Thursday 19 December 2013

Jersey's Dean---Unofficial Report on the Bishops' Jersey Visit.

It was reported that the Rt Rev Tim Dakin had sought the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury to initiate a pastoral visit to the Channel Islands so that a fresh perspective could be taken on safeguarding. The visit was to be undertaken by the Rt Rev Nigel Stock Bishop of Lambeth and the Rt Rev Trevor Willmott Bishop of Dover who were to visit Jersey and Guernsey.

It was also reported that the Bishops were to meet with local church leaders and Island Authorities from both Deaneries in order to help understand how the current situation might be progressed. No details were forthcoming as to who the local church leaders were but the visit would enable further conversations to be held which he was sure would benefit the Islands and the wider diocese. The two Bishops are due to report back to the Bishop by the end of the year.

It was interesting to read that Bishop Tim had sought the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It now seems ages ago when the Archbishop was praising Bishop Tim for his swift, decisive and wholly necessary actions following the receipt of the (Korris) Report and wholeheartedly supported the investigation that had been launched. Does Bishop Tim still have the Archbishop's wholehearted support?

It was also interesting to see that the visit was in relation to safeguarding and not to constitutional matters which seems to be the only thing that matters to some of the perceived great and the good. That is borne out by how little interest they have shown for HG's well being, meeting her or investigating her complaints.

The Bishops' visit appeared to be shrouded in mystery and although it was supposed to be about safeguarding matters, from what little is known of the meeting, it appears to have been more about the relationship between Jersey and Winchester. This is evident as the Bishops were wined and dined at Government House where I doubt whether HG's well being or complaints were ever discussed.

Having more than a passing interest in the visit, I contacted the Bishops and Luther Pendragon the PR company asking for an itinerary of the visit and that I and others would be pleased to meet them. My emails never received a reply so it was quite obvious that the visit was not a fact finding but a spin and one sided one.

In a festive spirit I will report on one of the meetings that was held at a very secret location in which a number of very important people were invited. I must confess that I have had to rely on the information passed on to me by a church mouse who reported that the meeting was so shrouded in secrecy that all attendees wore burkas to ensure that even they did not know who was attending.

Apparently the two bishops arrived in a burkamobile.

Entry was by invitation only and in line with strict security all attendees had to produce their ID cards before entry was approved

On entry all attendees had to select a chocolate egg which had number inside. There were two main prizes which had been kindly donated by the Jersey Magistrates'  Association. The first prize was a one night stay outside the Jersey Deanery, the runner up won a two night stay.

As one can see the location had ideal air conditioning, spacious surroundings and an uninterrupted view of the moon and stars.

It was also an opportunity for Dame Heather Steel and Senator Sir Philip Bailhache to meet again and for him to ensure that her still incomplete report is now suitably amended. Thereby after the words; "no disciplinary action is being taken," the following words are added; "and the Dean is wholly holy exonerated."

The ever bashful Bishops Trevor and Nigel took the opportunity of photographing themselves.


Thus inspiring lesser mortals to do so at a less auspicious event.

It was also an ideal occasion for attendees to witness the official shredding and burning of the Korris Report and the transcript of the Bob Hill and Dame Heather Steel October meeting.

The meeting ended with some pole dancing but I am told that it was not the sort of pole dancing that some of the attendees were expecting.

Although I have tried to take a humorous approach to the Bishops' visit one wonders what it was all about because I am not convinced that it was just about safeguarding. The one thing that has become evident during the past 9 months is that religion is playing second fiddle to politics. Regretfully it is also evident that what you see is not what you get and the way our church and political leaders have acted it is definitely a case of do as I say not as I do.

Nine months on there are still more questions than answers, hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent, but what for and is anyone the wiser? Well I suppose Bishop Tim now is because he now knows that the Winchester Way is a route and completely different from the Jersey Way which is a culture.

However he can take credit for at least having the courage to instigate an investigation which is something our Ministers would run a mile to avoid as evidenced by their lack of support for an inquiry into Jersey's Historic Abuse.

