In my last posting I wrote about the self-inflicted damnation of the Jersey legislature – which was writ large in December 2007, when my Christmas speech was barracked, howled-down and stopped with the cutting of my microphone.

I was attempting, as Father of the House, to deliver the traditional Christmas speech.

But given all the atrocities against children which were coming to light, I broke with the custom of delivering the expected round of mutually self-glorifying banalities which pass as ‘the done thing’ on such occasions, and instead tried to deliver an honest, heart-felt speech in which I attempted to express recognition and empathy for the abuse survivors – and those who didn’t survive.

As explained in the last posting, we couldn’t be surprised if the Jersey oligarchy attempted some sudden change to custom & practice as this Christmas approached, in order to stop me from giving the speech as Father of the House.

And yes – as though the Jersey establishment had not intellectually and ethically shamed itself enough already – that’s just what they’re doing.

Senator Terry – Tel Boy – Le Main – used car salesman extraordinaire – has been secretly organising a claque of oligarchy Senators who wish to take it upon themselves to prevent me, as Father of the House, from delivering the Christmas speech.

They are doing this because they’re frightened I’ll speak the truth again.

Well – come what may – we will have Christmas speeches from members of the public in the Royal Square instead.

We will not be silenced.

But since posting Monday’s article, in which I quoted a brief extract from a major article on the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster from the Sunday Times Magazine, I’ve been asked by a lot of people if I would reproduce the article in full. It has been referred to previously – I seem to recall there maybe links to it from a reader’s comment some months ago – but I reproduce the entire article below.

It was written by David James Smith – one of a number of UK journalists who were able to come to Jersey and uncover and assemble more facts concerning atrocities against children in the space of a few weeks – than the entire panoply of Jersey media has done in six decades.

Here is the article.

Think of it – especially think of the victims who are written of in the article – when observing the spectacle of Jersey’s oligarchy trying to prevent the truth being spoken – again.


From The Sunday Times
May 4, 2008

Within these walls: the Jersey childcare scandal

As police continue to search for bodies at Haut de la Garenne — the centre of the Jersey childcare scandal — Britain’s foremost crime writer, David James Smith, asks: how many victims, abusers and government officials kept quiet?

Kevin hid from the police the first time they came over to see him, in February. He was suffering from depression and decided he just couldn’t handle talking about it all. So, when the two officers flew in from Jersey and made their way to the hostel in Hackney where Kevin was staying, ready to take his statement, he had already left, and was hiding away at the home of a friend, waiting until the police had gone.

Kevin was living in a hostel because he had been having trouble with noisy neighbours in his old flat. When the police were called, Kevin felt they were laughing at him instead of arresting his neighbours, so he barricaded himself inside and smashed all the windows. The electricity was already cut off and Kevin relied on candles for light. He knocked over a candle and set fire to the curtains. But, like he said, that was an accident. He had been drinking, of course. All his life, starting from the age of 16, he has been drinking. Mostly lager and vodka.

Kevin was not used to giving witness statements to the police. More often he was the aggressor, the one being arrested. He did not have much faith in authority. The only time he had ever told anyone in authority what had happened to him – his probation officer back in Jersey in 1995 – nothing had been done, so far as he knew. He had never heard another word about it. Not from his probation officer, who was David Trott, nor anyone else.

Kevin had not personally kept count, but had recently been told he had 130 convictions, many of them the result of drinking and fighting, and had spent accumulated years of his life in prison, all on short sentences, never longer than nine months and mostly much shorter.

He was 57, and spoke quietly, uneasily, in clipped sentences. He had once been a shopkeeper in Jersey, and had worked as a decorator, but was now laid low with emphysema and would be lucky if he ever worked again.

Kevin had been married and had five children, and had done everything in his power not to pass his terrible legacy on to his children. The family was back in Jersey. Kevin did not like being in Jersey. He had told his wife, his ex-wife by now, his story, in the years after they were first married. He had later told his eldest daughter, and it had been she who called the police in January on Kevin’s behalf, not long after the public announcement of the historic-abuse inquiry.

Kevin had heard that announcement with a mixture of relief, fear and scepticism. When the police called to rearrange the interview, he determined to try harder. Just imagine if the man who had harmed him was still out there harming others? Here was a chance to make it all stop.

On March 1, the officers flew back to London. Again Kevin thought he could not go through with it, but this time he did not run away. He sat and talked for four hours while they took his statement. The police told him that the man’s name had been mentioned by quite a few others they had talked to. Kevin felt good when he had finished, like a weight had been lifted. But the feeling didn’t last long. The anxiety and depression soon returned.

Kevin was up all night before he came to talk to me, a few weeks later, but again he did not hide away, and even though it was difficult to look me in the eye, and even though he had blocked things out and tried so hard not to think about them for the past 40-odd years, he was a good and, I believe, honest witness to what had happened to him and his brother in the cellars and dormitories of Haut de la Garenne, all those years ago.

Kevin’s brother is no longer around to give his account. Michael O’Connell used a rope swing suspended from a tree on a country lane in the Jersey district of Lower Trinity to hang himself, a week after his 14th birthday, in October 1966. It was a few days before Kevin turned 16, the year he started drinking. He was Michael’s older brother and has lived on with the knowledge that he could not protect Michael. But now, at least, he can speak for him.

Kevin and Michael’s father had always been violent at home, but, for reasons that were never clear to his children, he reserved his greatest venom for Michael. He refused to allow the family to call Michael by his name. Instead he insisted they call him Herbert, and instructed them to treat “Herbert” as their slave. Their father had once broken Michael’s arm. I asked Kevin if he had any happy memories of his father at all, but Kevin couldn’t think of a single one. He could not recall any interest from social services, only occasional visits from the truant officer.

Kevin got into trouble with the police and, after being caught breaking into shops with a gang of other teenagers, he was sent to Haut de la Garenne by the court. His family life being awful, Kevin thought: “Great, get away from it for a bit.”

One of the worst things about Haut de la Garenne was that young criminals were thrown in with children who had done nothing wrong, and children of all ages, so the possibilities for bullying among the 60 or more residents was endless.

The earliest allegations the police received were predominantly concerned with incidents in the 1970s and ’80s, but as the inquiry developed, the 1960s began to feature more prominently, and that was when Kevin was sent there, around 1963 or 1964, he thinks, when he was 13 or 14. Michael was already at Haut de la Garenne when Kevin arrived. And Kevin’s time there would have coincided with visits from Edward Paisnel, a notorious paedophile known as the Beast of Jersey.

Kevin’s tormentor was a man he knows only by his surname. He has not been publicly identified before, and Kevin, a semiliterate child at the time, was not even sure how to spell the name of the man who had ruined his life. The Sunday Times knows his name, but for legal reasons we are withholding it from publication. He is known to the police, who are investigating allegations against him from a number of people who passed through the home. Kevin recalls that this man often wore a white jumper and used to carry a big, yellow torch.

The superintendent, Colin Tilbrook, and this particular member of staff made up Kevin’s reception committee at Haut de la Garenne, on the Friday he recalls arriving. They told him what a bad person he was. He was bad news and would need cleaning up. He was dragged down to the cellar, pulled along by his hair and ears, and punched and kicked. The route to the cellar, then, was out the main entrance at the front of the building, round the side, back in through the double doors – the area now covered for the forensic digging – and down the stairs to the vaults.

Kevin was put in the cellar straight ahead of him. There was a large bath in there. He was stripped naked and made to get into the bath, which was already filled with cold water. When the man with the torch left, locking the door behind him, Kevin was trapped in darkness for the whole weekend.

This became a pattern. The perpetual darkness was barely tolerable. The same man would return late on a Sunday and open the door, all normal, like nothing had happened. Come on, off you go. That really got to Kevin. It was just too surreal.

Alas, this was not the whole story. When Kevin was naked and bathed, the man would touch Kevin’s genitals while masturbating himself to a climax. When he had finished, he would kiss and be affectionate with Kevin, telling him what a good boy, a nice boy, he was. This, too, the contradictory behaviour, was difficult for Kevin to comprehend.

Kevin has no idea how long he was at Haut de la Garenne – he says that’s something he has blocked out – but in all the time he was at the home he never received any visitors. He used to leave the home to go to school during the week, but nobody ever asked him about his life, and he never spoke to anyone.

When he was not in the cellar, Kevin would sleep in a dormitory with maybe 10 or 12 other boys. Often the man would come in, with his torch, and walk along and pick a boy, seemingly at random, and begin touching the boy’s genitals under the blanket. Sometimes it might be Kevin, or he might watch as it happened to the boy in the bed next to him.

Kevin was never raped or orally abused, but he heard other boys describe having been sodomised by Tilbrook, and he himself had been caned and occasionally hit by him. Kevin says that he used to fantasise about killing the other man, his sexual tormentor, but of course could never do anything about it. The thing he felt more than anything was complete terror and helplessness.

Kevin thinks Michael was still in the home when he was released, though Michael ran away on several occasions and was also farmed out to foster carers. Michael was arrested with two other boys and accused of setting fire to a barn. It was while he was waiting for the case to come to court that Michael hanged himself, apparently fearing he would be returned to Haut de la Garenne.

