Further to the Home Affairs Ministers statement on the Historic Abuse Police Enquiry and the role of the accredited media, the JCLA would like to offer the following response.
Whilst it is some small comfort, to at last have Senator Le Marquand’s recognition of the fact that matters were grossly exaggerated many times by the press, it could also be said to be too little, too late, as indeed Mr Harper has stated.
Had the BDO Alto Review not been held, it is doubtful that this statement would have ever been made. We must also, not lose sight of the fact that this review was held due to the hard work of a local blogger and the determination of the Scrutiny Panel headed by Deputy Trevor Pitman.
Notwithstanding the above, the reputations of two honourable police officers, and abuse survivors have also been brought into question, and the three conclusions mentioned by Senator Le Marquand from the Wiltshire Reports clearly show that the media frenzy that surrounded this whole sorry affair was very misjudged.
Indeed, Senator Le Marquand himself allowed this misinformation to be published, and indeed at times fanned the fire by his defensive answers to questions in the States Chamber. It was not helped at all by calling Mr Harper ‘an incompetent maverick’, amongst other derogatory statements which are well documented.
Part of an editorial comment in the JEP dated Monday 24th August 2009 says: ‘In addition, on the strength of what was clearly a flawed investigation from its very outset and the hype which surrounded it, the Island has paid a terrible price through the enormous cost of misdirected police work and, more importantly, in terms of its reputation’. Quite clearly Wiltshire did not think this the case.
There will always be a case of ‘we beg to differ’ over the question of the child’s skull/coconut, but it cannot be dismissed that 65 children’s teeth were found under the floorboards, fresh, fleshed and burnt bones were found, the matter of the lime pits and many other questions left unanswered. There are the abused whose cases were never brought before the Courts despite ample evidence, who will never feel that the Police investigations were full and properly concluded, and questions relating to the behaviour of Mr Gradwell.
Only when a full, transparent and thorough Committee of Inquiry is approved and finalised will it be possible to say that there is a conclusion to this affair. (END)