LOOKING INTO THE MICROCOSM
Blanche Pierre –
The Anatomy of an On-going Atrocity.
Child Abuse –
And the Failures to Protect Children.
The Atrocities Continue.
“There was frequently delay in reporting matters to the Police. A case in which delay could have had fatal consequences was the case of the [Child, Family 4] baby (please see report DS Fossey [Date excised] folder 1) who was taken to A&E with a suspected fractured skull. Doctors were investigating this as a non-accidental injury and the parents were the sole carers and therefore the chief suspects. Children’s Service did not inform the Police. The Child was admitted at approximately 17.00 one day and Police were not informed until 13.00 the following day, and then, only by chance. In the meantime the child had been allowed home for the night with her parents. I am not an expert in child care but one only has to apply a modicum of commonsense to realise that the Police should have been informed at once and that the child should have been placed with someone other than her parents until investigations were complete. The next day, not one but two suspicious skull fractures were confirmed.”
“I still find this hard to understand particularly as I successfully prosecuted [Mother, Child, Family 1] for neglect when she admitted allowing a known sex offender into her home on a daily basis and watched him indecently assault [Child, Family 1] on two occasions without intervening. When parents cannot or will not protect a child surely the state has a duty to act?”
“[Mother, Family 6] was a young single mother with a disturbed background. On [Date excised] she informed psychiatric nurse [Nurse A] that she had tried to kill her [Age excised] old baby by smothering him. She stopped in time. However, she felt that the baby was better off without her but as she did not want anyone else to have the child it would be better for him to die.
“The documents show that [Nurse A] informed Children’s Service at once. However, Children’s Service did not inform the Police until 4 weeks later. In the meantime Children’s Service had agreed with [Mother, Family 6] that her father should care for the baby but they did not tell him what had happened. The grandfather was therefore not in a position properly to protect the child as he did not know either that the child was at risk or what that risk was. The Grandfather in fact took the baby with him on a visit to UK where [Mother, Family 6] joined them. No authorities in UK had any idea that the Child was at risk. Police were only informed 4 weeks after [Date excised] when the family returned to Jersey. One can only conclude that in this case there was an abject failure to follow basic procedures and in my view, the Child must have been put at risk by those failures.”
What Has Happened?
How Has it Happened?
Why Has it Happened?
Since my term of Office was unlawfully terminated by the Jersey oligarchy, many, many members of the public in Jersey have e-mailed me to express their support – and to ask questions – always questions. Chiefly, the three I reproduce above.
In this posting – I will try to do two things. Answer those questions.
And – sadly – provide yet more damning evidence of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster. Evidence which proves – that the recently published Special Case Review – into just one child protection failure – that caused outrage in Jersey – is only the tip of the iceberg.
The evidence I quote from above – with the full report, by Bridget Shaw, reproduced below – illustrates nine – yes – nine – further such atrocities.
And still – most of the awful truth is hidden.
A very successful American lawyer once remarked to me, as though letting me in on a trade-secret, how to tell which side was actually right – and which wrong, in a case of litigation. He said, “The lawyer who is making the case for the side who are right, will keep his argument very simple and clear. The lawyer representing the side who are wrong, will make his argument as complex as possible.”
That was good advice.
Indeed, one often sees the same tactics used in politics.
Why should each side choose those stratagems? What advantage is offered by each to the respective positions?
If your case is fundamentally right – if you have truth on your side – a reasonable jury will see that that is so. You do not need elaborate complexities or stultifying legal arguments to prop-up your case. But, the other side – who are wrong – are simply wrong. Therefore any plain and easy statement of the facts disastrously undermines their position.
Which is why the side with the weak or non-existent case, will do everything and anything in their power to complicate, obscure, cloud – and divert attention from – the core, simple issues.
The party who is right – will combat this, by always striving to return the argument to the central, simple facts. Just as the party who is wrong – will continually strive to over-complicate matters – and introduce diversion – upon diversion.
There are risks – of course – in both approaches, to both sides.
The obvious risk is that the opposing tactic works, of itself – but a less obvious danger is that in adopting either strategy, you assist your opponent by driving the jury towards their side.