The inquest report in the Jersey Evening Post from October 1966 makes pitiful reading, with Michael’s mother quoted as saying she knew her son was in safe hands with Mr Tilbrook at the home.

About six years later, after Kevin had left home, he was walking past his parents’ house, saw the police were there and went to see what was happening. There had been a drunken fight. The father had broken into the barricaded matrimonial bedroom and strung a rope to the light fitting. Here he had told his wife, go on, you bastard, and hang yourself, like your son. Kevin wanted the police to take his father away but they said it was only a domestic. The next morning his mother killed herself with an overdose.

It is impossible to say for sure why the abuses at Haut de la Garenne went on for so long without being uncovered and then continued to be concealed for two decades after the home was closed, in 1986. There is no evidence, at this stage, so far as I know, of a deliberate conspiracy to disguise the wholesale abuse of so many children. As Kevin said to me, he was told he was bad, he believed he was bad, he was told nobody would believe him, and he believed nobody would believe him, which, so far as Kevin is concerned, is exactly what did happen when he did eventually tell someone, in 1995.

Like Kevin, many people did speak out.

They told police, probation officers, other adult carers, and figures of authority, yet, somehow, nothing was done. The truth is, I suspect, that nobody cared very much about those children. They were the orphans and kiddy-villains of the great unwashed, and just didn’t matter.

Except, of course, that most were not orphans or villains – they were the offspring of parents with troubles of their own, too busy struggling to survive or drowning their sorrows to look after their children.

Kevin’s family, the O’Connells, were in fact a family of seven children, Irish of origin, who lived in a small house not far from St Helier. They were firmly trapped in a world of social deprivation that was significant in post-war Jersey and persists to this day, even though some of the old estates have been demolished.

Here was an unexpected, surprising aspect of Jersey life – a world of poverty the tourists never saw from the beaches or the shopping lanes of the capital, St Helier. Tourism has been in serious decline in Jersey for 15 years – long before it became publicly known as the island of child abuse – down from half a million visitors a year in 1992 to just over 300,000 in 2007.

As Stuart Syvret would be the first to tell you, most of the island’s ruling elite would not know much about that hidden world either. Many of them were in a different stratosphere, worth millions through business or inheritance or both.
Though Syvret had risen to become a minister in the Jersey government – called the States – he had never felt part of the ruling elite. Even before the furore, there was a long history of antagonism between Syvret and his fellow senators, especially the chief minister, Frank Walker.

Jersey had no political parties, or none of significance. People called it a one-party state, but, in a real sense, it was a no-party state, just a collection of individuals who sometimes seemed to govern, as Syvret would put it, as a secret cabal.

Syvret grew up on a St Helier estate, in the same social universe as many of the victims of Haut de la Garenne. And many of the problems those children faced were familiar to Syvret. He described his own father as a violent alcoholic who had broken Syvret’s jaw when he was six.

Despite the accusations that he was self-serving and publicity-seeking, Syvret had not gone on about his own background during his recent campaign to draw attention to the survivors of abuse and the failings that had led to their suffering. But, because Jersey is so small – a population of 87,186 at the last census in March 2001 – it did not take long, just a few degrees of separation, for me to connect him to the people he was now trying to support.

He had grown up first in “the grotty back streets of St Helier” and later in Clarence Court, a block of flats on the edge of the capital that he described as the dumping ground for the problem families of the island. His childhood had been poor, neglected and hard, and he had few formal qualifications, beyond his skills as a cabinet maker.

But he had been highly politically motivated from an early age, mainly on environmental issues and social concerns. He had entered the States as a deputy at 25, in 1990, at the same time as Frank Walker, who was then the 47-year-old head of the mini media empire that owned the island’s sole newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post. Walker will soon be 65 and is due to retire from public office at the end of this year. As he told me, somewhat ruefully, when we met recently, he never dreamt he would spend his last months in office facing the issues that now confront him.

Jersey has a lot of politicians for such a modest population. The States is home to 29 deputies, who are local representatives, 12 connétables, who are honorary officials, not unlike parish mayors, and 12 senators, the senior politicians who are elected by the whole population.

The head of the States is the bailiff, appointed by the Queen, currently Sir Philip Bailhache, whose brother, William, is attorney-general. The deputy bailiff is the former attorney-general Michael Birt. The bailiff is not only the head of the States, he is also the head of the judiciary, which creates a potential clash of interests that greatly troubles Syvret and others.

Jersey is nothing if not a creature of tradition, with its uniquely anomalous status, being answerable to the UK but largely independent of it in terms of law and government. Even now, there is no sex offenders’ register in Jersey and no equivalent to Ofsted, the body that routinely inspects schools and children’s care homes in the UK. Many of Jersey’s laws and practices go back 800 years to its alliance with Norman France. Petty offenders can still find themselves facing summary justice in front of the centenier at a parish-hall inquiry. Miscreants were still being flogged with birch stems until they bled into the 1950s – something mercifully absent so far from the allegations at Haut de la Garenne.

Syvret became a senator before Walker, but acceding to the highest levels of the Jersey government only increased his jaundiced view of the Jersey establishment, “the oligarchy”, as he refers to it, with its centuries-old interest in preserving the image of itself and its island. He expresses amazement that they have somehow managed to persuade the rest of the island that democratic party politics would be a bad thing. Meanwhile, says Syvret, the establishment heavyweights are meeting at parties or masonic events, where the real decisions are made, the rest of the politicians just following as lobby fodder.

The oligarchs, said Syvret, were totally unrepresentative of the people they claimed to represent – the ordinary people of Jersey. Walker takes issue with Syvret’s depiction of a ruling elite. He says the States’ members represent a variety of backgrounds and political opinions.

Syvret had been suspended from the States in the mid-1990s, after refusing to apologise for questioning another senator’s personal financial interest in a law he was voting for. In 2001 he called for Walker’s resignation after an extraordinary sequence of events in which Walker hired a private detective to find the source of malicious rumours that he was a wife-beater. Two politicians were made to publish an apology to Walker in the Jersey Evening Post, for having spread the false rumours. It was said the woman detective had pretended to be a tabloid journalist from London, seeking dirt on Walker, and the politicians had passed on the unfounded gossip.

Walker said at the time that he had acted to end five years of hell. Syvret said he should resign for using such underhand methods. Walker has been married three times. The unfounded domestic-violence rumours are still aired regularly, though when I heard them eventually it was not from Syvret, who was quick to say that episode had no relevance to the child-protection scandal.

Syvret is a fighter, gloriously outspoken, a gift to the media but also, so far as I could tell, possessed of integrity, staying true to his beliefs.

In 2007 he had been in charge of health and social services for seven years, first as president of the Health Committee and then, following some much overdue government modernisations, recast as the minister for the Department of Health and Social Services. He had, he said, been waging a continual war to improve the performance of children’s services and social services. He began trying to obtain a copy of the report that followed an independent inquiry into the recent conviction of a teacher at the island’s most prestigious boys’ school, the fee-paying Victoria College. In 1999, Andrew Jervis-Dykes had been given a four-year sentence for a series of indecent assaults on teenage pupils who he had plied with alcohol and sometimes shown soft porn before abusing them.

Allegations had first been made against Jervis-Dykes four years before he was eventually arrested. It was only after his arrest that the school suspended him. According to the report, the headteacher had told a senior school governor – later deputy bailiff of the island – Francis Hamon about the earliest allegations over a game of squash, and had been told to keep quiet about it. It was not clear when the rest of the school governors knew – these included the still-serving bailiff, Philip Bailhache.

After Jervis-Dykes’s arrest, a colleague, Piers Baker, who had also been on the trips, wrote a letter supporting Jervis-Dykes to the police and then refused to give the police a witness statement, allegedly with the backing of the headteacher. When called to the police station to watch a video, apparently showing Jervis-Dykes masturbating a sleeping boy in a ship’s bunk, Baker said he could not identify the boy.

Baker resurfaced as a civil servant in the States soon after, as a maritime official, where his role, among other things, gave him responsibility for child protection at sea.

Syvret complained, but to no avail. Baker still works there. The parents of one of the victims had approached Syvret, trying to obtain a copy of the Sharp report, which criticised Baker, among others, and highlighted the years of failure to act against Jervis-Dykes – years in which he was free to continue to abuse. Syvret could not get the report from official channels, even though he was a States minister. Neither the attorney-general nor the education minister would give it to him. He eventually obtained it from a mole and leaked a copy to the Jersey Evening Post that, he said, never bothered to publish it.

Early last year, he says, he began to be approached by whistle-blowers who were working in the childcare system and were alarmed at current or recent methods being used at homes. The most public example of this was Simon Bellwood, who recently settled his industrial-tribunal claim for unfair dismissal against the States, after he was sacked as a social worker from Greenfields home, where he had complained about a bizarre practice known as the “grand-prix” system of reward and punishment, which, he believed, was leading to excessive periods of solitary confinement for the residents.

