Monday, 29 April 2013

Jersey's Dean, Victory or Climb Down ????

Yesterday there was a press release stating that the Dean had been reinstated. The news was met with jubilation by the Dean’s supporters who believed that the withdrawal of the Dean’s Commission had been unfair and in the words of Senator Bailhache “was disproportionate to any alleged failings of the Dean.”

There are others who believe that the reinstatement is a climb down or a U turn by the Bishop. It will be for the respective camps to justify their claims but I do not believe the reinstatement is a victory for Senator Bailhache but if there is a climb down by the Bishop, he is not alone. I do however believe the matter has been badly handled and the leading players are now attempting to justify decisions taken some weeks if not years ago.

I have always deplored lengthy suspensions because of the impact they not only have on the employee but also on their family. John Day and Graham Power and others were cruelly suspended for years yet unlike the Dean they were not supported by the Church, Chief Minister, and Senator Bailhache etc. Why? I understand that a police officer who had been suspended since last November has recently been told that his suspension has been lifted with no charges forthcoming but where was the outcry where were the prayers?

I am pleased that the Dean’s Commission has been reinstated because it now seems to have been a pointless exercise. However we are not party to what the “new Commission” is? The Bishop now appears to have acted decisively and humanely but questions need to be asked as to what was the real reason for the withdrawal in the first place? Normally suspensions are instigated to allow for the completion of investigations into the complaint; however the Investigation/Visitation has not been completed. So was the suspension because of the Dean’s failings or to bring him to heel?

For those who claim a victory or climb down it is worth reflecting on the Press Statement.

It should be noted that although the Dean has publicly apologised to HG he has not done so personally. I hope that along with the Bishop and Archbishop they will feel “humble, Christian and Godly enough” to meet HG and personally apologise to her, anything less is not an apology. This morning I heard the Dean and the Bishop’s interviews on Radio Jersey but little if anything was said about the lady at the centre of the affair. Why?

It is apparent that in addition to the apology, as part of the re-instatement “package” the Dean has effectively had to eat the proverbial “humble pie” and “climb down” by accepting the alleged failings referred to by Senator Bailhache.

1. He has confirmed that he shares the Bishop of Winchester’s and Archbishop of Canterbury’s stated commitment to safeguarding in the Diocese and the wider Church. (Did he not share that commitment before the suspension?)

2. He has also agreed that, in the light of recent events, there are areas in Jersey Canon Law which would benefit from further review and is committed to working with the Bishop as necessary to revise them. (Were these issues not discussed before the suspension, if not why not?)

3. He regrets the mistakes he made in the safeguarding processes and upon reflection, it would have been more helpful if he had co-operated more fully with the Korris Review. (What mistakes are being regretted and why did the Dean not co-operate with Jan Norris?)

4. He will be co-operating with the Visitation and Investigation announced by the Bishop on 26 March. Together with the Bishop he is committed to the importance of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults in Jersey and to working to ensure the safeguarding procedures of the Diocese achieve this as part of the whole Church's mission." (Surely as Dean, does he not have a duty to co-operate?)

In relation to the Visitation it should be recalled that in the Korris Report/Review the following potentially very serious matters came to light relating to the Dean which must be investigated as soon as possible these include;

1) Allowing a church warden to operate in contravention of the Safeguarding procedures and the training he had undertaken.

2) Failure to notify the Safeguarding Advisor on receipt of the complaint.

3) Failure to implement and act in accordance with Diocesan Safeguarding Procedure in the handling of the initial complaint interview.

4) Failure to record and make all documentation available for a review of a Safeguarding matter as required by the Safeguarding procedures.

5) Despite the request of the Bishop of Winchester, unwillingness to permit review of safeguarding practice and also discouraging others from participating.

The Report also stated that there will also be a need for an investigation into the deportation of H.G. on 11th October 2010 and why there is a complete lack of recording of this matter by Dean from the date of her arrest. (I will return to this matter later.)

Are these matters going to be addressed or will they be swept under the carpet as part of the “package deal?”

The way people in positions of responsibility process allegations of abuse is at the very heart of the complaint. We have seen how the BBC failed to address allegations of abuse about Jimmy Savile. His victim’s claims were conveniently ignored because of who people perceived Savile to be. The victims like HG were deemed to be trouble makers, but now it has been established that Savile was guilty, those who dealt with the initial allegations are now conveniently apologising for their “mistakes.” What a let off. What about the victims?

Jersey is so concerned about the reporting mechanism that in the impending Historic Abuse Inquiry that issue is part of the Terms of Reference. Yet it appears that the Dean’s handling of HG complaint can be dismissed by way of an admission that it was a mistake along with an apology which has not been given to HG. However was the complaint not dealt with properly because of whom the Church Warden was or was it a genuine mistake? Will the Visitation provide an answer?

HG is now being demonised because according to some people she has made a similar complaint before. I understand that allegation has no substance however if it was true, that does not deny her or anyone else being treated fairly when making a similar allegation. The Dean’s problem is not that he is the abuser but that he failed to address the matter in a professional way to which he has now accepted and apologised. So it matters not who the complainant is.