The side over-complicating matters, might succeed in their objective of making the jury lose track of the issues – of intimidating them into thinking, “we must be foolish and ignorant – not to understand such obviously brilliant and learned points. If such expert and highly-ranked people – who clearly know so much – say that the case of the other side is wrong – well, that must be so. Who are we, ordinary people, to disagree with such professionals? Anyway, surely such a controversial matter – that has ended in court, after all these years – just can’t be as simple as the other side are claiming?”
But – against such a tactic – the simple argument may work; it may succeed in blowing away the clouds of confusions and obscurations. People’s common sense instincts can be powerful; they may well smell that unmistakable scent of nonsense – and, instead, just see – and understand – the plain facts, and instinctively grasp the truth.
The risks to either side – in the responses they must make to the other, are clear. If you are on the ‘complex’ side – if you refuse to engage in a straight way with the simple facts, you risk appearing evasive – and your attempted delusion of the audience, that hocus-pocus you were trying to dazzle them with, may evaporate. And, if you are on the ‘simple’ side, a refusal to be drawn into any technical complexity or subtle nuance of argument can make your case appear intellectually weak.
The advice of that American lawyer returned to mind today, whilst I was answering the many e-mails of support I have received – and trying to think of how to answer the oft-repeated request from the many people who have not been following events closely, to explain –
“How did things come to this? How was all this able to happen? Why has it happened?”
I’ve answered those people by promising that I would try – somehow – to summarise and encapsulate the strange and bizarre course of events – which have led from early 2007 – to this unprecedented state of affairs.
I could, of course, write a very lengthy – and complexly cross-referenced – series of postings that referred readers back to this or that posting of such-and-such a date – and the evidence they contain. But – although I could do that – I’ve decided instead to try and keep it simple.
Simple – because the truth is on our side.
And – in addition to explaining the truth – I am going to publish the next item of evidence as part of our examination of the continuing Blanche Pierre Atrocity. And – in a coincidental and circular manner – the particular item of evidence, in addition to proving the continuing child protection failure in Jersey – takes us back to how these atrocities are able to be hidden – through the oppression of people like me – even though the truth is known to those in positions of power.
So – whilst not without its risks – I’m going to describe below – in simple, easily understood terms – the truth.
The reality – the disgusting Political manoeuvrings – the fearful abuses of power – which have caused, and continue to drive this extraordinary sequence of events.
I will explain – simply – why things happened as they did – and, in particular – just why certain early – catastrophic – misjudgements on the part of the Jersey oligarchy – have left them with no choice; left them chained into a course of action that they cannot now turn from – but which has, effectively, destroyed them.
In the case of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster – a continuously unfolding failure, spread over decades – and, in particular, the events of the last three years, I am on the side that is right. I, and others like me, who have fought for the protections of children – can state our cases simply – make our arguments easy to understand – because we have the truth on our side.
In letter from Exile 13, in which I published the second ACPO report – I explained just how many items of actual hard, documented evidence there are, now in the public domain – that support our simple – and truthful – argument. Namely – that there has been a systemic, catastrophic breakdown in child protection in Jersey – and that that has been made worse, by a sustained campaign by the powers-that-be in the island, to conceal that long-term failure to protect children. Indeed, the items of evidence listed in Letter from Exile 13 have now been dramatically added to – by the evidence published in this series of postings examining the Blanch Pierre atrocity.
The truth is –
There has been a grotesque failure to protect Jersey’s vulnerable children.
That failure has persisted over a period of many decades.
Many, many, highly-placed and influential people – such as senior civil servants, politicians, Law Officers and judges have been culpable in that failure – in one way or another – over the decades.
All of those people who are still living, whether still working, or retired, wish to conceal their respective roles in the failures.
Not only did individuals fail – the States of Jersey as an entity – the island’s entire public administration – also failed – disastrously. Indeed – it continues to do so.
Therefore – even if it were not many of the same people of which we speak – still, the Establishment – wanting to maintain the “image” of the States of Jersey – has common cause with all of those culpable individuals.
That Common Purpose – between the States and individuals, is what gives rise to the Culture of Concealment.
Not only have we published dramatic quantities of evidence that shows many, many cases of child abuse – we have also published huge quantities of evidence which shows the deliberate concealing of that abuse.
Fortunately for vulnerable children – and unfortunately for all those engaged in the Culture of Concealment – three years ago, we began to expose the child protection failures.
