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Saturday, 6 September 2014

CITIZENS MEDIA EXCLUSION: JUST WHO IS CALLING THE SHOTS AT THE JERSEY CARE INQUIRY?


Few who have followed the evolution of the so-called 'Historic' Abuse Scandal in Jersey since the early days of struggle by Stuart Syvret and Messrs Power and Harper would deny that it has been a long and bumpy road to even reach where we are today. Indeed, there have been further scandals aplenty along the way - not least being the truly shocking and concerted efforts on the part of Jersey's Establishment to try and ensure an independent inquiry never happened at all. 

A Master class in how to destroy trust

Yet perhaps the recent about turn by the Committee Chairman, Francis Oldham QC resulting in Jersey's 'bloggers' suddenly and quite unceremoniously being prevented from reporting on hearings from the Media room - an inarguable breach of their own agreed Protocols surely - marks a new low in that it demonstrates our worst fears: this being that regardless of all the many assurances the Inquiry really isn't as independent from Establishment influence as those overseeing it would claim? 

After all, that the excuse for removing Voice For Children's Neil McMurray and former St. Martin Deputy, Bob Hill was stage-managed by the local BBC on behalf of the Jersey MSM - sorry,  the State Media - McMurray even being treated with such crass discourtesy that he was prevented from finishing his lunch in the building - is surely beyond question. Remember neither man had breached the COI's rules in any way whatsoever! Yet they are being penalised. We thus say it again - a true Master class in how to destroy trust by anyone's standards. Let alone long-suffering victims of the most horrendous abuse.

Aren't breaches of Protocol meant to apply to everyone?

The above is of course a stark contrast to the behaviour of the Jersey MSM itself since the Inquiry began. ITV (formerly Channel Television) had filmed witnesses arriving at the Inquiry building without ever asking their consent. BBC Jersey managed to go one better in their contempt and actually filmed victims INSIDE the Inquiry building! Yet were either of these 'accredited' media organisations barred like the wholly innocent Hill and McMurray? Of course they were not. Once again for experienced justice professionals who must understand winning - and maintaining - the trust of abuse victims is everything hardly a response from the Chairman and her team likely to engender it?

The excuse these sorry events have been hung upon is, of course, the somewhat farcical aggrandisement of being media 'accredited' and the even more mystical process by which someone can earn this most dubious of distinctions. For let the 'Not The State Media!' team be quite clear on something: 'accreditation' has nothing whatsoever to do with actual professionalism. For as has been reiterated time and time again by the abuse victims it is the bloggers - the citizens' media - whom they trust Trust simply because the victims know they have told the truth - and done so again and again even under the most vicious and heinous of attacks over many years. All while the likes of the BBC, ITV and Jersey Evening Post have done the exact opposite - even, of course, being quite willing to accept media awards for their lies. 

The danger is that victims will withdraw crucial evidence

Given that the Committee of Inquiry has long had access to the official review into the Financial Management of Operation Rectangle undertaken by a Scrutiny Sub-Panel I happened to Chair myself they surely cannot have failed to notice this rather disturbing truth: misreporting, distortion and even total fabrication of fact regarding the abuse scandal being spun to the Jersey public by the 'accredited' Jersey MSM is a phenomena that has existed since Establishment Grandees like Philip Bailhache and Frank Walker first got the inkling that Stuart Syvret would not be shutting up; and that Graham Power and Lenny Harper would not be signing up to 'the Jersey Way' like their predecessors had done.

Indeed, whether it be the fictional £7.5 million being wasted by Power and Harper; statements about bodies; coconuts or non-existent basement dungeons Jersey's State Media have lied, lied and lied again. Yet there they still sit in the Inquiry's media room whilst Hill and McMurray are now excluded. And it is the core reason as to why the pair's expulsion is so disturbing to so many victims. For to add a little personal testimony just as I have sat with the likes of Hill and McMurray in the past whilst victims bravely poured out their tales of abuse I have now also sat and listened as victims tell me they are no longer sure that they trust this Chairman or Inquiry. - and even feel they ought to withdraw their evidence lest it be distorted once more! I consequently ask: if final truth, accountability and closure is what we desire could we really wish a more negative development just because a few 'accredited' egos have been bruised by the peasants doing a more professional job?

Will Truth now be buried along with its Champions?