What has been forgotten is that it was not only the Dean who failed HG but so did the former Bishop of Winchester and the failures have had serious repercussions for her. In her quest for justice she did make regular email contact with both men, however to solve their problem HG was arrested early on a Sunday morning taken to the police station and detained overnight before appearing in court and being remanded in custody for two weeks. In previous Blogs I have mentioned the arrest and that I have asked the Chief Minister to instigate an investigation. Given the Dean’s admission to his failings surely HG is entitled to a review of her arrest and conviction.

Once I have further information about the arrest I will publish another Blog on the arrest. What is now is now evident is that after being convicted, HG was placed into a police car which called at her lodgings, she was not allowed to collect her belongings but was left in the car whilst a police officer collected some of her clothing before driving her to the airport and putting her on a plane. She arrived in Southampton in the dark with no support or friends to meet her. This is the way Jersey treats people who make abuse complaints. 

I heard Matthew Price on Radio Jersey this morning interviewing Bishop Dakin. Matthew repeatedly pressed the Bishop about HG’s welfare and official apology but he would not be forthcoming, no wonder HG has any confidence in the Church of England. However to her credit she is willing to see John Gladwin. I hope she fares better with that former Bishop.

For the convenience of new readers my 3 previous Blogs on the Dean’s suspension can be accessed by clicking onto the websites below.

Friday, 22 March 2013The Dean, Bishop and Good Shepherds, Fact or Fiction?

Wednesday, 3 April 2013The Dean---- And a Voice in the Wilderness 
Monday, 22 April 2013Jersey's Dean and the Victim's Tale

Monday, 22 April 2013

Jersey's Dean and the Victim's Tale

Readers who have been following my two previous “Dean Blogs” below will be aware that considerable concern has been expressed about the health and whereabouts of the victim known as HG. Last Thursday a person purporting to be HG made contact with me and after making relevant checks I am satisfied as to her authenticity.

The matter is now quite involved but in summary, in July 2008 HG made a complaint to Jersey’s Dean about being the victim of inappropriate conduct by a church warden. She felt her complaint had not been satisfactorily addressed so made a complaint to the former Bishop of Winchester. Again she felt her concerns had not been addressed to her satisfaction. She informed the police but they found there was insufficient evidence to support criminal charges.

HG sought justice for two years and it is alleged that she harassed both the Dean and former Bishop which led to her arrest in September 2010. She was held in police custody and remanded in La Moye prison for 2 weeks before being bound over to leave the Island for three years. Having read the Court Transcript I have serious concerns about the circumstances of the arrest, detention and conviction and have made repeated requests to the Chief Minister to instigate an investigation but my request has fallen on deaf ears. On HG’s return to the UK she was again arrested in July 2011for harassment and incarcerated. HG is autistic and since returning to the UK she has no fixed abode or employment.

However HG’s plea for justice has led to a review by Jan Korris into the circumstances of her complaint, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the current Bishop of Winchester have both issued a public apology although HG claims she has not been officially made aware of it. In addition to the withdrawal of the Dean’s Commission a visitation/investigation by John Gladwin is underway. These are all positive actions but have come so late in the day and at a horrific personal price.

Given her experience it is not surprising that HG has lost all confidence and trust in the Police and the Church and feels most aggrieved at the insensitive manner in which both Bodies have treated her.

It is evident that there is a body of people including Senator Bailhache who feel that the Dean has been treated unfairly, the withdrawal of his Commission is both unreasonable and unconstitutional and the Dean should be reinstated. However it is disappointing that the very same group have displayed little or no sympathy/support for the victim HG who is now regarded as the villain.

The group from Jersey is exerting pressure on the Archbishop of Canterbury to intervene and for Bishop Dakin to reconsider his decision to withdraw the Dean's Commission and have him reinstated by Liberation Day on 9th of May. What is evident is that both men are not being swayed and are holding firm with the decision taken some six weeks ago. It is a fact that the Dean’s Commission has been withdrawn; we should all be pressing for the Visitation to be undertaken without any undue delay. I have expressed that view to Winchester and asked that a completion target date is made known.

Whilst there is considerable support for the Dean it is apparent that the forgotten person is HG. She tells me that her experience at the hands of the Police and Church has been life changing. She now has a criminal record, has little trust for anyone and her wounds are deep but has been encouraged by the support she has found via the Blogs and that is why she has contacted me for advice and support which I am happy to give and to act as her intermediary when necessary.

My first concern is for HG’s health and safety, the need for her to have a sense of her own value and know there are people who are concerned for her well being and are prepared to help her if she will let them. However this process will take time and patience but time can be a healer.

This Blog gives an update on the sorry affair. I titled my last Blog “A Voice in the Wilderness” HG’s voice is now being heard and this Blog will provide for a wider platform for it to be heard and I urge those tasked with sorting out the sorry mess will do so in a spirit of goodwill, unison and urgency. Above all else they should remember that HG is a real person who has suffered at the hands of professional people.