The Jersey establishment panicked. At that moment – there were two paths available to them. One – the path of wisdom – recognise and acknowledge the failures; face up to them – and their consequences – and do the right thing. Or – the path of folly – carry on behaving as the Jersey oligarchy has always done – as an all-powerful law-unto-itself; re-enforce the Culture of Concealment; and abuse all powers to oppress, denigrate – and make an example of – anyone who dares to speak the truth and tries to do what’s right.
Back then – in July 2007 – the States of Jersey committed itself to the path of folly.
Thinking it was only me, and a few other “troublemakers” who were exposing the child protection failures – the Jersey oligarchy set about oppressing and neutralising me – thinking that that would enable them to get the lid back down on the whole disaster.
By acting in such a foolish, improper and unwise manner, the Jersey oligarchy destroyed their credibility at that stage. But the full, awful magnitude of that disastrous conduct did not dawn upon them until we learnt, some months later, of the covert Police investigation into the decades of concealed abuse.
The police investigation went public, in late 2007 – to the profound fear, humiliation and discredit of the Jersey establishment. For not only was it shaming that Jersey had harboured such child protection failures for decades – but, even only a few months earlier, the first and only Jersey politician to have exposed such failures, had been politically oppressed for his efforts, by the Jersey oligarchy.
Though nothing but support for the police investigation could be expressed publicly – privately, senior establishment figures knew this turn of events to be politically disastrous for them. They viewed the Jersey elections – approaching towards the end of 2008, with huge trepidation. They hoped – somehow – it would have faded away by then. Of course – it didn’t. So – as the election drew close – a crazed act of desperation – of utter folly – was called for.
Something would have to be engineered – to discredit the entire historic abuse investigation.
Something would have to be done – to make it appear to have been a fuss over nothing – and drive the voting public back towards the traditionalists – in time for the crucial election of 29 members of the Jersey parliament – which would take place on the 26th November, 2008.
In the preceding months, much thought had been given to manufacturing some nonsense for which to suspend or sack the man directly leading the investigation – Lenny Harper. But – he was retiring in any event – making any such action against him appear even less credible. There was only one thing left to do – only one target that would serve the purposes of spin, during that crucial period in the build-up to the 2008 Deputies election – the Police Chief, Graham Power.
Mr. Power was unlawfully suspended – without any warning – without due process – and on no grounds – or evidence – whatsoever – by Bill Ogley, the Chief Executive to the States, and a politician, then Home Affairs Minister, Andrew Lewis, on the morning of the 12th November, 2008.
This was a desperate, desperate gamble. But – one the Jersey oligarchy, in their hubris, imagined they’d get away with.
Thrusting Mr. Power into this position – they attempted to bribe him – by offering him his full pension and a monetary settlement – if he agreed there and then to go – to take ‘early retirement’ – and they told him they would give him ‘half-an-hour’ to ‘think about it’.
Another catastrophic misjudgement – of the kind that can only be made by people wholly corrupted by too much power.
The Chief Constable, a formidable man – of impeccable professionalism and integrity told them he did not require any time to think about it – his answer was “no”.
He remains improperly suspended to this day – whilst the Jersey authorities engage in ever-more transparently lunatic panics – to try and manufacture – post-event – some kind of weak and spurious “justification” for their Political and corrupt behaviour. All the while Mr. Power’s real retirement looms – when he will become a free agent – and able to express his assessment of events.
But – back in November 2008 – that criminal and despicable action, had the desired political effect. The credibility of the investigation was trashed. The traditional Jersey oligarchy were made to appear respectable once again, in the eyes of many Jersey voters.
However – the truth was not so easily disposed of. Mr. Power continued to fight; Mr. Harper continued to support the abuse survivors, and – especially problematically for the Jersey oligarchy, used to total control over the island’s “news” agenda, I continued to write my blog – publishing hard evidence that the local “accredited” media could have been safely relied upon to not publish. Even if they’d had the competence to obtain it.
But, Mr. Power and Mr. Harper were, effectively, going or gone. I remained the last great problem. The one remaining – and in many ways, most problematic – ‘last-man-standing’ from the exposing of the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster. Doubly-dangerous. For not only was I publishing a continuing flood of hard evidence that proves many of the abuses took place – and proves many of the cover-ups – additionally, as a non-establishment Senator – I was also a political threat to the Jersey oligarchy’s monopoly of power. What to do?
