Monday, 24 April 2017

Jersey Child Abuse Inquiry to Destroy Evidence?



Former Deputy Daniel Wimberley


Former Jersey politician, and Anti Child Abuse Campaigner, Daniel Wimberley has issued a damming Press Release, ahead of the (long awaited) Child Abuse Committee of Inquiry's (COI), final report being published.
Mr. Wimberley was  instrumental (with others such as Jersey Care Leavers Association, Team Voice, current and former politicians and campaigners) in formulating its Terms of Reference. He has studied and researched the entire Child Abuse scandal up to, and including, the COI.

The (below) Press Release is just a tiny snapshot of the alarming revelations contained in Mr. Wimberley's "documents" as listed at the beneath "Notes for Editors" below the Press Release. 
ABUSE INQUIRY WEBSITE NEEDS COMPLETE OVERHAUL BEFORE REPORT IS PUBLISHED. KEY DOCUMENTS MUST BE SAVED, NOT DESTROYED.
The Jersey Abuse Inquiry has been told that their website should be radically improved before they publish their report. 
Abuse campaigner and former States member Daniel Wimberley has written to the Panel setting out in detail the many changes which are needed. His letter, sent on March 31st, says:
“When the report appears it is obviously essential that anyone with an interest, from direct protagonists (victims, perpetrators, alleged perpetrators, those accused of wrong-doing of any kind) to the public and the politicians who represent them, to journalists, to charity workers, campaigners and policy-makers, that all of these stakeholders can check your report against all the original documents. 
“To do this the website must be in good order, with every document actually present and correct, both documents of evidence and documentation of the workings and decisions of the Inquiry. And all the contents of the website must be accessible, easy to find, easily down-loadable, and extracts easily copied. None of these conditions apply right now.” (original emphasis)
“The website as it stands now is a disgrace and is not fit-for-purpose,” says Mr. Wimberley. “You cannot find what you want, witness statements are incomplete and sometimes garbled, key documents are missing, or else they come and go, Panel decisions are shrouded in mystery, and using the website is made to be as awkward as possible. When the national and international journalists show up for the launch of the report they will not be amused.”
Mr. Wimberley has also discovered that the Inquiry Panel plan to destroy key information instead of placing it on its website so that everyone can read it.
“This is a stunning blow to victims and to all those who want to see Jersey learn from the horrors of the past” said Mr. Wimberley. “When the Inquiry began its work ‘information that is relevant and material to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference’ was going to be preserved,” said Mr. Wimberley. 
“Now the Inquiry says this information will be destroyed. The Panel has either made a mistake or made an astonishing and unpublicised reversal of policy which they must explain to States Members and the public. Why ever would one seek to destroy all this information?”
“I already pointed out the many issues which the Panel needed to address in an email in June last year,” said Mr. Wimberley. “They have had plenty of time, but they are ignoring these concerns. There seems to be no willingness to engage, and no desire to reassure the public. This is not the best way to build confidence and trust in this Inquiry.” ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1 proof of the Inquiry’s intention to destroy relevant information
The “Inquiry Protocol on Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Redaction” can be seen at: http://www.jerseycareinquiry.org/key-documents It states:

“6. The Inquiry will categorise the information that it receives into the following categories:

6.1 Category 1 – evidence given and referred to during oral hearings. This will include witness statements of those witnesses giving oral evidence and those that are taken as read in to the Inquiry’s record. This information will be uploaded onto the Inquiry’s website;

6.2 Category 2 – information that is relevant and material to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and is probative of them; and

6.3 Category 3 – information that is irrelevant or immaterial to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference or not probative of them. This information will not be disclosed to Interested Parties or published as part of the Inquiry’s work.

7. All Category 1 and Category 2 information will be considered and the documents referred to within the hearing room will be redacted in accordance with the Inquiry’s policy on redacting personal information (which is set out in detail below), prior to release to Interested Parties and/or publication on the Inquiry’s website.

8. Following the conclusion of the Inquiry’s work, all Category 1 material will be transferred to the States of Jersey Archive in redacted form. All other information will be logged and then destroyed by the Inquiry or originals returned to the provider. A copy of the document log will be provided to the States of Jersey Archive, again redacted in accordance with the Inquiry’s redaction policy.”