Talking to people had a snowball effect of putting Syvret in contact with more whistle-blowers, both staff and victims. One teenager claimed to have been kept in isolation at Greenfields for two months, bringing him to the point of a breakdown. Then came the unhappy story of the Maguires, Jane and Alan, who had run a so-called group home for children in care and had been the subject of many allegations of physical abuse and, against Alan, at least two claims of sexual abuse too. Jane was the “house mother” and her husband, “Big Al”, was the “house father”. Before starting this work, in the autumn of 1979, Jane had worked briefly at Haut de la Garenne.

Despite admissions to the States’ authorities by the Maguires that they had washed children’s mouths out with soap and administered physical abuse, such as slaps, as physical punishment, they were allowed to leave the home and take up another post elsewhere in the care system. The president of the education committee, Iris Le Feuvre (later sacked by Syvret), wrote them a fulsome letter of thanks on their “retirement”, though actually they did not retire at all, but continued to work in social services.

The allegations that the then director of social services, Anton Skinner, had heard were in fact far more serious than their admissions, but he seemed to have accepted the Maguires’ denials.

I spoke to one of their victims, John Le Boutillier, who recalled how Skinner had made him and other accusers appear before the Maguires and say they had been lying.

In 1998, as I understand it, someone threw a note tied to a brick through the window of the Maguires’ Jersey home, making allegations against them. Arrogantly, or foolishly, they took the note to the police to complain, and an investigation began that led to them being charged with a series of assaults.
Some evidence was called at court, with staff, residents and even a neighbour prepared to give evidence of assaults, some of which were documented in the Maguires’ own home records.

In November 1998, the case was dropped. The Jersey Evening Post reported that the attorney-general had found that the evidence was insufficient to proceed. The attorney-general was Michael Birt – the current deputy bailiff. I wrote asking him why the case against the Maguires was dropped, and received a reply from a court official who said that the correct procedure had been followed and that Birt had consulted the police and others before making the decision.

These are old events, but try telling John Le Boutillier they no longer matter. He and his sister were brought up by the Maguires for the best years of their childhoods. As John put it, they turned him into a nervous wreck with a stutter, who did badly at school, got no exams and ended up with a no-hope job. His sister fared little better. Both have had problems with drugs and alcohol and John has spent time in prison.

John described Alan Maguire as a big, bullying ex-army sergeant, always being used as a threat by his wife – “you wait till Alan gets home”. He would stand in front of the children shouting at them and hitting them at the same time. He would hit them across the head. Both of them would use weapons, such as wooden spoons, to hit the children. John had his mouth washed out with soap. Alan’s pièce de resistance was to squeeze the sides of your head tightly in his hands and lift you off the ground.

John, who will be 37 this year, began a civil action against the Maguires and the education department. He dropped it because he was about to get married and didn’t want to ruin the marriage before it had started by incurring legal debts. The marriage fell apart anyway, but at least he had tried. He had told his ex-wife everything that had happened to him.

By now, Syvret had decided he was facing “some kind of catastrophic, systemic, cultural failing in the childcare apparatus of Jersey”. He had heard some allegations from former residents of Haut de la Garenne but, as he said to me, he was really more alarmed about the more recent problems elsewhere, and the clear resistance to dealing with them openly.

He first raised the matter in the States last summer, spontaneously, in response to a question about childcare. He believes the oligarchs began plotting his removal from that moment on, first trying to force him to resign and eventually voting to have him removed from office in August.

When I met Frank Walker and his chief executive, Bill Ogley, they claimed not to want to talk about Syvret. This wasn’t the time for petty politics, they said. But as I was leaving they handed me Walker’s 91-page dossier on the reasons for the dismissal of Syvret, documenting his alleged poor performance of office, his harassment of civil servants and fellow politicians, his disclosures of confidential documents, and his abusive behaviour towards other ministers.

Syvret is unrepentant. He has no doubt he was sacked for making a fuss. Driven by a kind of mania during this period, Syvret would stay up all night, collating information, writing e-mails and reports, trying to ensure some proper intervention and drastic improvement in childcare. He was meeting abuse survivors at all hours of the night “in rainy back alleys”.

Not long after his dismissal he had a call from police headquarters, inviting him to come down for a chat with the deputy chief officer, Lenny Harper. To his astonishment, Harper told Syvret the police were in the advanced stages of an inquiry into historic abuse at Haut de la Garenne and elsewhere. According to Syvret, he was told plainly that this was the first time anyone outside the force had been informed of the inquiry. The police had deliberately chosen not to notify other ministers.

Walker and Ogley told me when I met them that they had been notified much earlier in the year that the inquiry was underway. In any event, Syvret said, it was like a mountainous weight had been lifted. Finally, the truth would come out.

Lenny Harper, who is leading the historic-abuse inquiry as senior investigating officer, told me a number of older police officers in Jersey could recall how children were always running away from Haut de la Garenne and how they used to have to take them back. The officers were troubled now, at what further suffering they might have inflicted on those children. Harper had spent much of his first six years in Jersey addressing problems of corruption in the force, leading to some dismissals and convictions against a small group of rogue officers. One of those had phoned Stuart Syvret shortly after the historic-abuse inquiry went public, warning Syvret not to trust Harper and complaining bitterly that Harper had targeted the rogue officers’ malpractices, as if there was nothing wrong with them. It was ‘not the Jersey way’, the officer had complained to Syvret about Harper.

Syvret, who felt he could trust Harper, contacted him straight away. It turned out this was just one call in a wider campaign by ex-officers to discredit Harper, with complaints about him, and attempts to smear him among journalists and others. Harper would not be drawn on whether he thought the campaign was politically motivated. A later e-mail, sent by Ben Shenton, the very senator appointed to replace Syvret as health minister, had mocked Harper and been seen as an attempt to undermine the inquiry. Frank Walker told me Shenton had subsequently said the inquiry and officers had his full support.

The police had begun the inquiry in early 2007, following up on recent allegations of sexual assault involving the Jersey Sea Cadets. Some complainants had told the force they ought to be looking at Haut de la Garenne too. The police went public because they wanted to encourage others who might have suffered to come forward. It was clear from the way the inquiry had escalated that they had not anticipated just how many complaints there would be.

At the last count there were upwards of 160.

But of course it was the digging that had created the headlines and lurid speculation of mass graves in the cellars where the search teams were working. Harper said there were no specific cases of missing children, but there was one specific allegation – he would not give details – which, if true, could well have resulted in a death.

Then, too, there were the bones found by builders in 2003 when they were refurbishing the building for its relaunch as a youth hostel – it was reopened by a guest celebrity, the former Newsround presenter John Craven in 2004, and is now closed for the foreseeable future.

The bones had been examined by pathologists, dismissed as animal bones and destroyed. Harper, in his allusive way, seemed to question the validity of the assessment of the bones and seemed certain there had been human remains there.

This appeared to be confirmed by the discovery of a small fragment – about the size of a 50p piece, he said – of a child’s skull. From materials found around it, the police were confident it had been placed there during or after the 1920s. As we went to press, the police acknowledged subsequent discoveries of milk teeth and other bone fragments. Otherwise, the work was all about interviewing the witnesses and processing and cross-referencing their information on the database. Historic cases of sexual assault were notoriously hard to prosecute as there was invariably no forensic evidence and it often came down to one person’s word against another. What would win convictions here would be “similar fact” evidence – several victims describing the same kind of incident – which was why it was so important for the police to hear from everyone who was ready to come forward. That, of course, was what had encouraged Kevin O’Connell, in the end, to make his statement. An act, as I told him, that showed considerable courage.

The suicide of Michael O’Connell had first been drawn to the attention of Syvret by a friend of Michael’s. Syvret had discovered the dates of Michael’s death and his subsequent inquest, and attempted to introduce them in a Christmas speech to the States in 2007. He had been shouted down by Frank Walker and others because he had broken with convention by not making a routine speech but choosing instead to talk about victims of child abuse in Jersey care homes.

When he refused to sit down and tried to carry on – even as some members came up and practically screamed in his face – the bailiff, Philip Bailhache, switched off his microphone.

It seems only fair to point out that the Jersey politicians weren’t to know then what you have read here, about Michael’s tragic history of abuse. But, even so, it might seem like a somewhat unedifying spectacle – a group of grown men, or mostly men, shouting down a speech which was, in part at least, about a boy who hanged himself.

The police made their inquiry public at a press conference in November, on more or less the same day that a 47-year-old serial sex offender, Chris Curtin, was imprisoned for five years for historic offences of his own. Curtin had claimed in court – not for the first time – that he had been the victim of sustained abuse at an unnamed children’s home in his youth. This had little bearing on his sentence, and rightly so. The home was, of course, Haut de la Garenne.

Chris’s brother, Danny – who had not been in the home and has no convictions for sex offences against children (and whose wife wishes he had changed his surname years ago) – remembered Chris showing him photographs of young girls long before he was ever convicted. Danny thought nothing of it then. The police later told him that 20 women had come forward with memories of a man approaching them as children. Back then Chris used to work in Bambola, St Helier’s leading toy shop. When a mother claimed he had put his hand up her daughter’s skirt, Chris denied it and Danny thought there must be a mistake. Danny had no idea.