Terminate both of these threats at the same time – by abusing the “law” to attack me – and, specifically, to attack me over the publishing of the blog. The perfect solution.
Early one morning in April 2009, I stepped from the front door, and began to walk across to my car. Three unmarked police cars sped up the drive – I understood instantly what was going down – and plain clothed police officers leapt from the vehicles and surrounded me. One grabbed my wrist and told me I was under arrest for alleged data protection law offences. He stated my rights and told me I would now be taken to the police station. I asked if I could at least put on a clean T-shirt. He and three others then walked me into the house. Whilst inside, I asked if I could see their search warrant. The arresting officer, said yes, and began to reach into his jacket pocket, but he hesitated, stopped and said “no – it would be shown to me down at the station.”
The operation was co-ordinated from Police Headquarters by one Dave Minty. There were at least ten officers involved on the ground at my home. The six I had seen immediately, two additional search officers, and a further two who had been waiting in a van in the lane outside, equipped with helmets and one of those battering-rams that get used in drug raids, “should I have not left the house and it had become necessary to effect a forced-entry”.
I was taken to Police Headquarters under arrest, and was held locked into police cells for seven and a half hours – the great majority of that time in a tiny, windowless cell on the ground floor, where, if I wanted to use the toilet, I had to ring a bell, and an officer would eventually come, and escort me to the lavatories before returning me to lock and key in the cell.
Throughout this time, the home I shared with my partner – also a politician – was ransacked by police officers – from top to bottom – including going through her children’s bedrooms, all of their possessions and searching their computers. Searching all of my partner’s possessions and her computers. Turning over furniture, including the sofas and chairs in the sitting-room. Tipping the kitchen bin out onto the kitchen floor. All of this was enthusiastically engaged in by the police – even though the office I used, where my computer and files were kept, was – obviously – in another part of the property. They turned that over as well.
The above search was undertaken without any search warrant existing. The arresting officer had simply lied to me, when he said I’d be given a copy at the station. The supposed “legality” of the search relying upon an emergency search power, for use at the time of unplanned arrests.
The search was – plainly – a criminal act. It was unlawful on the grounds of being an ‘abuse of powers’, of being ‘disproportionate’ and of being engaged in improperly, when the law that was allegedly being broken by me, actually stipulates a specific enforcement procedure – including the requirement to obtain a search warrant.
The only significant charges arising being two alleged data protection offences. I have been expressly denied effective legal representation. The only thing that was – eventually – conceded to me – six-months into the corrupt prosecution process – was an offer of an unpaid, legal aid lawyer, not of my choice. Even had I been prepared to accept such an inadequate offer – it came six months too late – when the die had been cast in many respects.
Notwithstanding these denials of my rights, I worked through months of increasingly absurd preliminary hearings, and with the voluntary help of an expert witness, assembled my defence case. The report to court by the expert in particular, was unarguable. It prove conclusively and damningly the validity of my public-interest disclosure defence. It became clear at this stage the Jersey oligarchy had given no serious consideration to the facts relevant to the case they had acted upon.
After several months of work on my defence case – and at virtually the last minute of the 11th hour – the prosecution lawyer, Stephen Baker, formerly of 7 Bedford Row, and a personal friend of William Bailhache, announced without warning at the end of another of the ‘directions hearings’ that I would now have to make an application to the court to have all of my defence evidence deemed “admissible”. This was a straightforward act of procedural corruption on Baker’s part – the evidence in question already being “admitted” to the court proceedings – as it had been disclosed to me by the prosecution – in the full knowledge that I was using it as the basis of a public interest disclosure defence.
The judge – Bridget Shaw – went along with this corrupt charade, pretending, along with Baker that the evidence was not already a part of the proceedings, and agreeing with him that there would have to be yet another directions hearing the next week – at which I would have to “make an application to the court” – to have the evidence necessary to prove my defence case – “deemed admissible”.
Given that the Judge – Bridget Shaw – had, throughout every hearing, simply agreed 100% with Baker – and merely parroted everything he said – I realised then my involvement was futile.
I walked from the court – and, a few days later, left Jersey.
Those – then – are some of the key facts in a chain of events that began for me, early in 2007, when I began to discover the true nature and extent of decades of concealed child abuse in Jersey.
The corrupt, anti-democratic and lawless actions described above – have now led to the oppression of the rights of my constituents and my illegitimate exclusion from democratic Office.