As one of the few political figures of the period who has already given two lengthy sessions of evidence to the Inquiry lawyers I have to say that the events outlined above also cause me personal misgivings as to whether doing the undeniably 'right thing' in the interests of justice will now prove anything more than contribution to at best a box-ticking exercise - at worst a whitewash. For example - and I don't wish to go into great detail until I feel the process is beyond salvage. I have already named a significant number of names involved in judicial failings with the evidence to back what I have said up. I have even given extensive details of a large amount of missing evidence relating to abuse at Haut de la Garenne - including several crates of letters from both distraught parents and lawyers - and with this the names of the States employees who took this harrowing material into their possession. Prior to it... disappearing again! Material that the States have of course not yet handed over!

With honest citizens media journalists like Neil McMurray and Bob Hill removed in such a shabby and unprofessional way what confidence can I now have myself that any of this - including the individuals who need to be named - will ever be reported to the wider public that they should know? I certainly cannot rely upon the 'accredited' media to do so. In fact what confidence can I now have if this 'independent' Inquiry is seemingly not actually so independent at all that this damning evidence will even ever get to be heard in public? Like the victims I too need some answers and fast.

Trevor Mark Pitman for the 'Not The State Media! blog 6/9/2014

50 comments:

  1. Ha-ha! Nice one Trevor. Still telling it like it is I see. This kicking out of Bob and Neil for doing absolutely nothing wrong says it all. A white wash beckons. What price all of these boxes of evidence you have unearthed have already been burned on the bar-b-que at Philly and Willy's? A bloody disgrace all round whichever way you look at. Give me the bloggers over the "State media" any day of the week.

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    1. Well, whatever has been done with this evidence the fact is the names of the people - high ranking people - who had the boxes last are in my possession. Make rather interesting witnesses to call for public questioning don't you think?

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    2. I think that one advantage of a formal COI is that witnesses have to swear an oath or something which encourages them (or even, heaven permit!, obliges them) to tell the truth?

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  2. Another example of the shameful Jersey Way. I totally condemn Nick Le Cornu's thoughtless use of words but what a shame the unwashed masses don't get so worked up about far more serious matters like this? Falsely conscious or what?

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    1. Again - rarely a truer word. How is it that some people can be so selective? Oh yes - its the State Media effect.

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    2. Is this not a very convenient and timely news story for the accredited media to run and milk to the nth degree?
      "Fire chaff for distraction"

      The Beano is not the Rag

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  3. The really worrying thing about the "bloggers' ban" development is what it appears to say about the Chair of the Inquiry. She is prepared to offend mere bloggers, despite their legitimate claims to be the only relevant media on the island, but she is clearly not prepared to offend the Establishment, in the form of compromised mainstream media.

    If she it prepared now to take this blatant stand in the full light of day, what will she do when faced with similar conflicts in the future, either in public or in private. If it were to be a choice between offending the Establishment or the survivors what would her predisposition be?

    She seems to be totally unaware of the importance of public perception and also of the very particular environment in which she is operating. That would make her unsuitable to chair the inquiry.

    On the other hand, if she is part of an Establishment front, determined to engage in damage limitation at the expense of justice, then she is not suitable to chair the inquiry.

    The onus is now on her to show why she thinks she is a suitable and fit person to chair the inquiry and not simply one of King Philip's court jesters.

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    1. I could not agree more. The bloggers are the legitimate media in Jersey. They have done the victims proud throughout the whole horrible scandal.

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    2. I should probably have said "courtiers" rather than "court jesters" as the latter had a licence to criticise the King albeit in a roundabout way.

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    3. POLO, you are spot on with this comment.

      Judge Butler-Sloss was challenged, because she could not demonstrate impartiality in the way she would conduct the national CSA (Child Sexual Abuse Inquiry), and she was forced to acknowledge that she was ujnsuitable and step down.

      Your questions are apt for our local chairman too.

      Question is - how can this be done politically. An urgent question in the States? Hmm, how likely is it that such a question would be allowed?

      Ideas, anyone???

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  4. Bean and wished I hadn't come back sometimes!6 September 2014 at 19:40

    Not getting involved in the Le Cornue witch-hunt then, Trevor? Good for you. He has made a prat of himself and a rod for his own back come the election. But odd for sure how only certain indiscretions get reported by our msm to make a gore-fest of biblical proportions? Remember the great Bailhache Himself and his scandalous disrespect to the very people, the victims you write about here on Liberation Day 2008? No calls for his head from the Pravda then dear boy! banning the citisens media is a very worrying sign of what is to come. Maybe you should publish your evidence yourself? Give them another excuse to try and shaft you? Regards to Shona and you both. We will win in the end.

