Friday, August 1, 2008

Haut de la Garenne – Jersey Abuse - Can Justice Be Served?

~Haut de la Garenne

In an attempt to counter claims that Jersey is unable to cope with the scale and intricacy of the child abuse investigation at the Haut de la Garenne care home, William Bailhache said he is confident the island's legal forces are able to deliver justice.

Those of you who believe that – press your true buzzer now!

The Guardian reports: In a rare interview with the BBC, Bailhache said that although the inquiry could be difficult and slow, it was "more important that justice be done".

His comments came as the outgoing head of the child abuse inquiry, Lenny Harper, alleged he faced "political hostility" during his investigations, and MPs in the UK and Jersey made a two-pronged attempt to get the justice minister, Jack Straw, to intervene in the investigation and bring charges against the accused on the mainland.

In an interview this morning on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Bailhache said: "The delivery of justice is an objective process, and it's difficult sometimes for those who are caught up in this sort of process to understand all the ramifications of how it works.

Am I the only one who finds this insulting?

"One can feel sorry for that but it's more important that justice should be done. We've been delivering justice in this island for centuries and I don't see how this makes any difference."

Who’s justice? The difference is, the systematic cover-up has been exposed and people want more than the usual smoke and mirrors!

Bailhache also spoke of a specific set of conditions created by the size of Jersey.

"It is difficult for people outside to understand that in a small place you are particularly aware of the need to behave properly, behave appropriately, to have the integrity to take decisions which need to be taken.

Well, actions speak louder than words. So far, we aren’t impressed!

"I have had to consider the position of politicians and ministers and I have done that."

He went on to say that as an independent appointment he was in a position to take "fearless" decisions.

Hmmm Billy, why aren’t folks being prosecuted? Bailing someone when there is pretty solid evidence? Oh, maybe bailing people is what you consider a "fearless" decision!

Stuart Syvret, the Jersey States senator who drew public attention to the allegations of child abuse at the home, and John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, have both called for a judicial review of five cases where suspects have not been charged.

The Labour MP, Austin Mitchell, has tabled a Commons motion calling for an independent inquiry to be carried out by a judge from the British mainland. He said he lacked confidence in the island's authorities and feared a "prevailing desire to sweep scandal and abuse under the carpet".

Harper, the deputy chief officer, who retires next week, said he thought many on the island would support Mitchell's proposal but said the island's parliament had not been supportive.

"What has made this significantly different from many similar inquiries I've been involved with is the political hostility it has engendered," he said.

"Politicians one would normally think should be crawling over themselves to offer support to the inquiry and the victims - with a few notable exceptions that hasn't happened here. The only intervention most of them seem to have made is to criticize the investigation."

Esther Ranzten, founder of Childline, has called for the Bailiff to apologize in the States to the victims of child abuse.

This Is Jersey reports: Having just visited the Island, where she met the local NSPCC and ChildLine volunteers, Ranzten described Jersey as a ‘beautiful island full of warm-hearted people’. But she added that with a population of 90,000, Jersey was too small to handle an inquiry of this scale.

Oh! Yes, the sarcasm was intended - every last bit of it!