I wrote above, that a number of, frankly crazed, misjudgements had chained the Jersey oligarchy into a course of action that they cannot now turn from – but which has, effectively, destroyed them.
Political disasters happen to power-groupings all the time. ‘Why’ – you may ask – ‘can’t the Jersey establishment just face facts, take it on the chin – and turn aside from the path of folly they are on?’
There are several answers to that question.
For example – whilst those in power can be observed meeting with various disasters in most, Western democracies – Jersey is different, in that it has no organised opposition – and no functioning independent media. Therefore those in power in Jersey are able to indulge in folly – without facing the challenge they would in a functioning democracy.
It is also the case that Jersey has no separation of powers – thus no effective checks and balances. In the island, even the judiciary is corrupted to Political purposes.
The stakes are immensely high – therefore – for that power-structure. It is – effectively – a single-party state. But – the admission of any catastrophic public scandal – such as the corrupt concealment of decades of child abuse – could permanently change the political landscape.
Those reasons are – of themselves – enough to explain the irrational and shamelessly overt misbehaviours of the Jersey authorities during the last three years.
But – there is another reason – a reason which is, actually, quite obvious – when you pause to think about the lawless and corrupt behaviours itemised above.
A reason why – the misjudgements of the leaders of the Jersey oligarchy – have caused this to be a ‘Total War’ – that can only end in complete victory – and utter destruction – for one side – or the other – so vast are the stakes.
It is this.
If people like Graham Power, Lenny Harper and me – win – then certain, immutable facts are acknowledged.
And the general, collective, acknowledgement of those facts – can only have one, final, destination.
The logic is inescapable – and there to be observed.
For a multitude of various crimes of – Conspiracy to Pervert the Course of Justice – and of – Misconduct in a Public Office – the following individuals will be jailed:
Terry Le Sueur.
Each and every one of those individuals has engaged in – in one way or another – at different times and in different capacities – in conspiracies to pervert the course of justice, and of acts of misconduct in a public office – in respect of the pro-active, deliberate, concealment of crimes of child abuse – and of crimes of the concealment of child abuse.
That list is by no means exhaustive. But each person that features in it – has the mens rea – and is faced with the evidence – necessary to be prosecuted, convicted – and jailed – for the offences they have committed.
And, of course, in the Jersey context – not only are we speaking of the shame and disgrace of those powerful individuals – we are also facing the utter destruction of the very thing – the very institutions – the very status quo – they were all seeking to protect when embarking upon their criminal enterprise.
Each, in some way, has – knowingly – and that is a crucial distinction – knowingly – with mens rea – acted in ways, and misused their powers, to support and further the cause of the criminal concealment of child abuse.
Such actions have been engaged in, in the capacities of Law Officers, senior civil servants, regulatory officials, members of the 2007 Jersey cabinet, senior police officers – and judges.
Those are some stakes.
But yet – that is the inescapable, logical destination – that defeat for the corrupt Jersey oligarchy leads to.
So – if you observe the crazed, and seemingly irrationally excessive – and ultimately destructive, actions of the Jersey authorities – and shake your head in puzzled wonderment at the persistence of such folly, of the heaping of misjudgement upon misjudgement – now you will understand why.
For them – losing is simply not an option.
This end – this total war – could have been averted – could even have been rowed-back from at certain stages, though that would have involved some sacrifices.
However – in the catalogue of errors that has been the Jersey oligarchy’s conduct throughout the child abuse scandal – there are three disastrous misjudgements – three terminally suicidal actions – that there was never, really, going to be any recovery from.
Firstly, the decision by the Jersey cabinet – to join with the corrupt civil servants in the deliberate concealing of child abuse – and their engineering of my dismissal as a Minister.
Secondly, the – frankly insane – action of corruptly and improperly suspending the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police Force. A nationally respected Chief Constable and holder of the Queens Police Medal. And doing so – in support of, of all things – the sabotaging of a major child abuse investigation.
Thirdly, the crazed, Mugabesque, police-state arrest, searching and oppression of a prominent opposition politician. The theft of his constituents’ private data, the denial of his human rights, the refusal to provide legal representation and attempts to prevent him from even adducing the evidence he needs to defend himself.
When, eventually, the reckoning comes – those three events will be looked back upon by history – as the three nails the Jersey oligarchy hung itself from.