One could ask what lessons have really been learnt and where does HG fit into the equation, but then again does any of the clergy really care as not one of them has asked to meet her. Remember that when it was known that HG was due to meet Dame Heather at Church House she was not allowed on the premises so another venue had to be found. At least Mary and Joseph were offered a stable.

Friday 6 December 2013

Jersey's Dean---States Police or Police State?

On Wednesday Tony the Prof published another thought provoking blog in which he reported on some of the comments that had been reported in the Guernsey Press. It included a comment from Guernsey Deputy Ellis Bebb when offering a view on the possible break between the Diocese of Winchester and Jersey and Guernsey in which he said "I think that the question we should ask ourselves is whether Winchester is the right diocese for Guernsey. I think that what happened in Jersey poses a lot of questions, but I'm convinced that as with any breakdown in relations, there's plenty of blame to go around for everyone. One small correction, the woman wasn't deported but bound over by the Jersey courts; the decision to do so was at the courts discretion and nothing to do with the church."

Tony corrected the statement because the Court case was all about the Church as it was their Clergy which levelled the complaint and pressed for charges as Readers will see below.

At the States Sitting on Monday afternoon the unelected Deputy Bailiff drew Members attention to the Bishop's press release and then said that Members would be pleased to know that the Dean following an investigation by Dame Heather Steel had been exonerated. Thus wrongly echoing his brother's remark and now repeated by the Dean during an interview with the BBC. What the press release said was that no disciplinary action was being taken, but certainly did not state that anyone had been exonerated, that may well the case but until the Steel Report is published it is wrong to speculate.

What is fact is that Dame Heather did not interview the Church Warden or HG nor did she fully investigate HG's arrest, detention and deportation in line with the Korris recommendation. Therefore how can she honestly arrive at a decision not to recommend disciplinary action? What is interesting is that the Bishop published a press statement saying for legal reasons he can't circulate the Report, yet at same time saying that Dame Heather is still finalising it. It should be recalled that when I met Dame Heather on 24th October she was finalising her report and intended submitting it by the end of the month. How long does she want before she finishes finalising her report? I will also add that I was promised a transcript of the meeting but that too is being withheld by Winchester.

The (miss) information given by the Deputy Bailiff was met by a round of appreciative foot stamping from States Members in the presence of the Dean who like the Deputy Bailiff is an unelected Member. Soon afterwards answers to Written Questions were formerly lodged which are often unreported by the media. Included in the Written Questions was a question to the Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Le Marquand from Deputy Mike Higgins. 

It is evident to those who have been closely following the Dean's handling of HG's complaint is that the Jan Korris Report is slowly being rubbished and it wont be long before she and HG will be seen as the real villains and the Dean, his church colleague and the Church Warden are the victims.

There is no doubt that having failed to be satisfied by the Dean, the Bishop and the Safeguarding Officer's handling of her complaint HG was zealous in her pursuit for justice. Not only did she complain about the alleged abuse but also at the way it was handled by the aforesaid Church officials but her complaints were ignored. She was clearly an embarrassment to the Church and a way had to be found to silence her, particularly as they wrongly believed that she might disrupt a Confirmation Service being held on Sunday 26th September.

Readers will know that I have previously written how HG after appearing the Magistrates Court on Monday 27th September was remanded in custody in La  Moye Prison for 2 weeks before appearing  before Magistrate Richard Falle and being bound over to leave Jersey where later that evening where she was left destitute at Southampton Airport whilst still wearing her pyjamas.

Thanks to questions being asked by Deputy Higgins the truth is slowly emerging of the shocking and callus way in which HG was treated when held in custody and denied bail on that fatal Sunday whilst the people responsible for levelling the complaint which led to her arrest were conducting a Confirmation Service at St Mary's Church.

 It is all very well for Deputy Bebb from the safety of the Guernsey shores to claim that no blame can be attributed to the Church. It is all very well for Messrs Philip and William Bailhache and indeed the Dean himself to claim that he has been totally exonerated. No disciplinary action is being taken but can the Dean be really proud of the part which he, his wife and former Bishop Scott Joynt played in incarcerating and eventually deporting HG because she may have disturbed their Church Service.

