Wednesday 14 May 2014

Jersey's Dean--The Steel Report--Fit for the Waste Bin

At the States Sitting yesterday Deputy Le Fondre again asked when the Steel Report was being published. For the benefit of new readers Dame Heather Steel was commissioned by the Bishop of Winchester (Tim Dakin) to investigate the Jersey Dean's handling of an abuse complaint made against a Church Warden by a lady known as HG.

There is a view that the Terms of Reference were too narrow and that Dame Heather a former colleague of Senator Bailhache was conflicted. Senator Bailhache who apart from being a former Bailiff was also a Judge and has been one of the Dean's staunchest supporters.

Prior to Dame Heather beginning her investigation it had been agreed by John Gladwin the former Bishop of Chelmsford who had been appointed to head the overall Visitation that HG would receive some tangible support and all communications in relation to the Visitation would be directed through me, thus preventing HG further distress. Dame Heather claims not to have been aware of that arrangement. The failure to abide with that arrangement is unforgivable and unprofessional because it has led to HG suffering extreme trauma and understandably complete loss of faith in the Church of England.

Dame Heather has refused to interview HG but last October she did eventually interview me, however before the interview it had been agreed that I would receive a copy of the transcript. Following the interview Dame Heather made a number of excuses to avoid providing me with a copy. However she has since refused point blank to provide me with a copy and we both know why. The reason being that Dame Heather knows that she made a number of unprofessional remarks about HG.

For the past few months I have been emailing the Bishop of Winchester and copying them to a number of interested parties such as the Bailiff, Chief Minister Gorst, John Gladwin and members of the Safeguarding panel. I have been asking for a copy of the transcript and what promised tangible support for HG was being considered. I have also made it clear that there was no way that the Steel Report can be published because HG has not been interviewed and of Dame Heather's unprofessional comments which can be found in the  transcript.

Needless to say, my emails have been ignored, however I continue to send them. Last week I heard that Dame Heather was apparently giving her Report to Bishop Dakin and also questions relating to the report were being asked at this week's States Sitting. I was also aware of HG's serious concerns as to what the report might say about her. Therefore in my latest email which I sent on our Liberation Day last Friday I asked what provision was being made to assist HG who was likely to be further traumatised when the report is published.

My email is below

"Dear Bishop Tim,

With reference to my previous emails requesting the transcript of my meeting with Dame Heather and for tangible assistance for HG. As yet I still wait a reply let alone action.

I have heard that there is movement regarding the Steel Report and I write to ask what action you are proposing to take to assist HG who may well be further traumatised by its contents. You know that she has not only been deeply affected by the arrest and deportation from Jersey at the behest of the Dean, his wife and the former Bishop, but also from the ramifications of your decision to commission Jan Korris to investigate the matter and the events that have followed. I include the promises made by John Gladwin and Christine Daly but have been broken.

69 years ago today Jersey was liberated from the German Occupation and on that day I went with my father to what was the Weighbridge to meet the British troops. Today is a Bank Holiday and there will be the usual Special States Sitting where our Chief Minister Senator Gorst will be giving the Address. Afterwards there will be the usual re-enactment in which the Dean will play a prominent role and no doubt will be speaking about freedom and justice. All or most of the Island's clergy will also be in attendance.

I will not be attending the event and I know that my absence will not be noticed but I feel I cannot be in the presence of people who proclaim to be Christian but do not practice what they preach, have not lifted a finger nor have voiced any concern about HG's welfare.

Whilst you were not party to HG's arrest etc you are in a position to right a great wrong. I know that you too have become a victim of the consequences of your decision to commission the Korris review however it is in your gift to right the wrong inflicted on HG and in light of the Archbishop's recent Radio Jersey interview, I await with interest of the action you are proposing to take."

I have not received a reply, however this morning on the Channel TV website the following can be found.

" A report into the way abuse allegations are dealt with by Jersey's church is being delayed so that its impact on an alleged victim can be properly considered.

ITV News has learned the Bishop of Winchester is seeking advice on the best way to publish it without causing the woman harm.

He's set up an "Impact Assessment Group" to suggest ways the report by Dame Heather Steel can be made public.

She's been investigating how
Jersey's church looks after vulnerable parishioners.

We can today (Wednesday) reveal the Bishop of Winchester, Tim Dakin, has formally informed
's Lieutenant Governor that he will not be taking any disciplinary action against the Dean of Jersey who was originally suspended from office when details emerged of the way he handled an allegation of abuse involving a parishioner.

