At the States Sitting on
Tuesday 19th November
2013 Deputy Mike
Higgins lodged two written questions for Senator Le Marquand the Minister for Home Affairs in anticipation of receiving answers relating to HG's arrest,
detention and removal from Jersey in October 2010.
As Written Questions cannot contain more than 200 words it was necessary for the questions to be in two halves, both of which can be found below as Part 1 and 2. The Minister had a week to carry out research so States Members and the public should have received accurate answers. Alas this was not the case.
As a matter of interest I sent my last Blog to Senator Le Marquand and said I had quite a file and would be pleased to clarify any discrepancies. Unfortunately my offer was rejected. Had we met his answers below would not only have been different but nearer to the truth.
As in my previous Blog my comments will be in red
Further to answers given on
5th November 2013, will the Minister inform Members?
1. When and what time the States Police received an allegation of harassment which led to the arrest of a woman known as HG?
Answer. The States of Jersey Police received the allegation of harassment at 0934 hours on 26 September 2010. Not so. On
between 545 pm and 821 pm HG phoned and emailed the Dean’s wife and the Bishop and
it is alleged that at 645 pm she was rude and told the Dean’s wife that she
would see the Bishop and Dean in Church the following morning. It is apparent that the Bishop, the Dean and his wife did not contact police until the Sunday morning. If they were so
concerned for their safety why did they not contact the police on the Saturday
When I saw Dame Heather Steel she informed me that the matter was not reported to the police until the Sunday morning, she could not remember the time but promised to send it to me. She has since told me to obtain the time from my own contacts. The arresting officers arrived at HG’s home address at 934am and arrested her on suspicion of harassment. So they must have been informed some time earlier and the action taken was certainly in a panic.
2. Whether a female officer was present when HG was arrested at her flat and, if not why?
Answer. No female was present during arrest. There is no requirement for a female officer to be present when a female is arrested; only for search purposes.
The officers were arresting a lady whom it was alleged was harassing people and had to be immediately arrested and who was later charged and refused bail on safety grounds. Most police officers for their and the prisoner’s own safety will give the prisoner a quick frisk to ensure that they are not armed with any instrument to cause harm. It would have been good practice for a female officer to be present. It is also possible that had a female officer been present HG would have been able to confide in her and ensure that she was able to change into day clothing.
3. Was HG given time to change from her night attire and into appropriate day clothes and, if not, why not?
Answer, both arresting officers and the custody officer have been spoken to and cannot recollect what she was wearing. There is no custody photo from the date of arrest. CCTV in custody is kept only for 90 days. The States of Jersey Police say that it is inconceivable that either they or the Court would have allowed her to appear in Court on
27 September 2010, for the remand hearing wearing night
attire. When she arrived at the Prison on 27
September she was wearing a navy blue sweat shirt, a navy blue polo shirt, blue tracksuit bottoms and training shoes. Furthermore, the custody photo taken when HG returned from Court awaiting her departure from
Jersey on 11 October 2010, shows that she was wearing appropriate
clothing including a blue sweat shirt and blue polo shirt.
The question was short and to the point the Minister was asked if HG was given time to change and if not, why not? If the officers cannot recollect what HG was wearing then the answer must be no and she was not allowed time to put on day attire.
The Minister also claims that there is no custody photo from the date of arrest. When people are arrested and charged most police forces take a photograph and fingerprints. This does not appear to be case or is it another mistake?
In my previous Blog, the Minister in answer to a similar question from Mike Higgins said that the claim “is, frankly, totally ludicrous and totally inaccurate.” If the Officers cannot remember what HG was wearing how can the police and the Minister claim that it was inconceivable that she went to court or prison wearing night attire?
4. Was HG placed in a police car whilst her flat was searched and, if so, why?
Answer yes; she was placed in a police car, guarded by a Police Officer, whilst another Police Officer searched for evidence relating to the alleged offence.
The Minister has again failed to answer as to why she was placed in the police car when her flat was being search. HG‘s flat should have been searched in her presence to prevent allegations of police “planting” evidence or putting themselves in a position where they could be accused of stealing property. As a former Magistrate the Minister should be mindful of good police practice so why did he avoid answering the second part of the question? By placing HG in the car with one male officer also opened the officer to allegations of indecent assault. Not that HG would be the type of person to make a dishonest allegation.