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    1. Thanks for mentioning the Bailhache incident. It has given me a rather apt idea for a post to run by Stella and Hacked-Off.

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    2. Not to mention the episode of reading confidential police documents on a plane . . .

      And then saying he wasn't doing what he was doing . . .

      And then accusing those who were pursuing this whole story as liars!

      Not a peep of disquiet or shock horror from our msm, that I can recall, but maybe I am mistaken? Can someone confirm that radio J and CTV did not offer any critique of this behaviour?

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  5. Excellent post Trevor and team, you are right not to condemn the COI. It looks like as time goes forward they are more than capable of doing that themselves.

    Nick Le Cornu what a silly boy, notice the word silly and he has apologised. He did not call respectable people, lier's over a plane incident, then side step honest questions in Government, causing the person or people to go to the chief minister. You also asked for clarity from a man who is also a hypocrite saying if a minister lies then, that would be it, truthfullness is everything. The JEP certainly did not crucify Bailhache over that awful episode which should have had him resign or be demoted to backbencher.

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  6. What the Chairman surely needs to ask herself here is this. She is overseeing an inquiry into innocent people being abused, or to tone it down to make the point, being mistreated unfairly and for no reason. So what does she do? She then shows the victims that she is quite happy to mistreat/unfairly punish/abuse more innocent people! F**king ace!

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  7. Good post. If the COI intend this to be a whitewash, they've certainly tipped their hand by alienating so many of the survivors and their supporters. Anyone with a real interest in knowing about Jersey's institutional child abuse will have discovered the well-evidenced blogs and already be aware of the local mainstream media's complicity in the cover-up.

    We've entered an entirely new media era and the establishment is apparently still unaware of the rapid democratization of information. This is also true in the UK, where the past 24 hours have seen Tweeters (after brief Google searches) expose the inconceivably obvious conflicts of interest in yet another just-named establishment stooge Chairperson of the National CSA Inquiry there. Ongoing social media pressure for the newly named Chairperson to step down may yet again prevail. That potential power of the masses is unparalleled.

    The establishment doesn't get it in Jersey either. They simply do not control the flow of information any more. It was not only remarkably rude for the Jersey COI to treat Neil and Bob this way, it was entirely self-defeating. People who wish to know, do know and they know a whole lot more than the state media is allowed to tell them. Jersey blog readers may well know much more about critical aspects of child abuse in Jersey than the "accredited" mainstream media reporters in the media room do themselves. The more interest people have in the Jersey COI, the more likely they are to know how terribly shabby the exclusion of bloggers was.

    This COI will be judged in the future based on that democratized information flow, available to all. However great the gap between government sanctioned information and the evidence we can access ourselves on the internet, the ability to independently research objective evidence will ultimately determine the legacy of this COI.

    Elle

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    1. They say that 'to have a future you need to understand your past' don't they Elle. When you have some people and groups so intent on cover up that prospect becomes all the more difficult. The victims have been kicked in the teeth again by the crass kicking in the teeth of a couple of the people, true 'journalists' who stood up for and helped them.

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  8. I'm sure we can all seem to be 'prats' to other people some of the time, given the inevitable differences amongst us in tastes and opinions.
    Whenever I stop to chat to Nick in town he's a reasonable chap, and he's been dedicated to advancing social causes and working with tirelessly on behalf of his constituents, trying to improve the lot of the less advantaged of society.
    He has apologised and explained himself as best he can, so please cut the guy some slack, and be grateful for his good work.
    Most grown adults realise that we're all different and we forgive other people their foibles and mistakes, try to overlook our differences and celebrate the common ground we share. Focus on the good points people have, and life is much easier.
    I'm sure Nick will be explaining himself, door to door, to all his potential re-electors, and we'll see which way they will vote soon enough. Anyone who brings this up in the hustings will be revealing themselves to be small minded and antagonistic, cheap point scoring, and unworthy of a vote. I'm not too sure this reflects well on the party, either, a bit too quick to distance themselves rather than try to calm the waters. What a shame the Jersey parties never work out well!
    Let's move on please, nothing to see here. Either of the 'faking it' or the 'like good girls do' parts of the tweet on their own wouldn't have been picked up upon, it's the combination of the two that went down badly, and I hope Nick will think twice in future before making public comments that could cause outrage amongst those so keen to take offence and capitalise upon it.
    Let's please give him a chance to redeem himself. Like we'd all hope for, if it were us. If we stand by and let The Establishment do their usual skullduggery and use the State media to hound him out of office, we've lost a good man.