In the small world of the Jersey underclass, it is no surprise that the Curtins lived on the same estate, Clarence Court, as Syvret, and that Danny Curtin was best friends for a while with Kevin O’Connell. Danny remembered waiting to meet Kevin one day in 1966 and being told, he won’t be coming, his brother’s hanged himself.

Chris Curtin was caught stealing around the age of 12 and sent to Haut de la Garenne. His friends Colin and Big Steve used to go up there on their skateboards to visit him. Colin well-remembered Chris telling him that it wasn’t right, what was going on there. Chris took Colin to see the room in which he had been kept locked up. He showed Colin bruises on his wrist.

He was convicted of serious sexual offences against children in 1991 and in 1995. Chris died in La Moye prison, Jersey on December 29, 2007, about a month after being sentenced. “Well, he won’t be missed, will he?” said Big Steve, when Colin told him that their friend had died. Danny was notified as next of kin, but took no part in arranging a funeral. By the time Colin found out, the funeral had already taken place.

For many weeks afterwards, the exact circumstances of Chris’s death were not entirely clear. He had died of a heart attack, and so the Jersey deputy viscount, who is responsible for these things, initially opted not to hold an inquest, concluding that it was “natural causes”.

Surely, for public confidence, an inquest might have been a good idea?

I was told Chris had complained repeatedly to prison staff of chest pains on the night of his death. And didn’t get immediate medical help. Was that because he was a paedophile?

We may never have known for sure, if I hadn’t inquired. The deputy viscount, Peter de Gruchy, didn’t seem to want to know either, and never bothered to answer my e-mails, asking him to explain his decision. Old Jersey habits, it seems, die hard, even now, when transparency is so desperately needed. Imagine my surprise, about 15 weeks after Curtin’s death, when a Jersey contact called to tell me that an inquest on Christopher Curtin was about to be held. I was told in advance that Haut de la Garenne would not be mentioned at the inquest, and this proved to be the case. Because, after all, that is ‘the Jersey way’. The coroner also dismissed “rumours” that there had been a delay treating Curtin.

Now it was too late, Colin wished he had asked his friend more about the abuse he had suffered. He decided that he could at least tell the police what he knew.
The police confirmed that they had spoken to Chris before his death and Colin’s account supported what they had already been told. There was nearly a second death at the prison last month when Roger Holland attempted suicide the day after being jailed for two years for sexual offences against children. He had a history of such convictions, but this had not prevented him being elected an honorary police officer in Jersey during the 1990s.

Kevin O’Connell is still afraid of the dark. His flashbacks are worst at night and he often has hot and cold sweats and panic attacks. Lager and vodka are one remedy, of sorts. The memories, he said, have messed up his life.

I contacted his probation officer, David Trott, who still works at the Jersey probation service, to find out what action he had taken after being told by Kevin of his past as a victim of abuse, back in 1995. I did not hear back from Trott, but from the chief probation officer, offering a bland statement about a probation officer’s duty to pass on any information to the appropriate authorities. He would not comment on what had – or had not – happened in Kevin’s case.

I was beginning to understand by now what Syvret meant when he said that the phrase “not the Jersey way” haunted this entire episode. What was the Jersey way? To conceal and dissemble? Not any more. It would have to change.

Frank Walker acknowledged that these were dark days for Jersey and its reputation. He stood by his remark that Syvret was trying to shaft the island internationally, and said he wanted to get the truth out that Jersey was not an evil place and, for most people, bringing up a family in Jersey was a delight. He spoke of the “horrors of Haut de la Garenne and the isolated cases elsewhere”, but emphasised the recent interim judgment of an expert outsider, Andrew Williamson, who had been called in to examine the Jersey care-home system, and said that there were no children currently at risk in homes.

No doubt Walker wished the scandal would go away, but with the police considering up to 50 suspects in all, at least half of them from Haut de la Garenne, the prospect of arrests and trials seems certain to keep Jersey as the focus of negative attention, long after the planned end to the digging, around the end of this month.

Unlike Syvret, Walker had not personally known anyone who had been a resident or a victim at Haut de la Garenne, though he may unknowingly have met a few as he told me his only connection with the home was visits he used to make there at Christmas during the 1980s, when he went to distribute presents as a member of the Round Table.

Michael O’Connell was long dead by then, of course. I wondered at the life he might have led, even if he had lived. It probably would not have been so very different from Kevin’s. Forty years later, Kevin was still trapped in the dark cellars

(c) David James Smith, Sunday Times Magazine

99 thoughts on “THE CRUSHED.

  1. TonyTheProf

    The Times article was some time earlier this year, and I read “Even now, there is no sex offenders’ register in Jersey and no equivalent to Ofsted, the body that routinely inspects schools and children’s care homes in the UK.” Is there any legislation anywhere in the priorities for the States on this yet? Or has it been relegated to the back burner (like Depositors Protection schemes, and goodness knows what else).

  2. Anonymous

    I can bring soup, bread, blankets and microphones for the Christmas speech
    But I promise I wont bring my knitting when I watch the heads role on execution day

  3. Anonymous

    ” Unlike Syvret, Walker had not personally known anyone who had been a resident or a victim at Haut de la Garenne, though he may unknowingly have met a few as he told me his only connection with the home was visits he used to make there at Christmas during the 1980s, when he went to distribute presents as a member of the Round Table.”

    Frank ‘the knight of the round table’ walker playing santa … ho ho bloody ho – merry xmas chidren. who may have unknowingly met a few victims whilst playing santa but didnt care to no their names or even catch their eyes.

    What great xmas’s these poor children must have had! and to have to watch big frank prancing around handing out pressies – how thoughful.

  4. voiceforchildren


    I remember reading that article when it was first published. I also remember e-mailing Rob Shipley about it, explaining I learnt more about Jersey and “the Jersey way” in that one article than I ever had when I used to buy the JEP needless to say he never replied.

    We as Bloggers must keep this story of child abuse and alleged cover ups alive. We have to expose “the Jersey way”. Statistically I wonder how many of La Moye’s residents past, present and future have been victims of the Jersey “care”system? How many of them have met an untimely death?
    More importantly how were these deaths recorded by Peter De Gruchy?

  5. Anonymous


    given that many people on here post anonymously because they fear some form of retribution if identified, do you feel that many members of the public will stick thier heads over the parapet and make a Christmas speech alongside you.

    I sincerely hope people do but I feel that a large number of us, myself included, would be too nervous of the consequences.

  6. Anonymous

    Syvret this is a true statement…
    In 2001 he called for Walker’s resignation after an extraordinary sequence of events in which Walker hired a private detective to find the source of malicious rumours that he was a wife-beater.

    Craupaud in Exile asks.

    Is Frankie Boy A bully???????????????

    In about 1990, I and my family were on Holliday in Jersey and I was driving a Horror car along Columbaie approaching Snow Hill traffic lights. I had jumped the first set of lights but had stopped at the second set about five meters further on.
    I was waiting for the lights to change when a man ripped the passenger door open climbed over my elderly mother in law grabbed me by the collar with one hand and thrust an id card under my nose with the other, The id card was in the name of a Mr.Frank Walker States official, I remember the name clearly because I knew a Frank Walker in my teens, and was wondering at the time if they were related. The gentleman was screaming at the top of his voice that he was a “States official „and was very important (this was his exact words,something that made me laugh out loud)
    In the back of the car were my wife and two young children. You can imagine the noise from two children and two women and a mad man all screaming at the top of their voices, I did manage to get rid of this mad man, by accelerating away.
    We did expect the police to arrive at my parent’s house where we were staying at the time, but my father said that Mr. Walker would not make anything out of it, and that we should make a complaint, but as we were on holiday, we decided to go on the beach instead.

  7. Linda Corby

    Anonymous said…


    given that many people on here post anonymously because they fear some form of retribution if identified, do you feel that many members of the public will stick thier heads over the parapet and make a Christmas speech alongside you.

    As I am one of the few who do not post as Anonymous I will back Stuart where and when I can, in public or otherwise.

    You would have to kill me to stop me standing up and doing what I know to be right whenever I can, as I have morals/ethics which I stick to. So take note I am not suicidal and although disabled have no life threatening illness that I know about, so if I suddenly drop down dead please do make sure it is investigated.

    I have been blacklisted in this island for many years, this is what happens to anyone who stands against the corruption in this island or speaks out about anything the powers that be object to being spoken about.

    Fear is an awful thing to live with, and I understand why it is that so many are afraid to speak out, they are not cowards, but the shame is that until everyone speaks up many will not get justice.

    I cannot count the number of people who have said to me over the years ‘Linda, why don’t you just keep a low profile and play the game ‘The Jersey Way’, then you might stand a better chance at getting somewhere.’ This was normally in reference to my long standing battle with the Planning Department of over about 28 years, lol, in fact if I had taken up John Le Sueur’s back hander offer of £100,00 plus a leg over I would now be living in my own property on my little field in St Peters, but I didn’t and I still wouldn’t in retrospect, it was just a very sick offer to say the least, and shows that planning by personality has been going on for too many years!

    There have been far too many injustices for too many people for far too long in Jersey, and it really piddles me off!