And to remind ourselves of just why the fight cannot be given-up – of exactly why any decent person must wish this seen through to the end – we can turn to the next item of evidence.
The document re-produced below – is a report – written by no less a figure than Bridget Shaw.
In it – in addition to the general damnation of what passes for a child “protection” system in Jersey – she refers to no less than nine – nine – separate – horrifying – examples of child abuse.
And – each one of the nine examples referred to here by judge Shaw are note-worthy – because each and everyone is being referred to in the context of examples of disastrous failure by Jersey’s child protection apparatus.
In recent times.
Indeed – amongst the cases Ms. Shaw refers to in her report – are at least three – three – that I had become aware of – in spite of the civil servants’ obstructions, and through my own investigations – during early 2007.
The very kind of cases I had in mind – when I gave that fateful – honest – answer to the question I was asked in the Jersey parliament in July 2007 – in which I said I ‘had no confidence in Jersey’s child protection systems – and I was going to commission an external, independent inquiry’.
The answer that then led to people like Bill Ogley, Mike Pollard and Marnie Baudains – with the enthusiastic political support of Frank walker, Terry Le Sueur, Philip Ozouf and Mike Vibert – and with the “legal” assistance of Michael Birt, William Bailhache and Emma Martins – having my dismissal engineered for “undermining staff moral”.
These being the self-same staff responsible for the things documented in Ms. Shaw’s report – such as failures leading to the neglect, mis-care, battery, savage injury and rape – of many vulnerable children.
I have explained above – as requested by many members of the public – what happened – how it happened – and why it happened. Well – at least as far as those terms can be addressed – under such wretched circumstances. What goes through the minds of people like Bridget Shaw – when unlawfully persecuting me – I can’t begin to address.
And the real question – just how my community can have found itself led into such madness – where child abusers and those who fail to protect children are defended – I am likewise still struggling with.
REPORT BY BRIDGET SHAW.
In January 2006 OS (now DI) Alison Fossey assumed responsibility for what is now the Police Public Protection Team (PPU) formerly known as FPT.
Dl Fossey began to present us with many more cases for advice than we had previously received from the Police. The number of prosecutions rose accordingly, indeed we have had some very successful prosecutions. However at the same time DI Fossey brought to my attention a number of issues concerning the way in which Children’s Service officers were dealing with cases.
These can be summarised as delay in referring matters to the Police; heavy reliance on Police to take action in cases where Children Service should be acting and fail to do so; lack of understanding of Children’s Services primary role in Child Protection; reluctance to apply for Care Orders or Emergency Protection Orders for fear of failing and poor handling of case conferences.
The main issues at the time were with the long term care team who run the Children’s Homes, not, I stress, anything to do with Greenfields, nor with any behaviour that could be considered criminal. It appeared to the Police that a number of members of staff did not appreciate the risks to children, did not act when they should to protect children and did not understand the respective roles of the Police and Children’s Service.
Action by Legal Advisers’ Office
I raised the matter with the Solicitor General and DI Fossey subsequently sent me a report in April 2006 (attached folder 1 together with schedule of investigations and Children’s Service chronologies)
My file note and my subsequent report to the Solicitor General outlining my concerns are also attached (folders 2 and 3).
Meeting with Police
On 8 June 2006 The SG and I met with DCI Bonjour and DS Fossey to discuss the issues ( please see folder 4).
Dl Fossey had brought to our attention a number of cases which were symptomatic of the standards apparently applied by Children’s Service such as shown by the ,  and  family histories.
In many cases little seems to be done by Children’s Service to intervene when in view of the Police, Children’s Service should act. They rely too much on the Police and seem to think the Police can act when Children’s Service can’t – rather than the other way around due to the different standards of proof. Frequently when a case was referred to the Police, Children’s Service would ask what he Police were doing about it rather than taking action themselves. The details are in the attached reports.
There was frequently delay in reporting matters to the Police. A case in which delay could have had fatal consequences was the case of the [Child, Family 4] baby (please see report DS Fossey [date excised] folder 1) who was taken to A&E with a suspected fractured skull. Doctors were investigating this as a non-accidental injury and the parents were the sole carers and therefore the chief suspects. Children’s Service did not inform the Police. The Child was admitted at approximately 17.00 one day and Police were not informed until 13.00 the following day, and then, only by chance. In the meantime the child had been allowed home for the night with her parents. I am not an expert in child care but one only has to apply a modicum of commonsense to realise that the Police should have been informed at once and that the child should have been placed with someone other than her parents until investigations were complete. The next day, not one but two suspicious skull fractures were confirmed.
