politicians, yes. In fact, I’m not sure which one of them, but one of them made a comment that “Lenny Harper just doesn’t understand the way things are done in Jersey. He’s talking about corruption as if it’s a big city. But the type of corruption he’s investigating, a little corruption never did anybody any harm”.
The charge was pulled. You can imagine how angry and frustrated we were on that, but the reason came back the Attorney General wanted to examine the file. So weeks went past, and we hadn’t heard anything. I sent an email to the legal adviser who had advised charge in the first place, and I told him the media were sniffing about and asking questions about this businessman, and that it might be best if he informed the Attorney General that this was happening.
He forwarded my email straight on to the Attorney General, but it was ignored and we heard nothing about it. About 3 or 4 weeks later I went a bit further and sent another email, saying I was doing an interview with the media in the morning and they had already asked about this businessman, the reason why he wasn’t charged. They knew politicians had visited him and the Attorney General, and that they were going to ask me about it, and that they were linking it with the efforts to obstruct the child abuse enquiry. I told the legal advisor that I would reveal everything in the interview, because if I was asked a question I wouldn’t lie, and that he’d best inform the Attorney General. Within a very short time we got the instruction to charge the businessman with the offence.
BBC: Could it be anything to do with the fact that the procedures used in dealing with him and investigating him were in some way not correct? That the allegations of some of those of who made them against you and your team had been proven? Is that not possible?
Lenny Harper: I completed a lengthy statement under caution, which I handed to the Devon & Cornwall investigators at a very early stage. The allegations were in essence the same as the others were making, which had been proved to be malicious. I mean I’m quite happy for anybody to look at the files, and for anybody to look at what we did, and for any examination of what we did anywhere, to open up any files. we behaved throughout, professionally and honestly.
BBC: Now we must point out that the case against that businessman was withdrawn once the Assistant Magistrate had determined that some evidence which was essential to the prosecution case was inadmissible. The man in question says he intends to pursue his official complaint against Lenny Harper.
BBC: Mr. Harper says that he did not feel a joint sense of purpose was – or indeed is – shared between the States Police and Jersey’s prosecutors:
Lenny Harper: It goes back before the child abuse enquiry, it was even more pronounced in fact during the Police corruption investigations, where overwhelming cases I saw were being put forward, without any problems of corroboration, without relying on similar fact, and the public interest reason for not prosecuting that they brought out. So no, I have not detected that same, shared, sense of purpose with prosecutors.
And I’ve been asked loads of times about the Judiciary, and I’m not including the Judiciary in this. None of these cases have got that far yet, and to be fair to the Judiciary, whenever they do get drugs dealers and the like they do seem to have caught the public mood in respect of that.
But the question relates to the prosecutors, and no I do not – and have not – sensed that same strong determination to get offenders into court and deal with them.
But in the child abuse enquiry, this again goes back to the nonsense of the delays in the decision in respect to the couple in France, the inexplicable change in the instructions in respect of the couple who were in custody and then released, the attempts to stifle the openness with the media, and the blatant passing of false information by a small number of politicians to sections of the media.
And I think more significant than the small number of politicians who have openly criticised the enquiry and criticised myself and some of the officers involved in it, is the silence of the vast majority of politicians – and I exclude, as I said, the Home Affairs Ministers – but the vast majority of politicians have remained silent, many of whom you would have thought were natural allies of this enquiry, and many of whom quietly have stopped me in the street, at functions and said “Look, your team are doing a brilliant job, keep it up”. One even went so far as to say it was a pity about the other expletives that he was working with.
So I think that’s significant, the fact that they don’t feel able to publicly support the enquiry, though privately many of them have said they do.
BBC: Well, Lenny Harper has left service with the States of Jersey Police, and he’s left the island. He says he’s not as optimistic as he was that justice will be seen to be done in Jersey.
Lenny Harper: There just seems to be a thread running though of people interfering, and people obstructing, together with a series of delayed decisions, which all very, very, easily lead amongst victims to an even stronger suspicion that they are not being supported, and that people are actively trying to delay the enquiry.
Now even if I look at it from a cold and clinical investigator’s point of view, there were a vast number of decisions which just totally escaped me, in respect of a rationale for them. And whilst I emphasise I have no evidence that anyone was deliberately trying to block or delay or hinder or bury the enquiry, it’s very difficult for a member of the public looking at all of that not to think that there was some other agenda to it.
I really do hope that justice will be done. If I was to go by decisions made in the last couple of weeks then maybe I’m not as optimistic as I maybe was a year ago.
Exclusive Interview of Lenny Harper by the BBC.