Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Curtis Warren, the Jury Nobbler and the Phantom Cop
Voice for Children Blog raises serious concerns about missing letters, money set aside for the potential expert and it seems inexplicable that senior officers aided by an Advocate would submit unsigned statements to a Tribunal. Surely an explanation must be forthcoming.
What also requires an explanation is the Hampshire Police’s claim about the lack of co-operation which can be found in paragraph 8 of the Judgement which states: “Be that as it may, and having now been informed that the letter was never sent, the position in relation to the co-operation by the Attorney General and the States Police in Jersey remains the same. I do find it odd that having asked the Hampshire Police to investigate the matters surrounding the Curtis Warren police operation, the authorities in Jersey did not co-operate fully in the way that I would have expected given that it was they that asked for the enquiry to be carried out. Mr Cessford made this very clear and I have no reason to doubt it and that caused me some considerable surprise. I maintain that this lack of co-operation or, perhaps more accurately, lack of complete co-operation, can only have compromised the Hampshire enquiry and limited the full facts available to me to make a decision in this case. I stress again that this is just one of the unsatisfactory elements of this case which have either been decided upon or affected the Crown about which more later.”
I agree with Mr Barton that it was odd to ask Hants Police to investigate matters and not co-operate, it is also an affront to the Jersey taxpayers who paid Hants Police in excess of £117k to conduct what now appears to have been an ill conceived investigation.
What was the lack of co-operation which compromised the Hants enquiry? No doubt rumour and speculation will ensue until both the Attorney General and the Police come forward with the facts and an explanation; however I am afraid that the odds of that occurring at present are as great as Arsenal winning the Premiership this season.
One issue which must have frustrated Hants Police and should be investigated is the allegation that someone attempted to “nobble” the Jury. During the course of the Royal Court trial in September/October 2009 it is alleged that a Jury member now known as Juror 125 was approached by some person claiming to be a police officer and it is alleged that the police officer said “you know they are guilty” or something similar.
In summary, the Jury member was discharged with the trial continuing with 11 members. I don’t know what investigation was undertaken by the States Police but it is evident that Hants Police tried to do so in the summer of 2011 but its request for the Juror’s name was rejected by the Crown Officers. Why?
What is also strange is when a potential witness came forward that summer he was advised not to reveal the name of the jury member in his statement which was submitted to the Court of Appeal. After Warren and Co had been found guilty in the Royal Court in October 2009 they later appealed to the Privy Council which heard the case in February 2011 and upheld the Royal Court’s verdict.
At the end of September 2011 Warren having obtained a statement from a potential witness requested the Court of Appeal to make an order requiring the AG to disclose the name of the juror in their trial so that a statement could be taken from him to assist the Hants Police into alleged police misconduct in connection with their trial.
It is evident that the Court of Appeal was unable to assist on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction to deal with the appeal.
The Court of Appeal Judgement dated 29th September 2011 makes interesting reading because apart from the possible witness being told not to disclose the name of the Juror it is also apparent that he has not been interviewed by the States of Jersey Police, why?
The nobbler could have been a police officer, but he could have been a stooge for the Defence, however the upshot was that the Juror was discharged from the Jury and steps to identify the nobbler have been thwarted.
I hold no brief for Warren and Co, the Police or the Crown Officers but I do support the principle of a fair hearing and every one being equal in the eyes of the law. The case is not just about Warren who is a career criminal but includes a naive/foolish 20 year old man with no previous convictions. He received a five year prison sentence for a crime which was estimated to be in the region of £1m. Only recently a local magistrate received 15month’s imprisonment for defrauding elderly people out of £1m., where is the equality?
There are a number of unanswered matters which have already been published but there are others such as what happened to the person Warren and Co were purchasing the cannabis from, where is the cannabis, why was the Juror’s name withheld and why did the Jersey Police and Crown Officers fail to co-operate with the Hants Police?
These are among the increasing number of questions which need answers but who will ask them and even if asked, will the full answers be given?
It is alleged that the Police Chief Officer does not wish to respond to the concerns raised in the Disciplinary Judgement on the grounds that it is an internal matter. He is entitled to that view which perhaps was acceptable in other jurisdictions where he has served. However it is no longer just an internal matter but is very much of public interest. It is his Force which is under scrutiny and whose reputation is being challenged. It is evident that something has gone wrong and the public’s confidence in his leadership is being questioned. For his own sake and that of the States Police he should respond.
It is also evident that a jury member was “nobbled” because he was discharged. It will never be really known what affect if any, the “nobbling” had on the Jury, but surely in the interest of justice efforts should be made to assist the Hants Police to trace the "nobbler." As a result of a recent question in the States we know that over £2m of taxpayer’s money has already been spent on the legal costs, no doubt some of which will have been spent withholding the identity of the Juror.
The application on 29th September 2011 is not the only occasion that attempts have been made to obtain the Juror’s details in what is becoming a tug of war between Curtis Warren and the Crown Officer’s Department, but why is it withholding the Juror’s name, what has it to hide, who is it protecting and is the withholding justified or just an abuse of power?