Thursday, 13 November 2008

1/ Discredit Evidence 2/ Just a Matter of Interpretation

1/a)Warcup and Gradwell denigrate evidence, questioning validity of the scope of the HDLG investigation.

1/b) The person with ultimate responsibility, Graham Power, is suspended

2/ a) Frank Walker and co. question the legitimacy of resourcing the investigation, based on discredited evidence.

2/b) Without evidence, and possibly the will to resource the investigation adequately for the future, what happened at HDLG becomes a matter of interpretation.

In other words, the A to B of turning a major police enquiry into a minor one.

The JEP's headline of 12/11 must be the most stupid headline ever. "There were no murders" Without being God or some other omnipresent being, how on earth would anyone know that there had been no murders? Perhaps the evidence is questionable. Even so, logical thinking leads to the belief that murders were not unlikely. There are plenty of witness statements of abuse and cruelty, children were not properly protected while in care, even the latterly convicted paedophile, Paisnel, visited children's homes.

So why now? Why an evidence review at this particular moment? Senator Stuart Syvret spoke to the media in the Royal Square about these matters (pictured, by W. Walton). He raised concerns over the lack of transparency regarding the evidence - how bones had been tested, etc. He also considered it an opportune moment for the launch of this "evidence review" at a time when Jersey's establishment awaits the imminent publication of the Howard Leaugue's Report on youth justice and child custody. Without this review, a damning report on child custody practices would have doubtless been linked in the national media with the ongoing HDLG investigation, indicating a prolonged and recent lack of responsibility towards child care issues by Jersey's government. Now that the waters have been muddied, the report's publication is less likely to provoke such a big story in the national media.

Perhaps that will be some comfort to the establishment figures of this Island. But there is no doubt they have failed and that over the years they have been culpable of child neglect. Over the last few decades Jersey has been a place with "money coming out of its ears", but clearly not enough money to fund the proper care of children; not enough money to support parents in need; not enough money to fund foster care. Jersey had the means to support parents who couldn't cope, even now it does not have a Surestart programme as in the UK. It had the means to fund foster care, enabling the many good people in Jersey who would like to offer respite to children, to have the space and time to spend on children. And as a last resort it had the means to ensure that children staying in group homes were well cared for, and it didn't.

The publication of the Howard League's report will offer a way to reflect and improve on past practices. It is imperative that it does not get discredited too.

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