  8. Anonymous

    Voiceforchildren asks how many residents of La Moye have been through the Jersey care system. I don’t know, but I bet it is more then the 22% national figure. See
    st _ouennais

  9. Anonymous

    I only hope the national press seize on this attempt to silence you by changing an old Christmas tradition.
    They’ve really shown themselves up and shot themselves in the foot this time!

  10. Anonymous

    Walker a Knight?

    He is too spineless!!!

    As a Free Mason, he is deluded…

    The best thing for all concerned is retirement; when tools reach the end of their useful lives, even a cabinet-maker knows they must be replaced…

    I do not judge him…

    Close to retirement with nothing to loose, he still has time to make amends for all the wrong he has blindly done…

    Only he can decide what is right!

    His retirement will give him plenty of time to think about the “cause & effect” of his actions.

    I only hope an old man he can sleep soundly knowing this…

  11. Anonymous

    Sweaty palms all round

    Harcourt and States at odds over car spaces

    Concerns from this Quarter

    It seems to be becoming clear to the reptiles down at the Vile Rag and some of the brighter bureaucrats that run this potato republic that there is going to be some very heavy fall out from Harcourt’s master plan.
    During the building phase there will be massive traffic disruption, noise and inconvenience for everybody that goes near that end of town.
    Post construction it will generate a large traffic footprint of its own if it is a success.
    The thought of the plan failing does not bear contemplation. The island would be left with a colossal white elephant that would blight the area and be a headache to the island for generations to come.
    Luckily for Harcourt and the bureaucrats they do not face reelection on a regular basis. I can imagine that many ordinary islanders left fuming in their cars week after week will sooner or later take it out on the idiots that ultimately landed them with this mess.

  12. voiceforchildren


    After reading the rag tonight (online version, naturally) First of all I am amazed they have published it and even more amazed they have allowed it’s readers to “have your say” on the article of Terry (GST28) Le Main trying to gag you and you xmas speech.

    Now we all know the COM are not the sharpest knives in the rack and from what I have come to know of Terry (GST28) Le Main he is about as sharp as a sponge!

    So with that, surely even the COM can see how much of a liability he is…………..can’t they?

    He is quoted as saying “there are quite a few of us who fear that he intends to use the speech to say certain things”.
    Is this bloke for real??????????

    So what he is saying to the council of ministers is if we let him speak he might say something we don’t like? Just what is/are he/they scared of?

    I might be giving the COM a little more credit than they deserve but surely even they can see by not letting you speak will do them more harm than letting you speak?

    Stuart if they are stupid enough to stop you delivering your xmas speech we have to make sure THE WHOLE WORLD see’s and hears it and the COM’s knows this.

    I hope they do “gag” you in the States but I really can’t believe they are that daft!

  13. Sigmund Fraud

    Truth will out and justice will come. Those whom are not guilty of direct abuse of children it is now time to get off the fence and make a stand.

    These people you seek to protect don’t deserve your misplaced loyalty!! The many victims certainly do!!!

    These things that Senator Terry Le Main doesn’t want Senator Syvret to say or make public is it because he fears the legal repercussions or the good name of Jersey? Or is it that there is a lot of rotten scoundrels who should not have the right to look after cattle never mind young vulnerable children??

    Also posted on the rags have your say

  14. Anonymous

    The difficult thing with crime statistics is working out what they mean.
    When you get away from murder and serious theft, the percentage of crimes that are actually recorded is a function of many factors. Firstly the number reported to or detected by the police, minor traffic crimes are committed all the time eg speeding and only a tiny fraction are caught and convicted, this in turn is a function of the efforts in this area by the force and the judgement of individual officers.
    Suppose the police concentrate on drugs, more time and money is concentrated on this area and the CID become more active in collecting information on known offenders. More arrests will result, the drug related activity in the island may even fall because of this campaign but it will seem like more offenses are being committed.

  15. Anonymous

    Hi Stuart, having been an avid reader and contributor to your blog for sometime. I thought it would be in keeping for me to post something that may be of interest!

    I was a resident in HDLG during the early to mid 70s. There is so much I wish to tell you and those that read and contribute to your blog. However, I’ll endeavor to keep this brief. If you wish to know more than just ask!

    I just want to give you a brief insight into my experiences. It may help many people understand the cover ups and, come to terms with the regime that existed in Jersey during that period.

    I was roughly twelve years of age when I found myself marooned in that place. After about a year, I decided to run away. Anyhow, I ran and I ran. I was chased by police cars, vans and bikes I was hounded across the countryside of St Martins by angry police dogs (I know what many british
    escaped prisoners of war felt like).

    Eventually, at the ripe age of thirteen I found myself pinned to the ground by one very terrifying German Sheppard, who along with its handler gave me a good old mauling.

    I was pulled up from the mud by my hair and kicked and punched all the way to the van where, I was thrown in to the back (after I was given a bloody nose) and the dog set guard over me. Growling and barking at me all the way back to care of Tillbrook and the `States of Jersey’. I spent the best part of two weeks in detention afterwards!

    Is it no wonder they want to hush up what the States of Jersey allowed to happen to the children in its care! I haven’t even told you about why I ran away have I!

    Writing from Excile

  16. Arthur Daley

    “Le Main sharp as a sponge”
    Pure comedy.
    Seriously he is also a very nasty piece of work who has friends in very high places and is highly dangerous because of them and not his intellect.

    Tread carefully, unless you have the goods on him.

  17. Anonymous

    “He will use the speech to say certain things” – unlike other States members who prefer to say uncertain things, non-specific things or otherwise talk total twaddle. Thankyou Stuart for giving Michael O’Connell his time in the spotlight. I remember him well at HDLG as a cheeky, funny boy of around 10. What a tragic waste of the life of such a lovely, caring. intelligent boy.


  18. Anonymous

    I’ve posted a comment in the rag re telboy trying to get the C.O.M. to ban you giving your xmas speech, but it looks like they wont allow it so i will paste it here so we have it on record…
    SydPosted October 31, 2008 at 9:39 pm Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Senator Terry (GST 28) Le Main and his cronies in fear of Senator Syvret saying certain things in his xmas speech as Father of the house ? Why are they afraid? have they got something to hide?
    One thing’s for sure Stuart wont be telling any lies if he does say something that some people dont like.He has said quite a lot about many people in public life here in Jersey that we plebs had no idea about, and we thank him for that. As yet i dont see any writs from any body daring to sue him, that in itself speaks volumes. Syd

  19. lara luke

    If people do not learn to speak up for themselves we are actually helping cover up things too. I would more than happily say a little piece on my brother’s behalf. I mean, after all what can they do? kidnap your children?!

  20. Anonymous

    Likewise I posted a comment on which is awaiting moderation.
    1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Seems ironic that we are about to celebrate the courage of men who fought and died to give us freedom however a member of establishment is trying to thwart freedom of speech. I would be very interested in knowing why on earth he should be hushed up and what exactly there is to hide? Do the Council of Ministers only want to hear the usual predictable speech, if so why carry on the charade, they can just pat each other on the back in their own time.

  21. voiceforchildren


    Have you a theory as to why Channel 103, the rag and CTV have deemed the story of Terrly Le Main trying to gag you as newsworthy and the local BBC haven’t?

    The way things have been panning out lately one could be forgiven for believing the local BBC don’t recognise what makes for a news story or something that deserves to be in the public domain.

  22. Anonymous

    Hubris until their dying day is what you will get of these cretins as they don’t see anything wrong with abusing young children especially young children who appear to have nobody to look after their interests or children from working class backgrounds who are only seen a the flotsam of life.

    They think that they will never face justice but these things have a way of leaving calling cards with a return date on them.


  23. Anonymous

    VFC beat me to it!
    Front page and headline news on the other media, yet the BBC ignore the story completely!
    I think it’s time we demanded of London a review of our local BBC operations. There’s something rotten over here far worse than a Jonathon Ross comment.

  24. Anonymous

    Posted on the BBC news have your say!!! not that they will print it

    Brand and Ross are nothing compared with the lack of publicity coming from BBC Jersey re the child abuse.

    A senior police officer arrested the other day and not a word from the bbc in Jersey????

    I know there are people in the BBC in Jersey who dont wan’t this story getting out!!!

    Time this was reported I will place this on Senator Stuart Syvret web blog…

  25. Anonymous

    It is obvious that many high ranking civil servants, politicians and members of the establishment read this blog regularly. But none of them see real support for what Stuart is doing, all they see are comments made by faceless people.

    What does this look like?

    How does this help Stuart’s work?

    Not one bit I fear.

    I propose a column down the right hand side of the comments page of Stuart’s blog, headed: SUPPORTERS OF STUART SYVRET, where all who support Stuart’s work can add their name and therefore more weight to the good work which he is doing. The left side of the page, where the comments are written could remain as it is now, that is people could still write their comments on the various topics anonymously.

    I think it is time we all stood alongside Stuart, proud of what he is doing for us all, rather than hide behind him in faceless fashion. I would be first to add my name to this list.

    Computer Nerd – could this be done? Could this be done in a safe way, so that no one could add the name of someone else without their knowing?

    Some commenters say they remain anonymous because they are scared, But what are they scared of? What could happen?

    Let’s all stand together and be counted, that’s what I say. Imagine how much more power that would add to Stuart’s cause.