The second area of concern was that members of the long term care teams did not seem to know what their roles were vis a vis the Police. They seemed to think that it was for the Police to act primarily to protect children. The Police’s primary role is to investigate crime. In doing so they work alongside Children’s Service but too often Police found Children’s Service expected the Police to take action when they themselves did not act. They were reluctant to apply for Emergency Protection Orders or Care Orders, even in cases where children such as the [Family 1] children such as [Child, Family 1] appeared to be at considerable risk in her own home.
Another area of concern was the conduct of case conferences, which are meetings held between all agencies to decide whether a child should be put onto the Child Protection Register. This categorises children at the highest risk and a plan of intervention is formed. In the [Child, Family 4] case the chair of the conference was the parents’ former children’s service officer who was clearly not impartial. Other concerns specifically surrounded a Manager named Danny Wherry. He would, for example, start the conference by stating that he did /did not intend to put the child on the register. This was not conducive to an open discussion and joint working between the various agencies.
Mr Wherry also told Police that if a Child on the Register was reported as missing, he did not want the Children’s Service to be contacted about it out of hours — it could wait until the morning. Children are put on the register if they are thought to be at very high risk. One would have thought that Children’s Service would be just the people the Police need to speak to in order to help find a very vulnerable child late at night.
Meeting with Children’s Service
The SG and I met with Marnie Baudains and Tony Le Sueur, (a Children’s Service manager). They accepted that Case Conferences were not always handled well and said they were short of people in the island qualified to chair them (something Marnie is working to improve).
As far as the long term cases were concerned, they effectively said that the chronologies we saw reflected only part of the work that went on but admitted that cost was a factor in dealing with such families, they thought they would never get care orders as the bar is set too high and even if they applied, they would have to show that the care home was better than the family home, which wasn’t necessarily the case as they would struggle to place such children.
We were told that incidents such as the [Child, Family 4] baby case should not have happened and were exceptional.
We also brought up the case of Jason Hamon which came to light in [Date excised]. Hamon was convicted of sexual offences against girls (aged 12/13) and sentenced to three years imprisonment Before he was released he underwent a RAMAS assessment which assesses a person’s risk of committing further serious offences. He was deemed to be at high risk. He also expressed his intention to [ EDITED] This [EDITED] did not accept that he remained a risk (‘He has paid his debt to society etc ‘). [EDITED] had an [Age excised] old daughter. Clearly, [EDITED] was in no position to protect [EDITED] did not accept that he posed a risk of offending. Children’s Service did not intervene to protect the [EDITED].
Two years later, the almost inevitable disclosure was made to the Police that Hamon had been indecently assaulting [EDITED] from the moment he [EDITED] . This was a tragedy which could have been avoided. Hamon is now serving another prison sentence. Children’s Service said they were not able to establish that he was actually living at [EDITED] and denied it when challenged.
Overall they believed they were doing a good job but that they felt unable to apply for Court orders to take children into care as the standards set by the Court were very high and applications even in such cases as [Child, Family 1] were likely to fail. The driving factor behind these decisions seems too often to be whether Children’s Service have suitable accommodation for the child rather than whether the child is at risk of harm if he or she stays in the home.
I still find this hard to understand particularly as I successfully prosecuted [Mother, Child, Family 1] for neglect when she admitted allowing a known sex offender into her home on a daily basis and watched him indecently assault [Child, Family 1] on two occasions without intervening. When parents cannot or will not protect a child surely the state has a duty to act?
The Present Position
The view of the Police is nothing has improved since our meeting with Children’s Service. Indeed things have deteriorated as the problems were formerly to do with the long term care team and response from the emergency team had been good. Since then some members of the emergency team have left and things have not improved.
Delays in reporting matters to the Police and questionable judgement issues remain.
The delay in the [Family 4] case was clearly not an exception. There have been many instances in which there has been delay in informing the Police. A glaring example is the case [Child, Family 6] (folder 5). I no longer have the full file but I enclose copies of the documents showing a referral from Health to Children’s Service on [Date excised.]