So, “Category 2 information” which is defined as “information that is relevant and material to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and is probative of them” (para. 6.2) will be “logged and then destroyed” (para. 8)

2 the original policy on destruction of relevant information

From the following extract of the transcript of the second preliminary hearing on June 16th, 2014, page 43, lines 9-15 it is clear that the original policy was to keep Category 2 information:

9 A similar point we have made and again there has

10 been no response, I regret to say, in relation to

11 paragraph 8 of the previous protocol, which is at

12 divider 7, which provides:

13 "Following the conclusion of the Inquiry's work all

14 category 1 and category 2 material will be transferred

15 to the States of Jersey archive in redacted form."(my emphasis)

3 could it all be a mistake?

Yes of course this apparent destruction policy may be a simple error. I have put this possibility to the Inquiry and they have failed to give any assurances. h, misleading statements and obstruction in Jersey over the whole issue of child abuse they should have done.

4 List of attached documents, in order of usability (conciseness and emotion)

A “letter of reply by DW April 6 2017 to reply of Panel.doc”

B “letter to panel about website March 31 2017.doc”

C “letter to panel about website June 21 2016.doc”

D “reply of Panel Nov 4 2016 to DW letter re website of June 2016.doc”

E “reply of Panel April 5 2017 to DW letter re website of March 2017.doc”

F “TOR as used by COI”

DOCUMENT DESCRIPTIONS

A This 2 page letter to the Inquiry legal team expresses my shock and disappointment with the Panel’s failure to engage and summarises the issues and says that I will publicise this.

B is an 8 page letter to Chairman and members of the panel, dated 31 March 2017. It lists the Failings of the Website, takes the issues under Completeness of Information and making the Site User-friendly one by one and pleads with the panel to act to save their website. Basically a shortened and improved version of letter C.

C is the first letter in this correspondence about the website - a 17 page letter to Chairman and members of the panel, dated 21 June 2016.This letter puts 25 questions to the Panel about their website all of which need to be addressed if the website is to become fit for purpose, with explanations.

D is the reply of the Panel to my June 2016 letter. Note the date 4½ months after I wrote to them and only sent after I sent a long chasing email on 11th October 2016.

E is the reply of the Panel to my March 31st 2017 letter. It is 39 words long.

F the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry into Child Abuse in Jersey, as agreed by the States.(End)

Team Voice has collated the (above) listed documents A-F and published them HERE.

32 comments:

  1. In the first place, yourself and Daniel Wimberley should be congratulated for the public service represented by your ongoing blog posts relating to the Inquiry and Daniel's ongoing efforts over time to hold them to account.

    This blog post along with the publication of the background documents is an exceptional act of public service and is in serious contrast to the behaviour of the Council of Ministers, the JEP and the Inquiry itself.

    I have already commented on this blog on the Inquiry's contempt for the general public. This has taken many forms from their treatment of some witnesses to what seems a purposeful effort on their part to make their website as unfriendly, and its content as inaccessible, as possible.

    Stuart Syvret sees the Inquiry as a creature of the administration and the Inquiry itself seems to have gone out of its way, right from the outset, to prove him right.

    There has been an absolute refusal on its part to engage in any way with the public, even when apologies or explanations are due for serious lapses in its behaviour.

    It is unfortunate that Jersey does not have a proper judicial function which could hold this appalling and sloppy inquiry to account.

    It may well be that the principal, and only, benefit to come from it will turn out to be the published evidence, which at least makes the scale of abuse on the island clear to any intelligent reader. Even then this will need to be supplemented by (offshore?) identification of the alphabet soup identity of witnesses.

    May yourself, and Daniel and the others keep up the good work and extract maximum value for the people of Jersey from this appalling and very expensive venture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What evidence have you given exactly?

      Delete
    2. RE: "What evidence have you given exactly?"
      ........In his comment Póló makes reference to "any intelligent reader"

      In order that you (07:28)  might even be considered to qualify perhaps you could point out where "exactly" Póló has claimed he has given evidence to the fake CoI.

      Or am I miss-reading the tone and intent of your comment @07:28 ?

      Delete
    3. Thanks @15:28, that comment @07:28 is certainly a bit odd. I live in Dublin, Ireland, and have not given any evidence to the COI nor have I ever claimed to have done so. I have no direct evidence to give.

      But I have been observing from afar for a good while now and have seen a lot more sloppy (if not malicious) behaviour on the part of the COI than I mentioned above.