    This is just a thought – someone may have a better idea, let’s hear it.

  26. Anonymous

    Christmas Speech

    If they try to stop you again Stuart, invoke the clameur de haro.

    “Haro! Haro! Haro! À l’aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort.”

    Following this, the Criant must recite the Lord’s Prayer in French.

    On hearing this, the alleged wrong-doer/s must cease their challenged activities until the matter is adjudicated in court…

    Yes, in a court of law Stuart…


  27. Anonymous

    One way of getting some answers from the BBC is to ask roger barra live on the phone in. If he was inundated with questions on the BBC’s appalling broadcasting and lack of it might wake up some people to the goings on.

    They didn’t report anything on a nintendo brother going to france on a monday to beat the living daylights out of children!

    from the pinball wizard.

  28. Anonymous

    The clameur can only be raised when someone is causing wrong in connection with your property rights

  29. Anonymous

    I know someone who has a FULL copy of the Howard League Report – I’ll try and get it on here! It’s been finished quite a while, I understand.


  30. Anonymous

    Or Stuart, you could give a speech in the royal square without seeking permision first. No doubt the power’s that be will call on the police to arrest you!

    You could invite the world wide media to attend so that they can report on your speech, and also when the police step in to arrest you. They could report on how the States of Jersey are against freadom of speach and civil liberties etc, etc!

    You know, perhaps the Chinese will fit into jersey very well and, will feel very much at home investing in this ever so curupt part of the United kingdom!

    Walker and the rest of the criminals in power should feel very proud of themselves. I wonder whether they will in the not to distant future? Only time, decency and justice will tell!

    Wtiting from excile

  31. Anonymous

    Senator Le Main has brought the reputation of the house to an even lower position,not only in the hearts and minds of decent people, but per chance the international media will really seize upon this ridiculous attempt to silence the father of the house,and we may just have one last thrust, one last push at getting justice for the men and women who have been wronged.

    I suggest Le Main and whoever has put him up to it read a copy of the ECHR in particular the article on freedom of speech and reflect upon it!

    As for the Christmas Speech – haven’t you states members got better ways to occupy your time that try to silence the one politician that can actually make people sit up and participate in discoure with regards to the sorry state of democracy in Jersey, because like him or loathe him Stuart provokes thought!

    What a pity Le main and friends dont have the same gusto with regards getting a register of sex offenders up and running…..shame on them

  32. sonofsilence

    I agree with one of your posters with regards people commenting on this blog as ‘anonymous’. what are we all scared of? Lets all wake up demand a fairer more open society which respects the less fortunate and deals with the crimes of the past, secrecy in general has allowed child abusers etc to remain undetected for decades. I for one will openly support Stuart Syvret in his attempt to expose these crimes perpetrated on our children.

  33. Anonymous

    No! What all these people see is a threat to their not to difficult to earn fat monthy cheques!

    Whilst the rest of us have to justify our existance and income. They by who they know and not,`what they know’ are afraid for the first time in centuries of being accountable and having to justify thier fat rip off salary cheques!

    Stuart is not just a threat to those who foul our corridors of power but also, to all thier hangers on’s. You know, thier wives, sister-in-laws, cousins, family friends etc, etc who have got thier jobs through foul and curupt means!

    When we eventualy oust this lot of corupt rabble. We must make sure that the purge does not stop there!

    We must, go through the whole system to make sure that the Jersey tax payer is not being ripped off by the usual free loaders that go hand in glove with a regime such the one that curently contaminates our island!

  34. Anonymous

    A senior police officer arrested the other day and not a word from the bbc in Jersey????

    Was there? Who was that then?

  35. Anonymous

    Totally unrelated to your present blog, but who in the myriad of States departments undertakes ‘Due Diligence’ on Harcourt Development and their directors………………..who has satisfied themselves that the source of funds has come from a ‘clean’ source. I trust they will actually be fronting up some cash?

  36. Anonymous

    Von Strudle Here.
    Senator Stuart Syvret.
    Can I ask you how do I but myself into the deputies elections,I have a lot of views on your side.
    I can’t believe how many people Who Don’t vote, I’ve talked to at lest ten people who don’t tonight.
    But thay hate the way it is going.
    if I can do something in St Clements, Little it may be I would like to know your veiws.
    Should i email you.

  37. Anonymous

    Quote: “The clameur can only be raised when someone is causing wrong in connection with your property rights”.

    Are you sure…

    Stuart, there is nothing like setting a precedent…

    For the greater good!


  38. Anonymous

    Senior copper???

    Not heard anything about that – but I do KNOW that Danny Wherry was arrested on allegations of child abuse -(for the 3rd time!)-on wednesday afternoon and answered “no comment” to all questions put to him….

    I think thats like “I’ll take the fifth” in all those US cop shows?.

  39. Linda Corby

    Hi Stuart

    I am sick to the back teeth of the media bias of this island, what is the point of having a comment section on anything in the JEP when they are in my opinion weeding through, and making it appear that either very few people are making comments or that the majority of people are in favour of the Establishment Party’s actions!

    With this in mind I have just posted a blog where people have got the freedom to make their comments openly.

    Well if I am going to be accused of doing things with blogs the I might as well do some, lol.

    The truth will out in the end, no matter what!

    Here is the blog link–;_ylt=AopOLq9Goy24IFVUILkKCq88FOJ3?cq=1

    just highlight it and copy paste it into your browser if you want to make a comment, this is for anyone who wants their real say, but please no swearing or anything that cannot be proved in a court of law or that could effect any ongoing case! You are responsible for your own comments. Thanks.

  40. Anonymous

    Posting our names on this site.
    Great idea but maybe….

    1-No promotion for a States employee.
    2-No chance of a career in the civil services for a non-states person.
    3-Increased levels of workplace bullying for those on the list.

    What do we have to be scared of..

    1- Loosing our jobs.
    2- Not getting planning permission.
    3- Not getting our children into the schools of choice.
    4- Any department that you are having hassle with e.g police / social services/ health / viscounts / eduction etc. giving you more hassle.

    The problem is that fear is so deeply en-grained here that many prefer to keep their heads down rather than rock the boat.

  41. Anonymous

    There are a lot of people reading this blog and comments, many more than just those contributing. But even if we just count the number of comments, this blog must surely be (one of) the most used forums for political discussion in Jersey.
    I would say this is because of the anyonimity provided.
    The example of physical and moral ugliness that we call Terry le Main has shown in the past that states members are not above taking revenge over criticism. Remember the time he published in the jep the financial details of a woman who had criticised housing policies?
    He was all for openess and disclosure then wasn’t he?

    We are ruled by petty, vindictive fat cats who have done everything they can in the past to ruin any and all critics. You may remember Stuart was something to do with the health service before speaking out. Bellwood too.

    Unfortunately for them these people have no leverage with the national media. The truth is out now and cannot be unlearned. It might take longer than we would like but these people will be shown for what they are in time and for all time.
    Don’t worry frank and co. you’ll be remembered all right but not for the reasons you wanted.

  42. Anonymous

    Stuart I know you teied to get on to talkback today and were unsuccessfull. What did you make of the panel and the presenter? ans could you let us know on here what you wanted to say?

    from the pinball wizard

  43. Senator Stuart Syvret


    I found your comment about former Planing Committee President, John Le Sueur very funny.

    “Honest John and his back-room jobs” – as Jersey’s de facto planning procedures were known back then.

    The thing which is remarkable is that everyone knew he was an utter crook – and out and out gangster – including those in authority.

    But no one would ever lift a finger against him.

    He was also a big-time Freemason, of course.

    I’m sure if he were still with us, his Brothers would have no difficulty getting planning permission to turn their Masonic Temple – which is crumbling around their rolled-up trouser legs – into a vastly profitable concrete carbuncle – with the old facade kept – for appearances sake, obviously.

    It must have been handy having a politician boss of planning who was also a Freemason.

    Hang on! We – still do. Freddie Cohen is well-known to be a Mason.

    Less well-known is that senior Planning officer Tony Gottard is also one of the Brethren.

    What do you reckon?

    8-story office-block for bankers plus car-parking?

    Nice new Masonic Temple built on protected land?

    It will be a fascinating study during the coming months.


  44. Anonymous

    Re anon. who wouldn’t mind standing up and being counted….
    Yes I agree good idea BUT if you want to know why some of us wouldn’t put our names down, well it’s not about being scared, it’s about the reality of life and work on this island. Sad but fact of life. Yes you can be sure as a civil servant it will be held against you that you have such an alternative viewpoint – when I was I was continually sickened by the way people who rightly should have moved ahead in positions because they were capable and the right choice, were rejected in their attempts for promotion because they did not have the right ‘attitude’. i.e. not thinking the civil service way of look the other way even if public money is going to waste. Standing up for anti establishment is the kiss of death. The other area where it is detrimental is if you are a private contractor or supplier relying on civil service purchase orders for your business. Again, credibility seen as dodgy and you can be sure departments like the bayleaf’s chambers might not be so cooperative with permits etc. When you have to earn a living it is not so easy to be cavalier.

  45. Senator Stuart Syvret

    “Senior Police Officer Arrested”

    I think whoever wrote that comment has got the wrong-end of the stick.