[Mother, Family 6] was a young single mother with a disturbed background. On [Date excised] she informed psychiatric nurse [Nurse A] that she had tried to kill her [Age excised] old baby by smothering him. She stopped in time. However, she felt that the baby was better off without her but as she did not want anyone else to have the child it would be better for him to die.
The documents show that [Nurse A] informed Children’s Service at once. However, Children’s Service did not inform the Police until 4 weeks later. In the meantime Children’s Service had agreed with [Mother, Family 6] that her father should care for the baby but they did not tell him what had happened. The grandfather was therefore not in a position properly to protect the child as he did not know either that the child was at risk or what that risk was. The Grandfather in fact took the baby with him on a visit to UK where [Mother, Family 6] joined them. No authorities in UK had any idea that the Child was at risk. Police were only informed 4 weeks after [Date excised] when the family returned to Jersey. One can only conclude that in this case there was an abject failure to follow basic procedures and in my view, the Child must have been put at risk by those failures.
Another recent example of what is wrong in Children’s Service is the case of the [Family 7] (folder 6). The letter on file is from Linda Dodds, a senior manager. The letter is self explanatory. The children were at so much risk that they were put on the Register in [Date excised] 2006. By [Date excised] 2007 Children’s Service had had no intervention in the family, and had not even completed a core assessment as mother would not co-operate. The suggestion then, is that the children should come off the register! Surely mother’s refusal to let Children’s Service into the house and refusal to co-operate is all the more reason for concern for these children, not less. DI Fossey’s reply is also attached.
Another example is the case of [Child, Family 8] (folder 7). This was brought to my attention last week. [Child, Family 8] has been fostered by a family since the age of [Age excised] . He is now, around [Age excised]. He has [Condition excised.] Recently he tried to strangle the [Age excised] year old son of his foster parents. Children’s Service seem only able to focus on what they think is best for [Child, Family 8]and are ignoring the need to protect the [Age excised] yr old in the family. They are adamant that [Child, Family 8] should not be prosecuted and should remain in the home. It was only the Police who asked in case conference what the mother’s view was (she can no longer cope with him) and the effect on the [Age excised] yr old (very fearful he or his parents will be killed by [Child, Family 8] in their sleep). There are two children here and the Police have actually alleged that Mr McVey of Children’s Service has tried to mislead them about whether to prosecute firstly in omitting Dr Williams’ comments that [Child, Family 8] should be prosecuted from the minutes of the meeting and then writing to DI Fossey saying that CAMHS (i.e. Dr Williams) were of the opinion that prosecution would not be in [Child, Family 8’s] best interest. This is a very serious allegation but the officer (DC Cornelissen) does not see what other interpretation he can put on the facts.
Yet another case earlier this year was Dennis Godwin. He was a convicted sex offender living [EDITED] and [EDITED] [Child, Family 9]. who has [EDITED] . [Child, Family 9] was assessed as having a [EDITED] although [EDITED] was [Age excised]. [Child, Family 9] [EDITED] Godwin was a sex offender. [EDITED] was unable to protect [EDITED] . Godwin slept in [EDITED]. Children’s Service knew he was a sex offender living with [EDITED]. They did not intervene. Godwin repeatedly raped [Child, Family 9] and even filmed two acts himself. He is now serving 12 years. Even after Godwin’s arrest Children’s Service would not remove [Child, Family 9] from her mother’s care, not because they didn’t appreciate [EDITED] to protect [EDITED] but because they didn’t have anywhere to put a Child with [EDITED] difficulties. This continued even after Godwin tried to contact [Child, Family 9] from prison and [EDITED] sent him photographs of [EDITED].
When the enquiry was set up I contacted the Solicitor General and asked whether I should speak to Mr Williamson about the concerns we had had about Children’s Service which led to our meeting last year. The SG said that I should do so. I was aware that the Police still had problems with Children’s Service and I spoke to DI Fossey who gave me the most recent examples of [Child, Family 7] and [Child, Family 8].
I would emphasise that I have no knowledge of the matters relating to the allegations Senator Syvret has made about Greenfields and I feel I have nothing to contribute to that aspect of Mr Williamson’s enquiry. However, the enquiry was set up to look at child protection in its widest sense and I felt under an obligation to bring the above matters to Mr Williamson’s attention, which, with the agreement of the SG, I did last Thursday.