Sunday 3 February 2013

Curtis Warren----More questions without answers

In my last Blog I reported that three Written and three Oral questions relating to the Curtis Warren case had been lodged for last Tuesday’s Sitting and that I would comment on the answers.

As always it is imperative that Members draft questions which are precise and leave Ministers in no doubt as to what is being asked. This is even more important when lodging written questions because unlike Oral Questions there is no opportunity to ask supplementary questions. In the Written question below it is apparent that Deputy Mike Higgins was attempting to establish who the Crown Officers are accountable to, but as one can see the question did not achieve that goal.

"Will Her Majesty’s Attorney General explain to members the various checks and balances that apply to the Law Officers and the Law Officers Department and explain how and in what way the department is accountable to the States of Jersey Assembly?”

The AG’s written answer was;

It is unclear from the question precisely what is intended by “accountability” and “checks and balances”. The Attorney General and Solicitor General are appointed by the Crown and hold office during good behaviour. Although the Attorney General is the senior Law Officer they are independent of each other. The Law Officers have supervision of the Criminal and Civil Functions of the department through the Director of the Criminal Division and the Director of the Civil Division.

The Law Officers are sworn office holders and are bound by the terms of their oaths.

Many of the members of the Department are also lawyers who owe independent professional obligations. Other than the Law Officers, all members of the department are subject to the codes of conduct and other policies applying to all civil servants.

The Law Officers’ Department carries out a number of different functions and different considerations apply to the various functions.

Neither the Law Officers nor the department are accountable to the States Assembly for prosecution decisions or prosecutorial matters which are and must remain independent of political considerations and pressure.

Similarly, the Law Officers’ Department is not accountable to the States Assembly for operational matters as it must maintain its ability to give impartial and independent advice. Subject to such exceptions the Law Officers’ Department is accountable to the States Assembly through the Attorney General or Solicitor General who are members of the Assembly.

Financially the Law Officers’ Department is accountable to the Chief Minister’s Department and Treasury and thereby ultimately to the States Assembly for matters of financial management.

Some decisions of the Law Officers may be challenged before the courts. In the exercise of their functions, the Law Officers are public authorities under the Human Rights Jersey Law and must therefore act compatibly with the Convention rights of others, whenever such rights are engaged by the exercise of those functions.

Should the States Assembly fundamentally lose confidence in a Law Officer then the Assembly could adopt a motion of no confidence in that officer. Although the motion would not be legally binding, the Crown and the officer concerned would inevitably pay regard to the views expressed by the elected representatives of the Island.

Several readers have questioned the Crown Officers' accountability, the answer above makes it clear that the AG, SG, the law officers and their Department are not accountable to the States Assembly. However, financially the Law Officers’ Department is accountable to the Chief Minister’s Department and Treasury and thereby ultimately to the States Assembly.

It should be noted that the AG, the SG and the Bailiff are unelected Members of the States. The AG correctly states that he is not accountable to the States Assembly unless there is an over spend in his budget. but he does not say to whom he and other members of the Law Officers are accountable to. So don’t be surprised if Deputy Higgins submits a further question to ascertain where the accountability lies.

Unfortunately the Written answer given by Senator Le Marquand to Deputy Higgins' question also missed the target, he asked;

“Will the Minister explain the apparent contradiction between the Supreme Court’s criticism of the actions of the three police officers involved in the recent Curtis Warren bugging case and their exoneration by the Disciplinary Panel? Is the Minister satisfied that the public retains faith in our police force and the judiciary?

Senator Le Marquand’s answer is as follows;

“These are two different sets of proceedings with different burdens of proof and with different sets of evidence being presented. The public can be fully confident that the issues were properly investigated by an outside Police Force, that the recommendations of that force were acted upon and that a disciplinary hearing was conducted in accordance with the current law.

The public may also take some comfort from the fact that independently of this case, the States of Jersey Police leadership and I have commissioned a review of the current law in relation to police disciplinary matters and that I intend to make improvements in this area.

The results of recent Jersey Annual Social Surveys of public opinion have shown a high and increasing level of public confidence in the States of Jersey Police Force and I believe that the vast majority of the public of this Island have faith in our States of Jersey Police Force and particularly in its senior leadership.

In the context of this matter I do not understand the reference to the judiciary as this disciplinary matter was presided over by the Chief Constable of another British Police Force.”

As one can see Senator Le Marquand answered the first and most important part of the question in one sentence without actually giving an explanation of the condradiction. Had he done so Members would have realised that important evidence which had been previously (intentionally???) omitted was produced at the Disciplinary Hearing.