Bob Key was subsequently reinstated.

ITV News understands the Lieutenant Governor has been told by Bishop Dakin that he is unable to give a specific timetable for when the report will be out but it should be within the next few weeks."

I have no reason to doubt the website's contents, therefore if that is the case I really question why Bishop Dakin has set up an "Impact Assessment Group" when he and fellow clergy have not lifted a finger to assist HG or allow her to formally give her side of events. I also question whether Dame Heather has been investigating how Jersey's Church looks after vulnerable parishioners. 

If an "Impact Assessment Group" has been set up, is it because of my suggestion, if so why have I not been informed and more importantly why is HG not party to the proposal? Also does anyone really believe that Dame Heather has been investigating how Jersey Church's have been looking after their vulnerable parishioners. It is not within her TOR. Also this is a lady who has refused to interview HG or investigate HG's arrest and deportation, has made derogatory remarks about her and has refused to deliver a promised transcript which would confirm Dame Heather's bias.

One has to ask what new game is Winchester playing as it stumbles from one disaster to another. The Report is as meaningless as the apologies given to HG by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Bishop of Winchester and Jersey's Dean, Bob Key.

Dame Heather's TOR in respect of what happens to her Report are as follows;

10. The Investigator shall deliver a copy of the report to the Bishop of Winchester. Upon receipt the Bishop of Winchester will supply a copy of the report to anyone against whom disciplinary action is recommended and to the Bailiff of Jersey, the Dean of Jersey and the Ministry of Justice.

11. The Bishop of Winchester shall, within a reasonable period of time, notify anyone against whom disciplinary action is recommended whether disciplinary action will be taken and the complaints which will be considered.

12. The Bishop of Winchester shall provide a copy of the report of the Investigation to the Commissary of the Visitation of the Parishes of the Deanery of Jersey, Bishop John Gladwin. The report of the Investigation may be used to inform the findings of the Visitation. 

13. The report of the investigation or a summary of its findings and conclusions will be published in due course, and / or after the conclusion of any recommended disciplinary proceedings. Where necessary the report may be summarised and / or redacted for legal reasons or to protect the identity of any person who features in the report or who has provided relevant information to the investigation.

As one can see the TOR allows for the Bishop to summarise and redact the report as he wishes and I am sure that there will be major redactions. No disciplinary action is being taken against the Dean, Winchester has now split from Jersey, I am not going to receive the transcript and whole sorry affair has been a night mare for HG and will continue to be as long as the Report exists. The best thing the Bishop can do is to bin the report because no good can come from it not only because of the harm already inflicted but because it will only bring further ridicule and discredit on all those involved in what has become a disaster for the Church of England hierarchy.


  1. The conflicted Steele report is not worth the paper it is written and will only be laughed at if it is released. HG or the churchwarden weren't even interviewed and Steele is a friend of Philip Bailhache.

  2. This type of carryon seems to be the norm in jersey. It is very similar to ny case. They don't want to let the real truth be heard. Keep your chin up hg. Bob you are obe amazing person.

  3. Off topic but urgent.

    Dear Voice and Rico and Bob,

    I have just had the reply from the Inquiry Panel about my request to them to ask the States for certain key changes to the Terms of Reference for the Committee of Inquiry into child abuse. It does not look good.

    There are numerous problems with the Terms of Reference (which still allow the Inquiry to IGNORE certain key areas, and which LIMIT the kinds of abuse they are mandated to look at) and with the Protocols for the Inquiry.

    A group of stakeholders will meet with the legal team for the Inquiry. What happens if we find, as a result of this meeting that this Inquiry cannot be trusted to be full, robust and independent?

    What then?

    You guys seem to be full steam ahead, but if the COI is doomed from the start, then the more we play with it the more we legitimise it. And the establishment will be made truly happy. No need to worry for years afterwards, if ever.

    If we are convinced that it really will not deliver, we should walk away - now!

    I still do not know, I am just warning you.


  4. Daniel I can understand your concerns but from my experience TOR’s are always open to interpretation and the COI’s are no different even though you have played a major and valued role in compiling them. I note that the stakeholders are meeting the legal team to iron out some outstanding issues; hopefully those concerns will be satisfactorily addressed. I also hope that following that meeting the stake holders do not feel that the COI cannot be trusted.

    I think it is too early to form a view as to the effectiveness of the COI. I can only speak of my experience but I have twice met two of the team’s lawyers and have been happy with the way they have listened to what I have had to say and they have been very professional in the questions asked of me.