5. Was HG charged 11 hours after her arrest and, if so, what was the reason for the delay?
5. No. HG was in police custody for 9 hours and 25 minutes prior to charge. She arrived at the police station at 1022 hours and was charged at 1947 hours. Delays were due to the need for a mental health assessment by a doctor (Force Medical Examiner) in consultation with a consultant psychiatrist and the need to obtain an appropriate adult to support her at
The official documents record that HG was arrested at O934 and charged at 2032 which is 10 hours 58 minutes after arrest. Whether it is nine or eleven hours the time taken is unacceptable. One relevant omission is that statements were not taken from the Dean, his wife and the Bishop until between 4 and . That is over 8 hours after the arrest and would have required a senior officer’s approval to permit HG’s continued detention. Why were statements not taken before the arrest? It implies an arrest first and obtaining the evidence after mentality. It is also evident that HG was not treated in a fair and impartial manner. Also if there was a need to require the presence of a doctor and a consultant psychiatrist and an appropriate adult, that assistance should have been called for on her arrival and it would not have taken over 9 hours for them to attend.
6. Why, given that HG was of good character, employed and had a fixed abode, was bail denied after she was charged?
Answer. Decisions as to whether or not a person should be retained in custody prior to presentation before a court and as to whether bail should be opposed in Court are made by prosecutors and not by the Police. The Minister has avoided answering the question. Again the question is simple, why was HG not bailed after being charged? The Minister attempts to confuse Members by mentioning the bail arrangements at the court. There were no valid reasons for refusing bail, given HG’s good character she was entitled to be bailed after being charged at the police station where the decision to bail falls squarely on the police. She was arrested early on the Sunday apparently because the Dean and Bishop thought she was attending their Confirmation Service at St Mary’s Church later that morning. They appear to have conducted the Service first and that is why they did not make their statements until well after the Service and the possible threat was over. The reason given by the Clergy men for pressing charges was because they believed the best way of helping HG was to arrest and place her in the hands of the police and courts. This view can also be found in the Korris report.
Bail was opposed in Court on
27 September 2010 by a Centenier upon the basis of the risk
of re-offending and upon the basis of the protection of HG herself. The Centenier was different from the one
that charged HG how did he come to that conclusion, where was the evidence?
When considering bail the Magistrate said, “With a case such as this
conditional bail would be quite normal, which would mean that you would be
released from custody and be subject to a condition not to contact people, who
ever they might be. I am not sure this is… this is not an ordinary run of the
mill case (why, was HG not equal in the eyes of God and the Law?) and before
I grant bail I need to be satisfied that you still have accommodation available
to you and I would also like to know that you still have employment because
obviously you would have been at work today.” Why was it necessary to carry out
further checks? The Duty Advocate had made a strong case for bail pointing out
that HG had been arrested from her home and was in work and would also abide
with what ever conditions the court would impose. She also said that to hold HG
in custody would be detrimental to her health. Her pleas were ignored. To deny
HG bail and detain HG in prison for two weeks was inhuman, a disgrace and
totally disproportionate to the alleged offence which was unlikely to attract a
custodial sentence. The
Magistrate indicated that the reasons for the refusal of bail were the risk of
further offending and also for HG’s own protection and he was influenced by
information that HG’s landlady did not want her to reside at her former
accommodation. I have spoken to
the land lady who has confirmed that she would have been happy for HG to
continue her tenancy had the police not with held the reasons for arrest.
Part 2 of the Written Questions is as follows;
Would the Minister advise whether the woman known as HG within the Korris report appeared at the
Magistrates Court on Monday 11th October 2010, in the night attire she was wearing when arrested at
her flat two weeks earlier despite having been held in custody in La Moye
Further to the response given on
5th November 2013, that HG was dressed in appropriate clothing when
being deposited at for onward journey to the Jersey Airport , will the Minister inform members what the
appropriate clothing was? UK
Will the Minister inform Members whether any provision was made for HG to collect her personal effects and clothing from her home before being put on the aircraft?
Will the Minister inform Members whether, when agreeing to HG’s request to call at her flat to collect some clothing and personal effects, the officers did not allow her out of the police car to collect them herself and, if so, why?