The second part of the question resulted in an excellent flag waving exercise but without substance. For whilst there may have been questionnaires circulated relating to public confidence in the States Police as a whole, I don’t think any questionnaire has been circulated specifically relating to confidence of its senior leadership. This is a matter I will cover in my comments to Deputy Tadier’s question below.

In the third part of the question I think Deputy Higgins was asking about the Island’s Judiciary but because he was not specific Senator Le Marquand was able to answer according to his own interpretation of the question.

Deputy Tadier received a better answer to his question below, but unless he actually sees the full accounts he is unable to question the figures given, his question was:

"Will the Minister give a breakdown of the total cost to his Department in respect of the disciplinary action against three of the officers involved with the importation of illegal drugs in 2007, as follows -

(a) The cost of the criminal investigation by Hampshire Police and their associated legal costs?

(b) The States’ police’s legal costs preceding the disciplinary Hearing?

(c) The cost of the disciplinary hearing including the legal advice for the Presiding Officer?

(d) The travel and accommodation cost for the various officers attending the disciplinary Hearing and advise from which budget the funding is coming from?


It is only possible to give precise figures for bills paid to date for matters other than normal police officers’ time and the figures below refer to this.

(a) It should be noted that the investigation into the actions of the three officers started as a general review of police actions. As issues arose, it became an investigation into potential criminal and / or disciplinary proceedings. The total cost of the whole process was £117,104.

(b) There was more than one disciplinary hearing, so I am not sure as to which hearing the Deputy is referring. This not withstanding , it is not possible to separate out the legal costs incurred preceding any disciplinary hearing from those incurred during a disciplinary hearing as, understandably, a great deal of work is done in the run up to a hearing as well as during. The total legal costs associated with the disciplinary hearings to date are £119,808. This figure includes the £10,000 that I agreed to contribute towards the legal costs to ensure equality of arms for both sides after it was brought to my attention by the independent Chief Officer conducting the disciplinary proceedings that the financial resources available to the Police Association may be exceeded.

(c) The cost of the disciplinary hearings including the legal advice for the Presiding Officer to date is £6,192.

(d) The cost of travel and accommodation for the officers attending the disciplinary hearings to date are £4,562.

The budget is part of expenditure on Police Operations and has been funded from the 2012 Police Budget.

It should be noted that the figures are those known to date and are likely to be considerably higher when the matter is finally concluded. In previous Blogs I had questioned the decision to instigate disciplinary proceedings and what analysis and risk assessment was conducted before embarking in what was going to be a very costly affair. The Judgement does not make pretty reading and those responsible for instigating the disciplinary proceedings are left with egg on face.

In his answer above Senator Le Maquand says “ The public may also take some comfort from the fact that independently of this case, the States of Jersey Police leadership and I have commissioned a review of the current law in relation to police disciplinary matters and that I intend to make improvements in this area.

It should be noted that the Chief Police Officer decided to request Hants Police to investigate the Warren arrest and was supported by Senator Le Marquand. Disciplinary matters are within the Deputy Chief Officer’s remit. This is the same Deputy Chief Officer who only a couple of years ago instigated disciplinary proceeding against 2 officers after the AG had stated that there was insufficient evidence to instigate criminal proceedings. The case was dismissed but it cost in the region of £400k. Therefore I don’t know how Senator Le Marquand believes “the vast majority of the public of this Island have faith in our States of Jersey Police Force and particularly in its senior leadership.

It would be interesting to know whether Senator Le Marquand has confidence in his Deputy Chief Officer who seems prone to slipping on banana skins.

In addition to the three Written Questions the three Oral Questions received responses pretty much in line with predictions in my previous Blog. What continues to disappoint is the failure of other States Members to express an interest in what is clearly a public interest matter and costing in excess of £3m. Perhaps a Scrutiny Panel might take up the matter.

Senator Le Marquand was asked when he was going to release the Judgement. As predicted he said it was confidential and when pressed why he was able to release the Power documents which were also supposed to be confidential, the Senator was able to come up with a totally implausible answer which was not challenged.

Audio Recordings of the Oral Questions can be found courtesy of The Jersey Way Blog.

It is common knowledge that confidential documents do find their way into the public domain, so expect Senator Le Marquand and the Attorney General to be asked further questions when the Judgement is eventually made public.


  1. Bob.

    "It is common knowledge that confidential documents do find their way into the public domain, so expect Senator Le Marquand and the Attorney General to be asked further questions when the Judgement is eventually made public."

    The judgement can be read HERE

    1. Well done, I am sure the Judgement will pose many more questions.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Rico,

      With your Blog and Voice's the public are being better informed.

