Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Is Justice In Jersey Scandal Nothing More Than A Cruel Joke?

Jersey's AG William Bailhache has decided there is "insufficient evidence" to bring a prosecution in one of cases related to the abuse investigation.

In June, the Bonners were arrested and questioned regarding claims from three victims of ‘excessive corporal punishment’ between 1967 and 1977. The allegations were of physical, not sexual, abuse.

The evidence was given to prosecutors on July 18 and was examined by a Jersey Crown advocate and a London law firm. They decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute and the file was passed to Bailhache to consider.

Law officers on Jersey said there was "significant conflict of evidence", some alleged victims questioned denying they had been abused and praising the care they received.

According to the BBC: Bailhache said, "The evidential test has not been passed, and it would be simply wrong to bring the prosecution."

The attorney general said: "I realize that this decision will come as a disappointment to the complainants in the case and possibly to others who have made statements to the police or are considering doing so."

He said he was making a statement about the case because of criticism about its handling.

"I am obviously aware that assertions have been made, without any basis or foundation, that justice will not be done in the child abuse investigations that are taking place.

"Indeed, it is for that reason that I am making this full statement as to why a decision not to prosecute has been taken in this case."

He added that he wanted "all those who have any relevant evidence to give in the current child abuse investigation to contact the police and to make statements".

"That is the only way the prosecution will be able to reach a fully informed decision on the evidential test in the various cases that come before us for consideration."

Ok, ya with me so far?

In a complete departure from standard practice, Jersey police, after submitting the evidence to lawyers, were given the go-ahead to arrest the Bonners.

What you read above is Bailhache’s spin on the matter.

Now, here is what Lenny Harper has to say: At 5pm Simon Thomas declared to the investigators that he had revised his view and said he did not want the couple charged. The officers were extremely surprised and not a little frustrated.

He said he had revised his opinion because of new evidence that had emerged during the day. I asked what that evidence was and he gave me three “developments.”

1. Mrs. Bonner was unwell. I explained the situation in respect of her and that the Police Doctor thought she was feigning. I explained that she was obtaining the woman’s medical notes and would further advise at 6.30pm. In the event, the Doctor declared the suspect fit for detention and interview. I questioned however, whether this could be said to be new evidence which affected the decision to charge.

2. Simon then told me that a witness called Drake had rung the Custody Officer and said we had made a mistake, and that we had the wrong people in custody. I pointed out that Drake had made a witness statement which Simon had seen and which he had taken into account when recommending which charges should be preferred. Drake had not added any new evidence to what was in his statement.

3. The Bonners' children had telephoned and said their parents were good people and that they (the children) were now flying to Jersey. I asked Simon how that was new evidence as opposed to character evidence, and he said that they might have evidence relevant to the allegations as they lived in the same house. I pointed out that he knew that previously and also that they lived in a different part of the house.

So, evidence be damned, witnesses be damned, and what the hell – no need for a trial – Bailhache obviously believes he, and he alone, can determine a party’s guilt or innocence! He alone is judge and jury!

But, wait – there’s more! Remember the Maguires? That evidence file has been sitting on someone’s desk since April 29! Wait till you see what is happening with that!

For a real eye-opener, the entire Lenny Harper confidential report to Bailhache can be found on Senator Stuart Syvret Blog.

As livid as I am, I cannot fathom the anger and frustration being felt by the victims. The Jersey police, Stuart Syvret, Lenny Harper and countless others have put blood, sweat and tears into this investigation only to have to deal with the likes of that clown, William Bailhache!

Bailhache has made a laughing stock of himself and any so-called justice that may be found on Jersey.

Oh, and by the way Billy, just so you clearly understand – the assertions that justice will not be done in the child abuse investigations – they are made with solid basis and foundation!

As Senator Syvret so aptly put it, “It’s difficult to know what to make of this madness anymore.”

BBC audio with Lenny Harper and John Hemming MP