Read the Views of Lenny Harper
As Published in the Guernsey Press.
“I DO not wish to get involved in any political arguments about the relative merits of the islands’ legal systems, nor do I wish to get involved in a slanging match with the chief minister, but there are a number of points in his letter which need challenging”, writes Lenny Harper.
“Firstly, I would challenge his view on the priorities of all those involved.
Although the two Home Affairs ministers in Jersey were unstinting in their support for the enquiry, the minister and his assistant who had responsibility for child welfare spent all of their time sniping at the enquiry from the sidelines and engaging in petty insults to officers involved by sending childish emails to States colleagues.
According to the journalist, David Rose, one of them leaked an official States email to him and one of them or the small band of politicians sympathetic to them, called the victims ‘people with criminal records and disturbed minds’.
Someone in the States leaked to the media that the enquiry had cost £6m. when in fact it was half that and the other half consisted of other departments claiming costs, including somewhere in the region of over £1m. for legal fees.
This is also in an environment where, in the presence of the Home Affairs minister, a senior politician tried to instruct me to remove the word, ‘victims’, from a press release as ‘nothing has been proved yet’.
The Home Affairs minister, as she has been throughout, was supportive of our stance and I refused.
Let me make it clear that only the two Home Affairs ministers have continually supported the investigation in public and in private.
The chief minister made whatever resources were needed available and stated so publicly early on. A number of politicians approached me privately and expressed support and thanks but for whatever reason did not feel they could do so publicly.
A small number could not disguise their hatred of what was being uncovered and did all they could to discredit us, even joining forces with a number of corrupt ex-cops and their associates.
The chief minister is also wide of the target when he states that it is not unusual for lawyers to join police investigation teams in the UK and Jersey.
Lawyers and police work together as investigators in serious fraud cases in both jurisdictions, such as the Serious Fraud Office. Police investigators work closely with CPS lawyers in the UK, but the lawyers are not investigators and only have a role in police stations in charge rooms.
However, that is not what was being asked by the Attorney General in Jersey. What he wanted was a blurring of the role between investigator and prosecutor. He wanted a lawyer sitting in the incident room where raw data in the form of intelligence and information was coming in.
This was nowhere near the stage where a file was being drawn up for submission for possible prosecution. This was a live police investigation where sensitive intelligence was being provided by victims highly suspicious of the legal establishment in Jersey.
Some of the intelligence provided contained allegations against members of the legal establishment. To have allowed one of the AG’s lawyers in the incident room would have totally destroyed the hard-earned confidence that the police had gained from the victims. If you are in any doubt about this ask some of the victims or their representatives.
Furthermore, as much of the material did not relate to pending prosecutions, it is debatable whether or not the AG and his staff had a right to even see it. That is why I took the stand I did.
I emphasise that I am not accusing the AG of any dubious motive. I have no evidence as to what his motivation was, nor why he thought it was proper to seek the arrangement he did. Only he knows that.
I did not leak my report to The Times newspaper and I do not know who did. I did not even speak to the paper. However, the article was accurate in everything it said about the report which I had written.
If the chief minister thinks that state of affairs shows a relationship based on trust and mutual aims to help victims, then he is looking at it from a different perspective from me and, I suspect, many others.
I note that the States of Jersey has said that the leaked memo was genuine. I can confirm that from what I saw. Someone, a politician I believe, said that the source of the leak was being investigated.
I hope that more effort is expended on investigating this leak than was when the States Police complained to the chief minister’s office of the leaking of an official email by Senator Perchard (the minister responsible for child protection) to Mr Rose, the anti-historical abuse investigation journalist.
Mr Rose admitted that Senator Perchard had leaked the email to him and we complained, but the allegation seems to have been buried without trace in the chief minister’s office.”
Former Chief Investigating Officer
Jersey Historical Child Abuse Enquiry.