  3. Dear Bob, bingo! so the Crown are not accountable to anybody! now this is the problem and will continue to be a problem, I shall investigate further and get back to you. Then I will read the Judgement. Thanks Bob! v good and informative blog, I must say!

  4. Dear Bob, first of all may I say, how impressed I am by the level of good solid information on your blog. I have just read the Judgement. Now this is a problem. The name Matthew Jowitt, Crown Officer is mentioned over 4 times. So we go back to Politician Higgin's question, as we know the Crown is not accountable to anyone, it is very clear in this judgement that here lies the problem. Matthew Jowitt must be brought to task of his actions, the police took his advice, right or wrongly, they took his advice. Bob, this is a point that simply will not go away until we get answers and a way forward to ensure that the Crown are accountable for their actions and if not, why not? who created the law? who can change the law to ensure this never, ever happens again, a waste of tax payers money. Matthew Jowitt should be made pay back the money he has wasted by such a 'gun ho' judgement! who is this Matthew Jowitt and who allowed him to go undetected!

  5. Bob, I have just read the judgement, I was not surprised! Matthew Jowitt's role is untenable. He should step down and face his very poor judgement. What other cases has he advised? this is very worrying. The Crown Officer is a duty that holds a high position, and as as now find not accountable to anyone. The police were left out to dry, i don't know why I feel so angry! I think it's because Matthew Jowitt has been in a job where he abused his authority and for this I ask that Matthew Jowitt do the right thing and stand down.


    1. This comment covers this and the above Comment timed at 1400 because they mainly concern the alleged advice given by Advocate Jowitt. When I published my first Blog on the Curtis Warren case I raised the issue of the police investigating their officers’ action but apparently there has not been any investigation into the role of the Crown Officers.

      Now that the Judgement is in the public domain it is even more imperative that an investigation is carried out. Particularly as the Hants Police are alleging that their investigation was hampered by the lack of co-operation by the authorities in Jersey. Did the Law Officers co-operate, surely an explanation is due.

    2. Bob, are we not mixing things here?

      The Hants police report allegations of lack of cooperation are worrying and need investigation.

      But I think there's someone here with particular interests against advocate Jowitt. His role on all of this is very clear and his advice was not alleged as he admitted giving it in front of the privy council. And the advice was actually correct, the evidence has been admitted, the police cleared of wrong doing. He also admitted that he shouldn't. Have given advice in the way he did. What's still to know about his role?

      Is someone here trying to use the comments in this blog with a hidden agenda?

      I'd like to know your view on this

    3. I agree that the Hants allegations need to be investigated.

      You are right to question the motives of those who have commented on Advocate Jowitt’s advice. However there appears to be an inconsistency in the way the police officers have been treated as opposed to the crown officers.

      Advocate Jowitt’s advice played a key role which led to the arrest. The point that some people are making is that if the officers were taken to task for acting on the Advocate’s advice so why has the Advocate not been taken to task?

      I had questioned the wisdom of instigating disciplinary proceedings, however as the result has exonerated the police officers, this puts even more pressure on those with responsibility for Advocate Jowitt to make a statement clarifying his role and his advice, although deemed to be unwise by the Privy Council, was correct.

      (Paragraph 48 in the Privy Council Judgement states, “Thirdly, to some extent the unwise advice of Crown Advocate Jowitt mitigated the gravity of the misconduct of the police. The officers must have felt encouraged and heartened by that advice.”)

    4. Thanks for your answer.

      I don't like what the police did and I don't like Jowitt's advice either. I think that only extraordinary circumstances could justify lying and committing illegal acts. As they had authorisation for a tracking device they should've relied on that.

      Having said that, I'm personally convinced that neither the police officers nor Jowitt should take the blame for this. Higher instances agreed to this but haven't yet come forward. If this wasn't the case the different instances that have looked into this would have arrived to different conclusions.

      It's the bigger fish that are hidding

    5. I have published 6 Blogs on the Curtis Warren case and if one reads the many comments that I have published it evident that the public are concerned about the matter. However having been both a police officer and politician for 49 years I have learnt to read between the lines and I think your comments are well founded.

      In previous Blogs I have stated that officers found themselves in a difficult position and had to act for the greater good, and I believe they did. By co-incidence this time 52 years ago I was attending my basic police training at Hendon, I can still recall some wise words of advice that were given during one particular lesson. The lecturer said “It may well be that during your career you may find yourself in a position where your action may cause the Law Lords to spend years on determining whether your action was valid." He then added; “always remember that if you consider your action to be in the best interest of the public you serve and you do so in good faith and own up to it, you should have nothing to fear.”

      The police officers and Advocate Jowitt were placed in a difficult position and I believe acted in the appropriate manner but have been badly let down by their supervisors. This will become even more evident in a future Blog I intend to publish.

