Thursday, 5 January 2012

Minister's statement on historic child abuse

Jersey's Home Affairs Minister says he is satisfied that the police enquiry into historic cases of child abuse was fully and properly concluded. Senator Ian Le Marquand also says some reporting of the issue was exaggerated.

He has this morning made the following statement to States members:

"During the Review that was recently conducted in relation to the BDO Alto report into financial management of the part of the Historical Child Abuse Enquiry which related to Haut De La Garenne, I was reminded of the exaggerated nature of some of the reporting in this area and agreed, in fairness to Mr Power and Mr Harper, to make a press statement to seek to correct the worst exaggerations.

"These exaggerations included allegations that most of the cost of the Historical Child Abuse Enquiry was wasted and that digging should never have started at Haut De La Garenne. Some of the reported criticism of the Historical Child Abuse Enquiry has wrongly led some people to the conclusion that, in some way, the whole enquiry had been discredited.

"The definitive reports in this area are the two reports of the Wiltshire Police. Those reports conclude amongst other things:

1) That the Historical Child Abuse Enquiry was appropriately managed in its early stages.
2) That issues of serious concern did arise in relation to the financial management and other aspects of the investigation in relation to Haut De La Garenne.
3) That the decision to start digging at Haut De La Garenne was not so clearly wrong as to give rise to a disciplinary issue.

"In my press conference in July 2010, I indicated my view that, once a piece of material had been wrongly identified by an anthropologist as being part of a child's skull, it was reasonable that the digging at and around Haut De La Garenne should continue, but that once the forensic experts indicated that the item was not human skull, the reason for continued digging ceased.

"I also now wish to affirm and confirm that the Historical Child Abuse Enquiry was much wider than the Haut De La Garenne investigation, and that this enquiry led to a significant number of successful prosecutions as well as to the discovery of significant other allegations of physical and sexual abuse which did not, for a variety of reasons, lead to successful prosecutions.

"The Enquiry continued until 2010 and I am satisfied that the Police investigations were fully and properly concluded in relation to the various allegations of abuse which were made".

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