As I advised Deputy Higgins in my response to his oral question on
5 November 2013, I can confirm, again, that the woman known as HG was not wearing
night attire when she appeared in Court on 11 October 2010. I have personally seen a custody
photograph taken of her on that day after court and she can clearly be seen to
be wearing a navy blue sweat shirt and a navy blue polo shirt. For the avoidance of doubt why didn't the
Minister produce the photograph, is it because the only photograph available is
the usual head and shoulders. That appears to be the case because there is no
mention of what HG was wearing below her waist. Further, I am advised by the Prison Governor that on HG’s
arrival at the Prison on 27 September 2010 she was wearing a blue polo shirt,
blue sweat shirt, blue tracksuit bottoms and training shoes. These clothes were
removed from her on arrival for laundering and placed in her personal property.
She was given prison clothes to wear whilst in prison. On exit to attend court,
on 11 October 2010 the Prison records confirm that her own clothes were
returned to her. Whilst the Prison do not record the fact that she was actually
wearing these clothes on departure from the Prison, the custom and practice is
for prisoners to change into their own clothes, in the reception area, prior to
departure for Court. HG did not have any night clothes in her property and
prison staff would not have permitted her to leave the prison in night attire
in any case. HG is clear as to
what she was wearing and given that she was arrested at 934 on a Sunday
morning it is likely that she was wearing night attire. There is no record of
her being given other clothing whilst in prison so it stands to reason that she
was put on the aircraft in the clothes she was wearing two week previously.
I am unable to say precisely what HG was wearing upon leaving
Jersey, although it is reasonable to assume that
this included the navy blue sweat shirt, navy blue polo shirt, blue tracksuit
bottoms and training shoes.
At HG’s request, post sentence, and en route for the airport, the escorting officers called at a St Brelade address in order to collect some of HG’s personal property, including clothing. HG remained in the car whilst the property was collected for the purposes of police security and in accord with the Court decision that she stay in custody until she left the
Island.It should not have been at HG's request as mentioned in the States on Tuesday the proper procedure is for the officers to have allowed HG to collect sufficient clothing and personal effects. As it was she remained in the police car with her land lady whilst the police rummaged through her clothing and personal effects
The issue as to what HG was wearing is really a minor issue when compared with her arrest, the time taken to charge her, refusal of police bail and then being held in custody for two weeks. However even if those events are bad the manner in which the court via her Advocate and Magistrate came to remove HG from Jersey and leave her destitute is the real issue and should have been reviewed in line with the Korris recommendation.
Clearly HG was posing problems by sending any number of emails to the Dean,
staff and the Bishop when seeking redress for the manner they had handled her complaint. The Bishop's statement records that he thought that by levelling complaints to the police HG may be further helped with her needs. Unfortunately he did not explain what he had in mind and did not attend at either of HG's two court appearances? Winchester
Why were the Clergy not in court to explain what the problem was and that their reason for pressing charges was to help HG. From the supporting papers it is apparent that pressure was put on HG whilst in La Moye Prison to agree to leave the
Island but she was opposed to that idea. Yet a
few days later she is apparently agreeing to plead guilty and be bound over to
leave the Island. Why and why 3 years and why was no
provision made to help HG on her arrival? The Clergy men's reasons for pressing charges was to help HG but what were they doing about it?
HG’s deportation has all the hallmarks of a done deal where she says she was given the choice of leaving the
Island or returning to prison. The Charge involving the Bishop was dropped, some may say it was to pave the way to get HG out of the Island. Why was she Bound
Over to be left destitute in the when she could have been bound over to be
of good behaviour in UK Jersey where she had friends, a home and a job? On reading the court transcripts it appears that the Defence Advocate and Magistrate had more concern for the alleged victims than for HG.
We shall never know the answers because both Winchester and Jersey have refused to properly investigate the matter. Clearly if a proper investigation was undertaken they would be embarrassed by the findings. However the matter leaves a nasty taste in one’s mouth and the matter will rumble on. The Clergy men's actions was very much akin to that of Pontius Pilate and were washing their hands of HG who was left a broken and destitute woman in the
. Hardly the act of Christians let alone high ranking Clergy men. UK