  6. Absolutely spot on. It is very worrying to read that The Hants Police who were given a job to do, investigate the case where then not given the correct tools by the Jersey Authorities, why? another expensive report, but that Hants were not allowed to complete to their ability. Perhaps someone could ask that question....why? were Hants not able to complete their investigation. All this does is give non-closure (sounds familiar doesn't it? ) and by now I would expect the Privy Council and the Judgement document would have given us closure, but it has not!, alas all it has done is show a very damning report on the legal system in Jersey, Le Marquand has some serious questions to answer! this is part of his watch! He must come clean and sort out his doorstep, right now it has a lot of worms wriggling under it and quite frankly it stinks to high heaven! We now will need another investigation into the non-full investigation of the Hants report and what information was not given to the Privy Council, this is extremely serious and I were the Privy Council or Hants I would be demanding answers! as we will be! v good blog! keep up the good work! No wonder Le Marquand did not want this report published! he needs to seriously look at himself!

    1. Interesting about non-closure because one wonders how soon there will be a statement saying that a line has been drawn and “lessons learnt.” There is certainly a nasty smell in what is another can of worms and all too reminiscent of the Graham Power suspension,clearly lessons have not been learnt.

      What concerns me is whether we have sufficient States Members who will be prepared to search for the truth and be prepared to be marginalised until the truth is exposed. It would not surprise me if the Hants Report did not come to light in the future, that too will be a good read.

  7. As others have said, the judgement paints an ugly picture indeed. However, I suspect that Le Marquand and others will now start crying foul and perhaps even launch yet another investigation into who leaked this judgement. Blame the bloggers!

    Whatever the rights and wrongs might be in relation to publishing a confidential document, the fact remains that the CC of Durham concluded that the officers should be praised rather than condemned. He also carefully cast very serious doubt on the integrity of various powerful people in Jersey.

    I share your concern that there will be an insufficient number of States Members with the courage and ability to ensure that this issue is not allowed to vanish into the ether. Personally, whatever doubts I might have had lurking in my brain about the motives of the Jersey Government and the Law Officers have now been thoroughly dismissed!

    1. No doubt if Senator Le Marquand was asked whether the officers will be commended, he would say it was an operational matter.

      The Chief Constable made a number of derogatory remarks about certain people which need to be addressed, hopefully explanations will be sought at the States Sitting on 19th February.

  8. Would a freedom of information request to the Hants police provide the report?

    1. One can always apply, but I know from my attempts to obtain the final Metropolitan Police Report following the Graham Power suspension I ran into almighty red tape. The Met said it was Jersey's property and then Jersey said it was the Met's, I was a States Member at the and spent considerable time attempting to obtain it but got no where.

      When I did eventually receive a leaked copy it was evident that it was very much in support of the action taken by Lenny Harper whilst under the leadership of Graham Power. So one can see why so many obstacles were in place to prevent the Report being in the public domain.

      It is pretty certain that the Hants Report will not make pretty reading, but I happy to be proved wrong if some one would like to release a copy.

  9. Dear Bob, I would like to second that! I would like to read the Hants Report also. Keep up the good work Bob, if anyone deserves a medal you do!

  10. Well I must say CTV have put a very good interview together tonight, The Police Dept nor the Crown were available for comment. Now is the time for the truth!

    1. I agree, but not sure about its claim to have an exclusive, it may be as far as the so called accredited media is concerned, but appears that the Blogs lead and others follow.

      I wonder why no one from the Police and the Crown were available for comment?

  11. Dear Bob, well they should be if they have nothing to hide! now is there time to come out with the truth. Personally Jowitt should step down asap and so should Le Marquand!

    1. Please see my comments above re Advocate Jowitt timed at 12.43 5th February,

  12. Jess Dunsdon and Mark MQuillain from CTV were with there boss Karen Rankin sat with Mike Bowren at the police awards at the Raddisson

    1. I was not at the function so it is difficult to comment other than to say that it was Police Awards evening where understandably the police were seeking publicity for the recipients so one should not be surprised if the media were present.

      You have said that members from Channel TV were on what was possibly the “Top Table” but have not said who else was present but I would have expected representatives from the other media to have been there.

  13. The new Chief, Bowron was the one who drove the Hampshire investigation and who is alleged to be the complainant against the officers who were cleared. It begs questions around how it moved from a review very quickly to a criminal investigation, the Jersey Police must have had some say in this. Barry Taylor is in charge of discipline and complaints so Hampshire must have been reporting to him. How can this debacle have come to be with so many experienced officers at the helm. The presiding officers findings based on evidence that must have been there for the Jersey Police to see all along, make it look like the original and subsequent decision making was based on something other than a cold hard look at facts. It appears either someones private agenda, knee jerk reactions or even a deliberate attempt to sell what seem to be three very professional officers down the river. Why has the senior management of the Jersey Police driven this course of action with such disregard for facts they must have known.


