Monday, 9 January 2012

JCLA Press Statement

PRESS STATEMENT


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)

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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