      Like many people I had hoped for a bona fide Inquiry but this has been a very sloppy exercise. not to mention its burden, directly and indirectly, on the Jersey taxpayer.

      I hope that those who gave evidence, many at great emotional cost, will not be disappointed with the outcome.

      At least the copious evidence is there for all to see and draw their own conclusions. This was not previously the case and many suffered in isolation and impotence.

      As for my own credentials in the matter. I have the distinction of having my blog trolled by Jon and his girlfriend Stella and that surely should count for something.

      Delete
    4. I hadn't realised I had let that comment (07:28) through. He has come back with an equally daft reply which won't be getting published.

      Delete
  2. It is good that DW is persisting with this. Obviously in other jurisdictions there would be some members of the government and/or legal profession or even journalists keeping the Panel under scrutiny but with the seamless cover that such institutions provide in this Island it falls to individuals to try. Pity that DW and Bob Hill are no longer in the States and that the few others who plug away are not better resourced. The continuing delays with the appearance of this Report make their scrutiny activities all the more important especially when there are so many other national and international issues demanding attention too.

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  3. The COI need to report their findings soon and like DW states have their website up to scratch.

    The PR being employed by the COM is worrying. Would be interesting to know exactly when all this PR was given. The COM didn't know when the report was coming out.

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  4. We already know that our Bailiff and his predecessors desperately want the statements and documents of former Deputy Pitman wiped from the historical record as it showed so damningly how the Jersey Way worked. The big question is who will really decide what is relevant and what is not? All evidence accepted by the panel and given in good faith by victims and campaigners must stay on line for posterity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is the text of my Questions 15 to 17 in my letter of June 21st 2016:

      "The questions I put to you about Category 3 information (information that is irrelevant or immaterial to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference) are as follows.

      My first question is: does the panel agree that complete transparency on this issue is essential to ensure accountability to the public they have been serving – that the public must be able to see what material has been excluded from consideration by the panel, what the exact process was for such exclusions, who carried out each exclusion, and the grounds on which this material was excluded? (Question 15)

      My second question is: what steps exactly will the panel take to ensure that this transparency is realised? (If the Panel thinks that this is covered by the phrase which appears above in the protocol paragraph 8 “All other information (i.e. other than what will be kept) will be logged and then destroyed” then please Panel, explain exactly how this will work.
      (Question 16)

      My third question is: will the Inquiry inform all evidence providers, if you deem a part or all of their evidence “irrelevant or immaterial to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference” that this is how the Inquiry views that evidence and explain to them why their information has been viewed in this way. And if not, why not?
      (Question 17)

      Anonymous 14.43 is absolutely right, transparency and openness are essential. If the COI fails in this simple requirement, how are they qualified to sit in judgement on others on this very same issue?

      Delete
  5. http://www.jerseycareinquiry.org/Key%20Documents/Data%20Protection,%20FOI%20and%20Redaction.pdf

    Pretty straight forward. If its not regarded as relevant then it won't be uploaded or it will be redacted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Category 3 – information that is irrelevant or immaterial to the Inquiry’s
      Terms of Reference or not probative of them. This information will not be
      disclosed to Interested Parties or published as part of the Inquiry’s work.'

      'All Category 1 and Category 2 information will be considered and the documents
      referred to within the hearing room will be redacted in accordance with the
      Inquiry’s policy on redacting personal information (which is set out in detail
      below), prior to release to Interested Parties and/or publication on the Inquiry’s
      website.'

      So in other words if evidence given to them has no relevance to the TORs or contains personal information about people either victims or perpetrators then it will either never be uploaded online or redacted.

      So the chances of them changing this protocol before the Report is zero.

      Delete
    2. Indeed @18:35 & 19:35 ......and the chances of them interviewing the then Heath minister or  Mike Pollard etc before the Report is also zero!

      Scandalous isn't it?

      We just have to pretend that all these "peculiarities" do not exist and just "trust" them?????

      #20millionwhitewash by Eversheds, retained Lawyers of paedo-covering special branch?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous 19.35 is being misleading. Quite obviously so. Now why would someone misquote the Protocols to make it look as if what I have raised is a non-issue?

      The trouble is, that with these procedural issues, people get quickly bored. Cue the impostors, and the cover-up merchants, who can pull the wool over our eyes, or try to, and get away with it.