    Apart from my oral evidence I have also given them a considerable amount of documentary evidence. I ask that all those who feel they have evidence or have something they would like to share with the COI that they do so.

    The Jersey culture of cover up and secrecy will remain as long as those with something to say remain silent. Those who have been following my Blogs will have realised that even whilst the historic abuse investigation was at its height HG’s complaint was being suppressed and her evidence is still being suppressed as Dame Heather has failed to interview her.

    Doing nothing is not an option.

  5. Bob,

    Do you know why no disciplinary action is being taken against the Dean? Is it because there is insufficient evidence or that he is untouchable because he is a Crown appointment and is therefore outside Winchester's remit?

  6. Interesting question.

    Given that the Dean has already apologised for his mistakes it seems that there cannot be smoke without a fire so why apologise for mistakes if he did not make any?.

    As the Bishop could only withdraw the Dean's commission but not suspend him it is open to speculation that the Bishop does not have the authority to discipline the Dean.

    It would all to simple for the Bishop to come clean to end the speculation. But coming clean and keeping things simple does not appear to be on anyone's agenda.

    For the interest of readers, On Sunday after the 8am news on Radio Jersey I will be discussing the issue of the Bishop receiving the Steel Report.

  7. Bob.

    Well done for standing HG's corner this morning on State Radio. What does it say about the Jersey church community when NONE of them will publicly support the victim? It is all playing into the hands of Bailhache and his ilk where everybody seems to be talking about the bureaucracy of all the different reports and nobody talking about the abuse and victim.

    One could not help noticing the hypocrisy of the BBC going on about a hugely redacted report after it had been through the different lawyers etc. It was the BBC, along with the rest of the island's State Media, who published the, around 90% redacted, Wiltshire Report, against the former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM and didn't question it.

    Not only did they publish this report (un-questioned) but have refused to, or buried, the former Chief Officers RESPONSE.

    You said it this morning, and it has been said by many people, that the Steele Report will not be worth the paper it is written on and will only serve to harm the victim, HG, even further. One cannot help thinking that this is the intention of some and is a damming indictment of the culture in this island despite the Haut de la Garenne atrocities, and cover up. Nothing has changed and the victims continue to be abused over, and over again, while lawyers line their pockets.

  8. The interview gave listeners an opportunity to hear things they may not be are of and how little the CoE really cares about the vulnerable.

    You are right to mention the lack of support for the victim who is not only a victim of abuse but became a victim of abuse of process and the latest shenanigans over the Steel investigation and now the release of her report just adds salt to the wounds.

    It is clear that lessons have not been learned and nothing changes.

  9. Tony's Musings
    Jersey Historic Abuse Inquiry: Guest Posting - Today, with permission from Carrie Modral to re-post, I have a guest posting from her regarding the Jersey "Historic" Abuse Inquiry.

    It is an appeal for all witnesses to come forward.

    Like any Establishment inquiry it is organised to minimise the embarrassment (and the effectiveness) and probably skewed to achieve the outcomes favouring the paymasters (vis Hilsborough)

    Retired Deputy DW and others have serious concerns regarding the protocols and the terms of reference

    It is a very expensive inquiry due to the set up, with culpable officials and the "great and good" being provided with near unlimited legal assistance at taxpayer's expense, but witnesses such as the whistleblower Ex Health Minister being given none, and also still being subject to superinjunctions and much evidence only being taken behind closed doors.

    Ex Health Minister Syvret raised some early concerns at:

    There seems to be a dilemma whether to co-operate with the inquiry given it's faults.
    Indeed the shysters write the rules and run the show but my feeling is that a boycott or partial boycott of the inquiry just plays into their hands.

    Perhaps bloggers and interested parties should get together with a view to formulating a united front. Perhaps witnesses could ensure that their evidence is not "lost" or ignored by providing a written summary of it to trusted bloggers such as VFC, Rico or Stuart.

    Also perhaps the shortcomings of the inquiry can be presented to the inquiry ........ They can ignore this evidence but at least it's presentation can be documented by bloggers.

    Something else that bothers me is that my understanding is that those who have been in receipt of compensation are subject to a gagging clause. Is this the case?

    In short GIVE EVIDENCE[?] This could be tho last best chance. Discuss..........

    1. I endorse the Comment above and ask everyone who thinks they have something to say, not to hold back. I am happy to discuss matters in confidence if help is needed.