Saturday, August 9, 2008

Jersey Abuse Victims – Why Are People Not Being Charged?

Lawyers for victims want to know why more people haven’t been charged and say the lack of charges have been beyond devastating to their clients.

There are 80 or more suspects in the abuse investigation, yet only three have been charged.

Lawyer Philip Sinel said "known perpetrators are not being arrested, let alone prosecuted".

Mr Sinel, who represents alleged victims, said: "The effect on my clients on a day to day basis of the failure to prosecute is severe.

"I am sure you will appreciate that my clients were severely damaged as children, accordingly, they are hurt, scared and scarred.

"A failure to prosecute and convict would be the ultimate betrayal of them by the Government, it would be the ultimate rejection of them and of their rights as human beings."

He added that a recent arrest and subsequent release of a suspect had sent a "very strong message" to his clients that the "police are being thwarted by those in charge of the prosecution".

The government has dismissed allegations of a desire to sweep the scandal under the carpet and says an independent inquiry into childcare on the island will be instituted once the criminal proceedings are completed.

However, retired DCO Lenny Harper said "an old boy network" was obstructing investigations.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I can quite clearly say that the investigation is being held up.

"There are people on the island who just don't want us going down the route of this inquiry."

From Harper's stinging interview in the Telegraph:
"We are walking through treacle at the moment," he said. "One file has been with the Attorney General's office since April 29 and it's still showing no signs of moving at the moment. It's been very frustrating.

"The ordinary people of Jersey are overwhelmingly in favour of the inquiry, but how many expressions of support and sympathy for the victims have we heard from the politicians? None. They don't do sympathy for the victims."