    The person arrested for the third time was FORMER police officer Danny Wherry.

    And as other commeters have said – he “took the 5th” on this occasion – simply saying “no comment” to each question he was asked.

    Having spoken to victims of Wherry – they know – I know – and the Police know – there is ample evidence to have this man charged and remanded right now.

    Guess were the “blockage” lays?

    Yep – Bill Bailhache and his agents.

    And not only him – but at least 2 other FORMER police officers who did stints of work at HDLG around the same time as Wherry – late 1970’s – early 1980’s.

    These officers would have been around 20 – 21 years old at the time – and were sexually abusing under-age teenage girls when at HDLG.

    Will we – I wonder – ever see charges in those cases?

    Incidentally – the names of these two former cops/perverts are known to us.

    There were possibly a load of others; not just cops, of course, but other abusers as well.


  46. Anonymous

    People must now realise things are only getting worse. Expect more problems coming up over the next four years. We are lied to daily now, it is common practise, whether at work or by those in charge. Iraq was a lie yet no one really cares. Soldiers die daily in Iraq and Afghanisten for what? A few people make vast sums from war but the majority don’t get anything, the few suffer greatly, especially those not killed outright in battle. Iran will be the next to be attacked by the West and Israel then we really will have problems. Will people wake up then to the lies? I doubt it, they just don’t want to believe that they are being lied to by their leaders. We are in for severe times ahead the money markets are just a taste of what is to come. With more global issues like climate change, food shortages and water shortages and global war I don’t think the future looks good. There are too many people on the planet and it is unsustainable get ready for the downsizing ahead…

  47. Anonymous

    Just to return to previous post, re. the Christmas speech.

    As the party members seem to be gearing up to prevent you from continuing the tradition (it’s sod their beloved Jersey way in this case isn’t it?).

    How about taking to the streets pre-emptively?
    By that I mean keep to the plan, of attempting to make your speech and if they stop you carry on in the royal square. But it looks as though our ruling party will try and stop it ever happening with red tape and procedural skullduggery. So why not give your speech, or sections of it 2 or 3 times before the main day, possibly every Saturday in December until Christmas or on late night shopping days. You could speak in the royal square or in Queen street.
    A sort of speakers corner type approach.
    You could also have copies of the entire speech (or just the main points) to hand out as flyers to the crowd and passers by.

    What do you think?

  48. Anonymous

    Please understand how difficult it is for people working within the civil service to voice their concerns.

    I myself a couple of years ago brought a sexual abuse concern to the relevant so called ‘child protection’ authorities. Initially I received a favourable response but within a week my phone calls and e mails were not returned. My line manager had a ‘quiet word’ with me saying that I wasnt helping myself by ‘not conforming’ with the powers that be.

    Although not formally told I wouldn’t be promoted, I am now still on the same grade that I was 8 years ago and senior people now oversee everything I do and say.

    These people are the scum of the earth and have no desire to protect anyone particulary children, all they want to do is line their own pockets and enjoy exotic holidays and their big cars and houses.

    I asked another question at the time, and that was about a particular senior person who was dealing with children (still working for The States) and had not even covered or attended any child protection training but was in a position to get rid of me with his bullying tactics as I was highlighting his lack of training.

    I am now bullied and harassed on a frequent basis (even after my line manager had the audacity to go through the States bullying and harassment policy with me!!) and have to put up with their snide remarks, knowing full well that I cant do anything.

    I desperately need my job and know that I was practically at management level before my child protection remarks. I have 2 children and need to keep this job to pay my mortgage, and as much as I know these people are wrong, my hands are tied and I could be looking for a new job at any time. They all stick together and even after all the allegations that have been made, these senior civil servants (and we all know who they are)are still enjoying their top paid jobs, how can this be right?

  49. voiceforchildren

    I do not think it is a good idea for people to blow their anonymity on here. The fact that almost everybody is anonymous out of fear of reprisals from our “powers that be” sends out a very clear message to those who read this Blog across the world, we are living in fear of our goverment.

    The eyes of the world are on our island right now, journalists (real journalists) will be collecting material for their stories, they won’t need to look far to see how much fear we are kept in.

    The powers that be know who I am and so do the media. That’s not to say I don’t live in fear of them, it just means I refuse to give in to the bullies.

    I have seen a saying floating around “for evil to triumph takes a few good men to do nothing” or something similar, so do your bit just by commenting on Blogsites and forums.

    As I have said on my own blog, I am just a run of the mill parent trying to protect his kids. I never thought for a minute I would have to protect them from the States of Jersey! nor did I ever think I would have to run the gauntlet of libel, defemation and harrassment laws just to protect my children over here but hey!! that’s “the Jersey way”

    I would recommend while you are speaking out against our goverment don’t let them find out who you are, it’s hard enough just having to try and protect your kids, let alone watch your own back on top of that!

  50. Anonymous

    My heart goes out to the civil servant who is being harassed and discriminated against at work for speaking out for vulnerable children. Many people in Jersey are fearful of the government for all sorts of reasons as listed above. Some of us remain anonymous because we are victims of or witnesses to child abuse and we have very long memories. To give our names whether in Jersey or elswhere could put us and our families in danger. Remember as you said on radio Stuart – “we are talking about dead children here” and there are some dangerous people out there who are desperate to cover their backs!

  51. Anonymous

    have your say JEP Posted November 2, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    All he requires is a chance to say what he was prevented from saying last year when the establishment pulled the plug on his microphone.

    Is freedom of speech not The Jersey Way? as that is how it looks to anyone with a brain.

  52. Anonymous

    Well well the rag has had to cave in to the response they’ve had to TelBoys attempt to stop your xmas speech, and have allowed lots of comments through, including mine which i predicted wouldn’t have a chance, but there’s a catch its not the letter i submitted, in fact its only about a third of what i said.
    Fortunately i cut and pasted on this blog what i did say (you will have to scroll back to see it) here’s what they allowed….
    SydPosted October 31, 2008 at 9:39 pm Senator Terry (GST 28) Le Main and his cronies in fear of Senator Syvret saying certain things in his xmas speech as Father of the house ?
    One thing’s for sure Stuart wont be telling any lies if he does say something that some people dont like.

    this is what they censored/edited out ………
    Why are they afraid? have they got something to hide?
    .He has said quite a lot about many people in public life here in Jersey that we plebs had no idea about, and we thank him for that. As yet i dont see any writs from any body daring to sue him, that in itself speaks volumes. Syd

  53. Mark Forskitt

    All the talk of Christimas time speeches and the anonymity of posters here puts me very much in mind of the Kings’ speech from Henry V.

    What’s he that wishes so?
    My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
    If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
    Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
    It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
    Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
    But if it be a sin to covet honour,
    I am the most offending soul alive.
    No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
    God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
    As one man more methinks would share from me
    For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
    Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
    That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
    Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
    And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
    We would not die in that man’s company
    That fears his fellowship to die with us.
    This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
    And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian.’
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
    And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.’
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he’ll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
    Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
    Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
    Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
    This day shall gentle his condition;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
    That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

  54. sonofsilence

    On reading the previous posts about my suggestion about everyone using their real names has not gone down well, I was unaware of the ‘fear’ real or imagined that alot of people feel is present in Jersey, I personally have never experienced these type of feelings.
    I can not quite understand how improvements/changes are ever going to take place if we all remain anonymous,surely everybody here is because of the concern for children’s welfare, who is going to persecute you for that?

  55. Anonymous

    How come the Sunday Times can do an indepth story on what happened in Jersey yet the local rag can’t report anything? I have to ask why? Many have said to me that vested interests are blocking any decent reporting over here.

  56. Anonymous

    “surely everybody here is because of the concern for children’s welfare, who is going to persecute you for that?”

    Have you read the original article?

  57. Anonymous


    I have a suggestion relating to your xmas speech, well more of a mission if your up for it.

    How about you pre-record a speech, Sneak into the council chamber (or dungeon as may be the case) before the meeting and wire your recorder up to the speaker system ….. and if they don’t let you speak, turn the recorder on and bobs your uncle.

    They may try and take the recorder off you and to avoid this happening you’ll have to leg it around the room for a bit …

    You’re the man Stuart I know you can do it.

  58. Anonymous

    Living in fear in Jersey…..

    I know someone who was petrified of having a routine operation carried out in Jersey hospital. The fear wasn’t the operation itself, but the potential that it may be performed incorrectly…. deliberately.

    Speaking out in Jersey IS a health hazard as it can and DOES CAUSE mental health problems.

  59. Anonymous

    All the talk of Christmas time speeches and the anonymity of posters here puts me very much in mind of the Kings’ speech from Henry V.

    If it was an open fight than we would post our names.
    But it is not.
    It is a fight with secret enemies who ‘mark your card’.
    ‘Unreliable’, ‘not one of us’, etc.
    A quiet word in the right ear and your life is blighted.

  60. Anonymous

    The following exract of an article which appeared in the JEP on 11 October.

    Grand Prix system was ‘abusive and illegal’

    By Elaine Byrne

    ‘LOCKING up children in solitary confinement in Greenfields children’s home was abusive and illegal, a damning report will reveal.

