Wednesday, 14 October 2009

POWER TO THE PEOPLE!




The Voice previously posted a blog on the Complaints Board Hearing of (illegally?) suspended Police Chief Mr. Graham Power HERE. We posted that the argument(s) made by the Chief Minister’s Office for withholding “information” sought by Mr. Power was “dive behind the couch cringe worthy.”

Today, after a media embargo, the findings of the Complaints Board have been put into the public domain and if anybody doubted the absurdity of the Chief Minister’s Department’s argument then you must read the Complaints Board’s findings in full. And then bear in mind in an answer to a question from Deputy Bob Hill in the States when the Chief Minister stated that he “wasn’t embarrassed” about his legal rep attempting to defend the indefensible at the hearing.

The Complaints Board have found in favour of Mr. Power and it is impossible to see how they couldn’t have.

Mr. Graham Power had been trying to obtain some “information” from the Chief Minister’s Office for NINE MONTHS! And during these NINE MONTHS he has been fobbed of with all sorts of excuses as to why he shouldn’t have it, including the argument that the “information” he requires isn’t “information”!

One must be aware Mr. Graham Power is a very experienced and highly regarded Police Officer and he is well used to appearing before Tribunals and preparing legal arguments. His performance at the hearing was impressive but try to imagine how difficult it would be for the average member of the public to present a case in similar circumstances but without legal knowledge or representation.

Even as the laws now stand Graham Power’s access to this information should have been a mere formality and all the time and resources devoted to this Complaints Board hearing was so wasteful and unnecessary.

How much better things could be if we had a proper Freedom of Information law in Jersey which would require our government to disclose such materials and would give teeth to the Data Protection Officer who would be empowered to call for the release of information if asked by a member of the public.

This is a small, but very significant battle won by Mr. Power and is testament to his determination to uncover the truth. Joe public would not have stood a chance in getting this far.

This, in the opinion of The Voice, is another nail in the coffin of Senator Terry Le Sueur as Chief Minister and must reinforce the “very strong” rumours for his January exit.

To view the Complaints Board Hearing decision in full you will have to go the;
statesassembly.gov.je site click reports (near the top of the page) and then click R115/2009.

Below are copies of Press Releases of Mr. Graham Power and the current Chief Minister.

MEDIA RELEASE BY THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION OF THE RESULT OF HIS APPEAL TO THE STATES OF JERSEY COMPLAINTS BOARD IN RESPECT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION.

THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE, MR GRAHAM POWER Q.P.M. HAS RELEASED THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT FOLLOWING THE PUBLICATION OF THE DECISION RELATING TO HIS APPEAL IN RESPECT OF ACCESS TO INFORMATION REGARDING THE TIMES AND DATES ON WHICH DOCUMENTS PROVIDED DURING HIS SUSPENSION WERE ACTUALLY CREATED. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE GREFFIER TO THE STATES HAS ALREADY PROVIDED THE MEDIA WITH COPIES OF THE DECISION UNDER EMBARGO. THIS RELEASE IS SUBJECT TO THE SAME EMBARGO.

Full details of the background of the case and the arguments submitted by both sides are to be found in the findings of the Board, which have been provided to the media separately. They have not therefore been repeated in this release.

The Chief Officer has said:

“I am obviously pleased that the Complaints Board has decided in my favour. I hope that the Chief Minister will now make use of the opportunity given by the Board to reconsider his decision and provide the information requested. The provision of the details of the times and dates on which the suspension documents were created will be an important step towards discovering the truth behind the reasons for the suspension, and whether the public, the States and the media, have in any way been misled by any of the statements made to date by Ministers or by others acting on their behalf.”

Note to Editors.
Editors may consider that the findings of the Complaints Board set a precedent which has important implications for future Freedom of Information applications in the island. It is recommended that they be studied in full. In particular the ruling of the Board on the Presumption of Openness, required by the Code, and its consequential impact on the burden of proof, may be particularly significant in respect of future media and public requests for information made to government bodies. This is referred to in various parts of the document and in particular paragraph 6.1 which states “it is clearly incumbent on the Chief Minister to justify why he is refusing to disclose the information that Mr Power is seeking and it is not for Mr Power to justify why he has requested it.”