      Anonymous quotes paragraph 7 of the Protocol:

      'All Category 1 and Category 2 information will be considered and the documents referred to within the hearing room will be redacted in accordance with the Inquiry’s policy on redacting personal information (which is set out in detail below), prior to release to Interested Parties and/or publication on the Inquiry’s website.'

      Anonymous is quoting paragraph 7 of the Protocol. If he (or she) has read my Press release as far as "paragraph 7" of the protocol, why does s/he not quote paragraph 8?

      Which reads:

      "
      8. Following the conclusion of the Inquiry’s work, all Category 1 material will be transferred to the States of Jersey Archive in redacted form. All other information will be logged and then destroyed by the Inquiry or originals returned to the provider. A copy of the document log will be provided to the States of Jersey Archive, again redacted in accordance with the Inquiry’s redaction policy.”

      So, “Category 2 information” which is defined as “information that is relevant and material to the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference and is probative of them” (para. 6.2) will be “logged and then destroyed” (para. 8)

      Is that clear, Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous??



      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Yes, Health Minister Syvret may have mentioned his increasing concerns on a number of occasions:

      http://freespeechoffshore.nl/stuartsyvretblog/the-publics-inquiry-into-the-public-inquiry-starts-here/

      Delete
  7. May as well give up on the Col, including everybody who gave evidence and forget it all then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No @07:17 -The battle to protect children and nail shysters will never be over.

      The CoI could and should have done this but it is merely a very expensive stepping stone.

      With the right political will, the cost of this fiasco could be placed on Eversheds and those who directed them.

      Delete
    2. Eversheds, or is it Applebys, or was it Platt, are there any major local Legal Firms left?

      Delete
  8. I share (most of) DW’s concerns about the Inquiry's website – which has been a disaster waiting to happen since its inception. It was clearly never designed to function as a document management/research tool - the Inquiry has OPUS/MAGNUM for that. We, the general public and anyone else without privileged access to MAGNUM, have been palmed off with a virtually unuseable mish-mash of transcripts, evidence and other stuff, and a set of "protocols" - especially those quoted by DW - which are at best ambiguous, if not downright ridiculous.

    The fact is that the website was never anthing more than a token gesture in response to the legitimate public interest in the Inquiry. It was set up as a mere chronological on-line document dump, with zero concern for how users might find what they are looking for. And now, for want of competent professional attention, it is falling apart, technically, and it is being badly "managed" (for want of a better word) by people who clearly have no idea about document and information management. Who, in their right mind, for example, would post a single 228-Mbyte 2336-page PDF document for downloading? Or a single 2767-page PDF containing a random bunch of over 300 items - without even proving an index with PDF page numbers?

    Whilst I applaud DW's determination to get answers to his enquiries to the Inquiry, I don't hold out much hope. If it’s true, as suggested HERE, that the website will remain "on air" for only 12 months after the report is published, then any such rebuilding exercise would likely be seen, by many, as a terrible waste of time and money. At this late stage it would be far easier to rebuild a complete new website offering the research tools DW asks for, than it would be to "fix" the existing site. If anyone doubts that, they might like to ask the people who built it: C5 Alliance for an estimate.

    It wouldn't help, either, that the company that designed it and was (still is?) responsible for "ongoing website support during the course of the Inquiry" (see Inquiry support team) has gone AWOL.

    The best we can do, I fear, is salvage what we can, while we can.

    RL

    ReplyDelete
  9. That evidence from any witness - and particularly witnesses for the case of the victims - may be wiped is a bloody disgrace and smacks of behind doors collusion with the establishment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fait, according to the protocol Paragraph 8 Category 1 information WILL be preserved. category 1 information is::

      "evidence given and referred to during oral hearings. This will include witness statements of those witnesses giving oral evidence and those that are taken as read in to the Inquiry’s record." Protocol Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Redaction" paragraph 6.1

      My beef is I simply do not know, nobody knows, what is included in category 2 information and it is this information which the protocol as it stands, says will be destroyed by the Inquiry.

      And yet this information is "relevant and material to the Inquiry's Terms of Reference"

      If it is relevant, why bin it?

      Delete
  10. Heard on the radio that they are not destroying any evidence but finding a way to securely store it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then the Inquiry needs to amend its protocol and there should really be some external oversight of how the information screening and storage is implemented.

      The Inquiry has proved to be a first class bungler and can not even be trusted to implement its own protocols correctly.

      Its plans for one-year-plus where access is intended to be restricted to FOI requests is a disgrace and needs to be challenged.