    A review by the Howard League for Penal Reform is due to be released next week and will criticise Jersey’s youth custody system, reveal new allegations about the controversial ‘Grand Prix’ system at the secure unit and say that Jersey has one of the highest custody rates for children in Europe.’

    Is it not about time that a question was asked in the states chamber about the whereabouts of this report?

  61. sonofsilence

    Concerning the ongoing matter of local people living in fear of retribution from government departments, employers and other authority figures etc maybe this could be brought out into the open,this is surely the very reason this child abuse has been allowed to go undetected for so long.

  62. Anonymous


    I have an idea, don’t know if it’s a good one or not.

    This blog is just an amazing read, so enlightening. Why can’t you publish it as a book? It hardly needs any editing at all! I would buy several copies, for sure, and I’m sure other people would do so as well. If this was in book form I would send Gordon Brown a copy of it, for a Christmas present!


  63. Anonymous

    “If people do not learn to speak up for themselves we are actually helping cover up things too. I would more than happily say a little piece on my brother’s behalf. I mean, after all what can they do? kidnap your children?!”

    YES! That is exactly what they HAVE been doing – via the secret family courts.

    There are a good many institutional child abuse survivors who have found themselves embroiled in these secret family court trials – the Times newspaper have been highlighting what has been going on in these secret trials – they are forcably adopting children, using the excuse that people who have been themselves abused are more likely to abuse their own children.

    I know all about these secret courts, as I have just won a seven year battle to keep my own son safe – it was a horrible nightmare and the worst of it was that it was all done in secret, and I did not realise that many other people have been through the same horrible nightmare.

    So yes – they CAN kidnap your children and that is exactly what they have been doing! So I can well understand why some people are choosing to keep very quiet.

    My son is now eleven years old, and so I feel that I can speak out as he is no longer a baby – it would be harder for the state to kidnap him now, particularly as I have damning evidence of what they have done to our family.

    I’m sorry if this sounds mad and paranoid, but it IS happening, it happened to our family, at great expense to the taxpayers, for seven years – I am not making this up! As I said, the Times are reporting on this issue. They may not have the big children’s “homes” any more, but the pedophiles are like vampires, they must get their hands on fresh children, and what a great way to do it – pretend to be in “child protection” and mug families out of their children using a system of secret courtroom trials and unaccountable “experts”!


  64. Anonymous

    The oligarcy use Le Main and his bully boy ilk to do their dirty work for them.
    Unlike many of them,he will not stand again and has nothing to lose.
    No doubt he will be thanked in other ways.

  65. Anonymous

    posted on the bbc have your say

    No have your say on the bbc itself I see!!! Where is the news coming from Jersey??? None people working for the beeb in jersey who are preventing these stories coming out. I wll be writing to Gordon Brown to complain because the bbc have never put my posting up when they were related to the Jersey child abuse scandal..

  66. Anonymous

    Local media

    The situation in Jersey is made worse by the fact that the Vile Rag has never recovered from the craven attitude it adopted when under the ownership of Citizen Walker.
    Some of the columnists, eg Helier
    Clement date from that period and others are mouth pieces for local interests eg Peter Body who really represents nothing but local business.
    Other columnists are happy to churn out whatever pap is required that does not upset the big advertisisng spenders like Broadlands, Mulberry etc that pretty much keep the Rag afloat.
    CITV has pretty much taken the Ozouf shilling and Radio Jersey is a strange place with phone ins dominated by extremely right wing voices.
    Channel 103 does not really do news but it has the strange Sunday Roast. Not a roast at all, more a lot of records and a mild ego massage with warming oil.
    Citizen Walker tried one round with a real world class journalist and retired bloodied and beaten.
    You can bet that none of them will be trying that one again in a hurry!

  67. voiceforchildren


    Just thought I’d remind you and your readers that Senator Terry (GST28) Le Main doesn’t want any Christmas cards this year.

    Don’t forget now will you?

  68. Anonymous

    I see Terry is trying to change who gives the Christmas speech. I wonder why this could be? It looks like the establishment are happy to change things when it suits them. If this is changed then there is no reason not to change the Bailiff’s role as well is there, unless there are vested interests to keep it as it is?

  69. Anonymous

    Ben Queree has nothing to say!

    A week in politics

    It seems that the hard working gremlins that keep the Vile Rag’s computer system on the go have finally revolted and eaten little Ben’s latest missive to the long suffering proles of this island.
    The header is there, the summary is there, but click and pouf no article!
    Anyway we can manage without him, local politics is hardly rocket science.
    The reasons a lot of people stand in St Helier is because of the rotten Jersey system.
    A lot of the country seats are ‘reserved’ by the local nobility for a favourite son or more rarely daughter. Winning requires assiduous cultivation of the local honorary plods and the church including pandering to their benighted ideas.
    Fine if you are somewhat to the right of Teresa Gorman, bitterly opposed to the concept of a casino, sex education, income support etc. It helps to view Gradgrind as a dangerous liberal when it comes to education policy.

    The other reason is because St Helier represents a third of the electorate and generates more political ‘heat’ than the rest of the island put together. Anyone with an ambition to make Senator is well advised to get a start here. Few country Deputies ever make the Senatorial benches while the St Helier forcing house tends to throw them up like burdocks!

  70. Anonymous

    Stuart, I read in the Post that it was so cold in Jersey the other day that a Senator was seen with his hands in his own pockets.

  71. Anonymous

    Stoofa, how many alter egos does this JTM have?
    What a loser1
    How dare he say anything about Stuart.

  72. voiceforchildren

    Well I suppose that’s one way of getting my Blog some publicity!!

    I’m sure whoever copied and pasted it on to here did it with the right intentention and I thank them for it.

    However I am trying to build up my Blogsites own readership which is only just over 4,000. If the entire entry is pasted on here then nobody has any reason to go to my Blogsite.

    Like I said I’m sure it was done for the right reason but a link to it would be preffered.

  73. Well Wisher

    VFC you are either very brave or very foolish.
    Not sure which.
    For christ’s sake be careful!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. Anonymous

    JTM doesn’t give up neither do we. We shall find out who this person is. Well done for spotting his new alias. See if you can find his other aliases on PJ.

  75. Anonymous

    Reading the replies from Senator Le Main to VFC’s questions, leads me to question the need for every politician standing for election to have passed an eleven plus examination.

    It astounds me to realise, that this senior politician seems unable to put a sentence together correctly.

    What an embarrassment he is.

  76. inchoate proschemata

    I think we should all send Mr Le Main a Christmas card with the following quote on it to remind him of a certain principle:

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire


  77. Anonymous

    Le Main’s grasp of the English language is truly appalling. He would fail a basic GCSE in the subject.

    However, it has lead me to another theory.

    Stuart often, somewhat unfairly, uses words which contain more than one syllable. This being the case, I can now understand what Le Main is so afraid of when Stuart makes a speech.

    Le Main is clearly thicker than a cow pat and won’t understand the big words.

  78. Anonymous

    We should start a Terry Le Main dictionary.
    Here are a few words to start with.
    And a big word Sycophantic.

  79. Anonymous

    Runners in the Deputies Cup

    Those of you lucky enough to live in the island or otherwise have access to CITV can look forward to a full list of the runners entering the lists for the Deputies elections.
    Over the next few weeks we can look forward to the following;
    Thrills as political dinosaurs stumble out of obscurity with political policies from the 1950’s. Laugh as they claim to be ‘their own man’ when the last three years have been spent as a Walker placeman.
    Jeer as they claim to be thinking about who to support for Chief Minister when we know that they are already signed up to the le Sueur / Ozouf project.
    Finally a big cheer for the green, liberal mammals, if they get elected it may mean the end of Jersey’s Jurassic politics.

  80. Anonymous

    More adjectives for the Terry Le Main dictionary:



  81. Anonymous

    CITV and the Deputies Cup

    I should have said that the runners will be announced on the Tuesday 4th Nov 10:30pm local news bulletin.
    The Albanian State Television News Bulletin style that is so much enjoyed by afficionados of CITV will be employed.

  82. Anonymous

    Nevermind Jason, Obama will sort out dodgy offshore tax havens, coming to a place near you from January….

  83. Anonymous

    Well well It looks as though the Rags at it again. I tried to post a comment on the Telboy trying to stop Stuarts xmas speech report. Pointing out to them that there was not one comment agreeing with Le Main, and that he should hang his head in shame, also letting them know that Telboy was now denying that he ever said he and others in the states were in fear of Stuart saying things.I said someone must be lieing then.
    My comment has been deleted from the awaiting moderation stage.
    It was queued at about the 30th place in the list.
    Guess what look and see a comment supporting Telboy at no 31. I bet you can tell from the style its written Stuart who the author is. Syd

  84. Anonymous

    Von Strudle Here.
    How can Terry (GST28)Le Main stop something that has been going on for 60+ years, Who does he thing he is. I for one want to here your speech & i bet there’s thousands of your people who do is well.
    I’ve said it before on VFC Blog site, just because you won’t be saying “What a Lovely year we had & all that SH*T”. But You will be saying some home truths, that they(I Mean Terry) want to stop.


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