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  9. Very true. I chatted with Deputy Nick Le Cornu about all of this. Told him he was foolish in his choice of words and that an apology was necessary. He understands this I believe and I believe that it will be in his interest to explain his actions in full to every person whose door he knocks on.

    To his credit he hasn't just adopted the Philip Bailhache approach and insulted everyone who has challenged him on his actions. The electorate will decide but in my experience the majority of people understand that one bit of stupidity does not automatically transform an individual - any individual - into the devil.

    Of course this is exactly what the State Media will try to do and are doing right now. Tis' called 'the Jersey Way'.

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  10. Hello. Your comment popped up whilst I was on the page. Can I ask politely that your readers stay on subject? The Deputy Le Cornu thing is a side-show compared to what your piece spells out very concisely. The care inquiry is slowly being corrupted before our eyes and this should be seen as deeply disturbing. The banning of the bloggers for no reason in Neil and Bob's can only have been authorised to control what was reported as far as is possible. It is simply wrong on so many levels.

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    1. David,

      I reckon that the signs were there from the very beginning.

      Try this post and see for yourself

      http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/jersey-child-abuse-committee-of-inquiry.html

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  11. A good and fair comment. In fact NTSM! may post a blog on the very subject so posters can comment on that story then.

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  12. This information you report about concealed boxes of evidence troubled me Deputy. Surely such an action is a crime and punishable? If you say you have the names of high up States employees who had the documents last and that they have now apparently gone missing again can these individuals not be called in by the Enquiry team and made to answer as to what has happened?

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    1. Yes, Anon - absolutely they can be. Whether they will only the Chairman can answer however. By the way, perhaps a slip on the keyboard but I am not a Deputy any longer. But still fighting for justice and accountability I am proud to say.

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  13. A new and very informative political blog in Jersey at last! Good luck with and more power to your collective elbows for having the guts and gumption to give us poor suffering plebs an alternative to the God-awful JEP and so forth.

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  14. Anonymous said

    This information you report about concealed boxes of evidence troubled me Deputy. Surely such an action is a crime and punishable? If you say you have the names of high up States employees who had the documents last and that they have now apparently gone missing again can these individuals not be called in by the Enquiry team and made to answer as to what has happened?

    If I have got this right The chair person Francis Oldham QC, is on record as saying it is not the job of the committee to pursue criminal charges in the event of submissions throwing up possible crimes, not exact quote by the way. After the way the police have gone silent regarding Rico Sorda's family criminal phone and internet abuser, therein lies the problem of a pick and choose, who you know police force.

    It is unlikly they would concern themselves with someone who shares the same paymaster being held to account.

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    1. Definitely punishable. Funnily enough some of us discussed this very potential scenario with the COI lawyers on the day of the launch. Evidence conveniently 'getting lost' is a common rearguard action by guilty authorities it appeared. It was also stated that 'losing' evidence in this way would be seen by the COI for what it must indicate: protecting guilty parties. What we need are for any people proven to have last had crucial evidence to then be prosecuted. They might actually sing then.

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  15. I understand that you don't want this thread to get sidetracked by the Deputy Le Cornu incident but I would say, if you will allow it, that it has been blown out of all proportion. It was silly and it was unpleasant for sure.It needed an apology. But it could hardly be seen as serious in the same context as what has happened to Rico Sorda at the hands of the John Haworth character while the police have done nothing. Where is the media coverage and condemnation of this? It just shows the double standards.

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    1. Not James Le Gallais! (Couldn't resist)8 September 2014 at 22:53

      Now there is an indisputable fact. Made even more worthy of news coverage when you consider that the first person the Filthy Rag quotes attacking Le Cornu under the guise of Graham73 is the very woman abuser itself! Priceless.

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  16. Do you know when we are likely to have the chance to hear political figures like yourself giving public evidence? I particularly want to hear former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis.

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    1. Oh yes. Lewis has a lot of explaining to do. He should have been prosecuted.

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    2. If it is true that this COI is fatally flawed, then there arises the very real and serious question: is it the right course of action to tell it what you know, give evidence, be on their list of "people who contributed their time" etc.? Or is it wiser to just walk away and let it sink because they have no one left who is prepared to engage with them?