      Where are the States of Jersey while all of this is going on. They commissioned the Inquiry. They then ignored the Inquiry flouting its terms of reference. Now they seem happy to see the bulk of the information collected by the Inquiry sinking into oblivion or being destroyed.

      If I were an investor and saw this alarmingly sloppy behaviour by the legislature, I'd take my funds elsewhere.

      Delete
    2. I think there may be a difference between "evidence" by which they seem to mean, oral evidence given in public hearings, together with witness statements, and "background information" - stuff they have read, which is relevant (that is why they read it) which is probably absolutely key to understanding the issues and understanding how they arrived at whatever conclusions they reach.

      The first they have said they will keep.

      The second category, the relevant background stuff, their Protocol says they will destroy, but what the Police's lawyer, Advocate MacRae says in the Inquiry shows that they at one time intended to keep.

      So, the question is: will they destroy, or will they keep?

      Their statement DOES NOT ANSWER THIS QUESTION.

      And it gives no reassurance whatsoever on the other 24 questions I raised with them in June 2016 either.

      Delete
  11. As a direct result of VFC publishing Daniel's Press Release, BBC Radio Jersey has broadcast a very informative piece this morning which we hope to publish on Rico Sorda's Blog tonight. Also the Care Inquiry has issued a (characteristically very short, not very reassuring) response:

    "26 April 2017
    ​The Panel of the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry on Tuesday (26 April) issued the following statement:

    "The Inquiry wishes to reaffirm that the evidence it has received will not be destroyed. Arrangements for securing and preserving Inquiry data are under active consideration."

    Published HERE.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like I said. Well done VFC and Daniel.

      What does the Inquiry mean by RE-affirm? When did they first affirm? And what is covered here by the term "evidence"?

      The Inquiry is a slippery creature and this short minimalist "reassurance" is contemptible. It reads like a piece carefully redacted by their lawyers.

      Be nice if Frances Oldham put in an appearance before the media, looked them in the eye, and repeated that assurance. Then we could judge for ourselves. Maybe.

      Delete
    2. exactly.

      see my comment above

      daniel

      Delete
  12. Isn't the web site technical stuff handled by C5. C5 founded and substantially owned by Mark Loane. http://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2016/12/14/it-pioneer-facing-indecent-assault-charges/ What happened in that court case anyway?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would have been dealt with at Parish Hall.

      Delete
    2. Was referred to Royal Court for 7 February.

      Delete
  13. What The Actual F**k!?!?!?

    "A 48-year old digital pioneer has appeared in court charged with indecently assaulting a girl.

    Mark Beaufort Loane yesterday appeared in the Magistrate’s Court to face the charges.

    Mr Loane recently resigned as Chief Executive of C5, an IT solutions company, and has recently stepped down as a Board member at Digital Jersey.

    Magistrate Bridget Shaw told Mr Loane that his case was being transferred to the Royal Court and set a date of the 7 February."

    http://www.bailiwickexpress.com/jsy/news/man-court-indecent-assault-charges/#.WQJJpfkrK00

    Wow...just....wow!

    This is extraordinary. So many of us have had problems with the COI web site. It's been astonishingly rubbish, from the day it started, and still is now, as your previous posting demonstrated so well. And it has other very very worrying problems. For example, the amazing removal from the chronological Panel Acts list in the Key Documents section of the Panel Act which constructively excluded the then whistle blowing Health & Social Services Minister Stuart Syvret by trying to force conditions on him before they'd give him legal representation.

    Why has that key, historically important 'Panel Act' been removed from Key Documents and instead is buried and hidden elsewhere on the web site?

    Who did that? Who authorised it?

    OK, the COI can be forgiven for not being aware of possible risks posed by this man. And I presume the full trial hasn't happened yet? So he could be innocent.

    But these events clearly raise the general possibility that the Jersey public inquiry into child-abuse could possibly, and I accept, unknowingly, have had people working for it who might have a predilection for sexual abuse of other people, and therefore an interest in sabotaging proper and effective investigation into such things in Jersey. And if it comes to be that this was the case for the COI in this case, then who's to say it hasn't happened again, with other individuals?

    These events do now unavoidably generate a duty and requirement on the COI Panel to review the performance and conduct of those who they've closely worked with, and consider the performance of each of them, and contemplate the question, if questionable or poor performance is discovered, if that person could have had a conflict of interest.

    ReplyDelete