From the current Chief Minister
The Chief Minister, Senator Terry Le Sueur, has responded to the findings of the States of Jersey Complaints Board set up to consider a complaint by the suspended Chief of Police, Mr Graham Power.

"I fully accept the findings of the board and will ensure that the information requested by Mr Power is provided as soon as possible," Senator Le Sueur said. "The findings of the board have clarified our understanding of the Public Access to Information Code of Practice and our policy will be revised in the light of this."




Submitted by Team Voice.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Jersey Justice.



So everybody can breathe a sigh of relief because what started out as £300,00 worth of Wacky Backy that mysteriously ended up as being £1m worth has been prevented from hitting our streets, or has it? And just as importantly HOW might it have been prevented?

Once more our media, police force, judicial system and Law Offices have left us (well “The Voice” anyway) with more questions than answers and yet again left us with the feeling we have an out of control Police Force and law officers who are all seemingly above the law.

Make no mistake we deplore drugs and even more so drug dealers, but just too many things don’t add up with the case against Curtis Warren and his convicted co-conspirators.

First of all, what would a man worth a reported £125m be doing involving himself with 5 people in Jersey, who it appears haven’t got a penny to scratch their arses with, and a boat that is not sea-worthy, all in order to bring in A MILLION pounds worth of drugs? Surely it’s a non-starter from the get-go?

Secondly, how did it start off at £300,000 worth of drugs and finish up at a million? How does a man worth £125m get legal aid? How come Advocate Baker was appointed as his Legal Aid Lawyer? Why didn’t the Police wait for the drugs (if they existed) to hit these shores and then catch the gang red-handed?

Why wasn’t the alleged dealer from Amsterdam in the dock? Was he part of a sting?

How can illegally obtained evidence be allowed in court? How can Advocate Baker , whilst defending this alleged drug gang, completely trash our Police Force and their illegal methods of obtaining evidence in this court room and then walk into another courtroom to prosecute Senator Syvret and tell the court how great the Police are?

Judge Tucker said in court that the way some of the evidence was gathered by our Police was “reprehensible UNLAWFUL and regrettable”- so why did he allow it into court?

One of the more worrying statements made by David Warcup (Acting Police Chief) was reported as “officers were doing what they needed to collate the best possible evidence” This is so alarming because it appears his officers broke the bl--dy law! They lied to and deceived 3 different National Police Forces in Europe. So, shall we all throw the rule book out of the window and break any laws we feel necessary because it’s ok for our Police to do it?

Why aren’t the Police, Attorney General and other Law Officers so vigorous - in pursuing child abusers employed by the State of Jersey, extraditing alleged child abusers from France or arresting Civil Servants who have been reported as being questioned for violently physically abusing children in their “care” - as they were in persuing these wrongdoers?

Advocate Baker said to the appeal court judges before this trial reached the Royal Court. “Your duty is to send out a message that this jurisdiction is governed by the rule of law. It is not a tin-pot jurisdiction where Police and law act how they will”. The court of appeal judges rejected the appeal and none of this could be reported at the time.

There is little doubt we have an out-of-control Police Force who can not only turn over a senior politician’s place of residence on an alleged “fishing trip” and seize (among many other things) computers owned by the children of his partner, but they can do all this without a warrant. They, can so it seems lie, cheat and break the law in order to get a chosen outcome when it suits but they are answerable to no-one.

Are you sure this cannot or will not happen to you? If we are governed by the RULE OF LAW who will ensure that your rights will be protected. Do you trust the Police and Judicial system of Jersey?

Team Voice contacted Advocate Baker’s office to seek an interview or at the least an answer to some of our questions off camera. We were refused but given a statement that “Mr. Warren will be appealing his conviction”.

To which we say “NO SH1T SHERLOCK”