      The first course of action gives the COI legitimacy. If it is true that it is indeed a no-good Inquiry, then we should not do this. If on the other hand we have faith in it, then we should give them all we know.

      I refer readers to this post on VFC. It is a bit of a read but it does spell out all the problems with this COI.

      http://voiceforchildren.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/jersey-child-abuse-committee-of-inquiry.html

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    3. A VFC post well worth reading.

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    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  17. It is sad to see how important concerns like those you raise here always get dwarfed by sleaze and gossip of the sort that fills the tabloids instead of news. Just look at the amount of vitriolic and ignorant tripe being posted to Voice on the Le Cornu interview. This isn't an attack on that excellent blog by the way. I am just saying that so many of the comments )and I suspect a significant number are sent by the same weirdo anyway) are just base insults almost as foolish as Le Cornu's Tweet itself. All very sad because Voice have done an interview far superior in terms of har-hitting journalism than our accredited media do in a month of Sundays.If our accredited media were honest or any good they would be ringing you up about these boxes of evidence because how you say they came to be hidden, found and gone missing again has to be dynamite if you have names to give. But have you had such a call? I very much doubt it.

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    1. No. You are correct I haven't had any such call. Perhaps ITV were too busy breaching the Data Protection Law somewhere? As per Neil's interview of Deputy Le Cornu - yes it was far superior in terms of an honest grilling than anything we are likely to see from the State Media. Perhaps someone should ask Francis Oldman to compare it with her 'accredited' journalists in the COI media room?

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  18. Hello Trev

    Told you today that I would find the new blog. I really just want to say that wonder what message all of this sends out to people looking at Jersey from afar? They must think we are some kind of 15th Century backwater with lordlings and slaves. It isn't just the inquiry stuff either.

    Look at this woman who had an intruder and the police can't do anything. It is crazy. If someone comes into your house uninvited and unknown to you they are clearly there for no good. What possible excuse could they have if taken to court? I would argue none.

    Then you have the serial abuser Deputy Higgins is asking questions about tomorrow. Once again it appears that unlike other places in the world in Jersey someone can develop a fixation with a lady and seek to make her life a living nightmare while police do nothing whatsoever. Alright so possibly this on the orders of the Attorney General but that is surely even worse?

    And then you hear the excuse for a police officer crashing his car and lucky not to have killed some innocent person having fallen into a 'micro sleep'! What the hell is that all about? You, me or the dog wouldn't get away with that would we? This island is so messed up and I don't even have the answers as what should be done.

    Maybe I should just move to Guernsey? Now just the thought shows how bad things must be!

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  19. Apologies - just answered under the wrong question so deleted. But with reference to Andrew Lewis - yest he should have been prosecuted. Happy to ruin a man's career by citing 'damning evidence' that did not exist!

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    1. Notice how Deputy Higgins' second question was out of time. Convenient. And all because 'politicians' who have been Trappist monks for three years just happen to be asking questions - a month before an election!

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  20. Reference your Tweet about Ian Le Marquand. If what you say is true that he knew all details of the Haworth threats made to ruin Mrs Sorda's career and the latest death threat about another person because he had listened to the audio isn't this an offence for PPC? Should it not also be something the mainstream media pursued in the same fashion they have gone after Le Cornu?

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  21. You can see why Tim Le Cocq is being made Deputy Bailiff. Just one of the boys ready to say absolutely anything.

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  22. In answer to a not for publication comment. No one of the names is not RJ

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  23. Can you tell us when the next post will be up please? I think you had said you were planning them on a weekly basis? Not a moan I just don't have a lot of time so tend to read the main stories blogs put up more checking that regularly on peoples comments.

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  24. Don't know if you saw it probably not if you don't buy Pravda. But a great piece of fiction published yesterday claiming that Jersey police deal with cyber crime!

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    1. There are some scans of previous JEPravda false propaganda on this subject presented by the father of deceased cyber bully victim Simon Abbot:

      http://dearjon-letter.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/jerseys-two-faced-cops.html

      an utterly shocking read which echoes Rico Sorda's family experience of establishment bullying and police failure.

      It would be useful if someone could scan the latest JEP "PR" [Par Rectum] offering and make it available to bloggers.

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  25. Can you define 'cyber crime' please?

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  26. A brand new blog will be up either at 8pm this evening or 10am tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

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