    1. In my previous Blogs some of which were published in October I questioned the wisdom of instigating disciplinary proceedings and was of the view that people could end up with egg on face. That now seems to be the case.

      Given that this is the second time within a couple of years that very costly discipline cases have been dismissed I hope that the Police Chief and Senator Le Marquand will be sitting down and discussing what went wrong, who was responsible and what are they going to do about it. The buck stops with them.

    2. Word on the street is there are a lot of disgruntled staff in the Police who rather than being supportive of the senior management, as claimed by Mr Le Marquand's survey results, are actually unsupportive and worried about the Chief and Deputy being out of control. This bad press for the Police will unfortunately tarnish the excellent work the front line staff do. Its not lost on me that all the bad press the Police end up suffering is ultimately down to, or driven by the EXPERTS Jersey imports to sort out the mess left by their predecessor's. It seems a vicious circle at the most senior levels in the Police. Why don't we trust our own local officers. They can't make more of a mess than the recent incumbents


    3. Concerns have long been expressed across the board concerning appointing “outsiders” to senior positions and the States Police is no exception.

      I can understand the troops being concerned about disciplinary action being taken against front line officers who are undertaking difficult tasks, this does very little for morale or the police image.

      However it would be unfair to blame former Chief Officers for the latest embarrassment because it rests with the current leadership.

      The issue of promoting locals to senior police posts is certainly nothing new but the problem is aggravated by the lack of opportunity to gain experience within the Island to head a modern police force. I am sure that there a number of local officers who could well aspire to senior positions but it is for them to decide how best they can acquire the necessary experience.

    4. The chief is up to the old school net work allegedly he's bringing in a mate from the city to replace superintendent Bonjour there's no chance for any one local bet he tries old chestnut only here on a years contract look at the one he brought over for six months still here over a year later jobs for the boys

    5. I can understand the situation and it must be demoralising. Unfortunately the police are not the only ones to use the one year contract ploy and it's something that needs to be addressed.

      If the rumour is valid perhaps the police officers, through their Association could contact their States Members with the view to discussing the matter with the Home Affairs and/or Chief Minister.

  14. Bob.

    The plot continues to thicken after this latest "exclusive" from Former Jersey Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, tells us THE EVIDENCE DID NOT COME FROM ME"

  15. Hi Bob.

    Hear is Mr Graham Power being interviewed on BBC Jersey Radio about the Bugging of Curtis Warren's Car, you & your readers can Listen HERE


  16. Thank you,
    I heard the interview live and is worth lisening to.

  17. Reading your various postings and also your discussion on the Tom Gruchy blog it puzzles me that the Jersey Police just did not tap Warren or one of the gang on the shoulder and say we know what you are doing. Why did they let the supposed scheme grow?
    After all the first duty of police officers is supposed to be to prevent crime - or was the urge to capture such a big fish just too much to resist and no matter how much it cost. Police careers before public interest?

    1. You make a very interesting comment. It could be that they wanted to take a big fish out of the pond but also caught a few minnows in the net. It certainly has been a very costly exercise with even more cost to come.

      Justice does not come cheap.

  18. More likely is that the whole plan was cooked up by the police of several countries in order to lock Warren up again and to grab his hidden loot. Why he fell for it is a mystery but it could all yet come unstuck at Strasbourg. There will be some more senior job vacancies if it does.

  19. Yes it could come unstuck in Strasbourg, but it will take some time to get there.

  20. Succession Planning in the Jersey Police has been a standby subject - for scrutiny panels that have nothing better to do - for years.
    To relieve the boredom they have considered how the States CEO succession might be handled too.
    Unfortunately the results of all their efforts have been such as Gradwell, Ogley and Richardson - so in future the tried and tested method of using the Parish tombola drum will be relied upon.
    It is rumoured that Bowran was chosen by this method.

  21. The lack of Succession Planning is an expression which is used by Ministers as justification for appointing some one from out side the Island. They then do nothing to remedy the problem.

    All too often those who do the appointing are beguiled by the applicant’s CV and/or references but fail to check them out. We then find that the new boss may be able to cope in a proper structured organisation but is completely out of their depth when they get here because they were never aware and unable to cope with “The Jersey Way” of doing things.

    Until the Island really takes Succession Planning seriously we shall continue appointing square pegs for round holes.