I receive a number of calls from people who cannot believe that we in Jersey could allow such uncaring action against a vulnerable young lady of previous good character who had made Jersey her home, had a job and a home but all were snatched from her thanks to senior church figures. I have previously published official documents which although are in the public domain are rarely to be found in what is called the mainstream media.

Below is the written answers given to the questions asked by Deputy Higgins and are in the public domain but I have added my comments in red. 

Will the Minister set out a detailed timeline showing from the time of the arrest of the woman known as HG to the moment she appeared in court to face charges of harassment, the times anyone interacted with her, who those interactions were with and the times at which witness statements were taken, the charges were drawn up and read to her?

This timeline covers the period from the time of arrest to the time when HG first appeared before a Magistrate.  The timeline does not deal with routine interactions with the custody staff or other routine matters.

26 Sept   9.34    Arrest

At 0934 hrs on Sunday 26th September HG was arrested at her home address by a Police Constable. She was arrested on suspicion of harassment. Another officer was also in attendance.  She was calm and following caution answered the officer’s question about the location of her laptop.  She walked unaided to the police officers’ car where she remained while a search of her room was carried out.

While waiting in the car HG started to show slight signs of distress. On arrival at Rouge Bouillon Police Station (10:17) HG was able to walk to the Custody suite.  Once there she sat on the floor and began to show signs of distress. 

Despite repeated efforts to calm her down officers were unable to communicate with HG and she was eventually carried by three officers into a cell where she was placed on the floor and a cell guard posted.  At this time the police Force Medical Examiner (FME) was unable to carry out any assessment of her due to her demeanour.

10:45 Detention Authorised Did the FME actually assess HG before this decision was reached?

Detention authorised by Police Sergeant on 26 September 2010 at 10:45:00. The grounds for detention are: I am satisfied that the arrest is lawful, proportionate and necessary. There is insufficient evidence to charge at this time. I authorise the detention for the purpose of obtaining evidence by questioning and process. It is incumbent on the police to take immediate steps to obtain the evidence, but it appears that the process did not begin until 3 pm when the first statement was taken from the 3 witnesses.

11:12  Doctor  (FME)

Doctor's comments:  Removal to cell observed, not possible to assess because of agitation I suggest minimal stimulus in terms of intervention until HG is calmer and then assessment may be possible.  Currently, fit for detention, I will assess fitness for interview at 12:45 What background medical information did the doctor possess or attempt to obtain which would helped him to understand why HG was agitated. It should have been obvious that the agitation was aggravated by HG being confined in a cell which because her health concerns was causing her untold harm. 

13:00 Doctor Fit for detention, I will review again in 2 hours. It was now three and a half hours since arrest yet no statements had been taken which was totally unfair. Those who made the complaint should have placed that action ahead of their other arrangements and the police should have ensured that it was the case..

13:10 Duty Sergeant note of Medical Review,

Task Medical Review Required completed. Comments: Medical review complete fit for detention FME to return in two hours

15.00 Duty Sergeant’s entry

Police officers’ notes:  Appropriate adult located. When was it decided that an Appropriate Adult was required and why did it take so long to obtain one? After numerous phone calls to a number of agencies I have been put in touch with the on call Mental Health Social Worker via the hospital switch board and she has stated that she has heard of HG and will be happy to act as an Appropriate adult.  Will be attending at 17:30hrs  This is now 8 hours after HG's arrest.

15:04-15:45 Statement recorded - Statement of first witness taken from Mrs Key, the Dean's wife at the Deanery. Why was her statement not taken earlier, she was not conducting the Church Service?

15:48 Duty Inspector

Duty Inspector’s notes: I have attended with the intention of conducting the formal review of detention. however HG appears to be in a heavy sleep and is unresponsive to attempts to wake her.  HG is in the care of the Custody staff and the FME is also in attendance.  It is therefore intended to let the FME assess HG prior to additional attempts to conduct the review process Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) stipulates that a review of detention before charge must be conducted after 6 hours of being in custody. This review is not conducted by an independent person but by another police officer. 

16:00-17.00 Statement recorded - Statement of second witness Former Bishop Michael Scott Joynt at the Deanery

16:28 Doctor

Seen in cell, since last review, now lying on the floor. Have spoken with Mental Health Social Worker who will read hospital notes prior to arrival.  Fit for detention at present.

17:20-17:45 Statement recorded - Statement of third witness The Dean at the Deanery.

17:43 Doctor

I have contacted the duty consultant psychiatrist directly, who will attend in due course.

18:21 Doctor

Seen by duty Consultant Psychiatrist, for detention, no mental illness 

19.30-19.45 Statement recorded - Statement of Arresting Officer Why was this not taken soon after the arrest when the facts were still fresh in his mind.

19:47 Entry -Charged by Centenier Phillip Coffey whose report shows that he charged HG at 2030 hours and remanded in custody. Jersey does not have an independent Prosecution Service and the decision to charge rests with an unpaid voluntary/Honorary police man. Pleaded guilty after charge. When a person is charged they are cautioned and what they say is recorded. It would be interesting to know where HG’s alleged plea is recorded.

21:43 PACE Status Changed

PACE status changed from PACE to Non PACE for the following reason: 

Centenier has refused bail in order to prevent further offences. Why was HG not bailed, what evidence did the Centenier have to deny bail, she had been arrested from her home and was of good character she had been receiving medical attention since her arrival at the police station and was clearly distressed and unwell so what evidence was to hand that HG would commit further offences? 

Held at Police HQ overnight

27 Sept 2010 07:52 Doctor (FME) Comments

No evidence of dehydration although not drinking fit for detention and court

09:50 ENTRY

Handed to court officers and taken to court

10:00 Magistrate’s Court Sitting

Seen by Duty Advocate Jane Grace, Appeared before a Magistrate at 1216 hours. Represented by the Duty Advocate who was not in court when he decided to remand HG in custody at La Moye Prison for two weeks, why?

Readers will know from my previous Blogs that HG later appeared before Magistrate Richard Falle, pleaded guilty and agreed to be bound over. On paper it appears that HG was dealt with according to Law and proper procedure. However it is claimed that the Clergy’s decision to press charges was for HG’s own good, if that is so what did they actually do to help HG to benefit from being arrested. The Dean and Bishop were conducting a church service whilst HG was detained in a police cell waiting for them to write their statements. It would be interesting to know what the sermon was, but hopefully it was not based on “Judge not lest ye be judged” or “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.”

It is evident that HG was sending any number of emails and was proving to be a nuisance however it does appear that a sledgehammer was used to crack a nut which has had a life changing affect on HG, for which the Archbishop, Bishop and Dean have all publicly apologised.

Was it necessary to arrest HG, was she deserving of the callus and unchristian treatment she received and is it some thing that the Island and the Church of England can be proud of?

It is not disputed that HG contacted the Dean’s wife and the Bishop early on the Saturday evening when it is alleged that HG was rude and allegedly said she would see the Bishop in St Mary’s Church, but did it mean that she was going to attend or what were her motives. There is no mention of that question being asked by the arresting officer. Why was the decision to inform the police left until early Sunday morning and was it necessary to arrest and go to such extraordinary lengths to detain and deport HG from Jersey?

The decision to arrest HG has left no winners but only shame on those involved with the arrest and subsequent action. The States Police will say that they were responding to an allegation of harassment but could be said HG was treated even handily. If it was decided to arrest her why it did it take so long to obtain the evidence and why was she not bailed? Was the Force's action an example of good States Police practice or more akin to that of a police State? 

Unfortunately neither Winchester nor Jersey cares a damn about HG or Safeguarding and it is doubtful whether these matters will even be discussed by the two Bishops during their flag waving visit to Jersey.