In my first "Dean Blog" I questioned the ability of our Health, Social Services, Police, Courts, Legal Advisors and other relevant agencies and were they fully trained and resourced to respond to people like HG. It is now evident that they, including the Church of England have much to learn and must do better.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The Dean---- And a Voice in the Wilderness

There have been a number of developments since I published my last Blog, regretfully the Dean is now on the sick list suffering from stress and I am sure we wish him a speedy recovery.

The Terms of Reference have been published.

Senator Bailhache has written an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his ‘deep dismay’ over the suspension of the Dean saying the Bishop made a ‘mistake.’ The Letter can be accessed here

It is also alleged that Senator Bailhache was a little careless with his documents on a recent flight.

I have again written to the Chief Minister asking that he instigate an investigation into the circumstances leading to HG’s arrest and court appearances.

The Terms of Reference (TOR)

The Bishop of Winchester has published the Terms of Reference for an independently led inquiry - ‘Visitation’ - into safeguarding procedures in the Deanery of Jersey. The Visitation will commence with immediate effect and will consider the implementation of safeguarding in Jersey and across the Diocese, providing recommendations for enhancing policies and procedures.

The Visitation is being led by the former Bishop of Chelmsford the Right Reverend John Gladwin who led a recent Visitation to Chichester. He will be joined on the panel by the Venerable Norman Russell, Archdeacon of Berkshire and an independent senior lawyer.

It should be noted that the Visitation to Chichester was the first such appointment of Commissaries for over 100 years and was evidence of the deep concern held in the Church of England for the diocese and its failure properly to protect children in its care. Thus it is apparent that the same concerns are felt about the circumstances surrounding HG’s complaint in 2008.

The Chichester Visitation began on 21st December 2011, an Interim Report was published on 30th August 2012 but I am not aware of the existence of a Final Report so presumably the investigation which began 15 months ago is not concluded. It should be noted that John Gladwin has now begun his Jersey investigation which is intended to be fair and independent, but no target is set for its completion. Given the time taken with the Chichester Visitation, Jersey’s could take as long which is not good news for Dean Bob Key or his wife.

I shall be forwarding this Blog to Winchester and Canterbury with a request that the Dean and indeed the Island is given some indication of the time the investigation is intended to take. I have assisted a number of suspended people and am well aware of the stress and trauma they and their families suffered. As we know in Jersey, some lengthy suspensions have been used as device to dismiss by stealth or de-skill employees whereby they are unfit to return to work. I would not wish for the Dean or anyone else to suffer the same experience.

I shall also be asking for an update on HG’s health and assurance that she is being cared for. I believe the Church of England has a duty to safeguard her health and well being until she is able to stand on her own two feet.

The Visitation will also include an investigation into the findings of the recently published Independent Korris Review which raised concerns about how a safeguarding complaint in 2008 was handled. Given the allegations contained in the Review/Report one wonders when the Dean and the Vicar will be able to defend the allegations.

Full Terms of Reference are below and my comments are in red

In order to secure the good order of the Church for the mission of God in promoting the common good, And given the importance of safeguarding as an expression of the Gospel priority to care for the vulnerable, And with reference to the Korris Review,

The Bishop of Winchester hereby:

1. Appoints as his Commissary for Visitation of the Parishes of the Deanery of Jersey the Right Reverend John Gladwin.

From research via Yahoo it apparent that John Gladwin is a modern thinking and opened minded individual. His Interim Report into the Chichester Visitation can be accessed here.

2. Directs that during the period of the Visitation, all issues relating to or affecting Safeguarding within the Parishes of the Deanery of Jersey shall be dealt with solely as directed by the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser and the Diocesan Safeguarding Panel, and by no other.

The Church of England of England is clearly reminding Jersey clergy that all safeguarding matters are solely within its remit and not as envisaged by the Dean.

3. Mandates that the Visitation shall be limited in its scope to:

a. clarifying and describing the legal, ecclesiastical and practical nature of the relationship between the Deanery of Jersey, the Diocese of Winchester and the wider Church of England, including the roles of the Bishop of Winchester, the Suffragan Bishops, the Archdeacons, Diocesan staff, the Dean and Vice-Deans of Jersey and the ecclesiastical courts of Jersey in relation to the appointments process, the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people, disciplinary provisions and the general oversight of the Deanery of Jersey.

I trust that the position of the Letters Patent is clarified so they are understood by everyone. I also hope that the matter of the Dean remaining an unelected Member of the States will be addressed. It seems anomalous that an employee can be suspended from one area of work but not from another.

b. examining progress made in implementation of and actions taken in accordance with the Diocesan Safeguarding provisions (Winchester Diocese Child Safeguarding Manual, 2003), the current House of Bishops’ Guidelines (Promoting a Safe Church, 2006, Protecting All God’s Children, 2010 and Responding Well, 2011) and the recommendations made by Jan Korris in her report dated March 2013;

It is apparent from the Korris Report that Jersey’s Safeguarding procedures leaves a lot be desired and there must be uniformity across the Island. That said it is evident via the Chichester Interim Report that there are similar shortcomings in the UK.

c. considering the results of the investigation set up in response to the Korris Review and making recommendations for the Deanery, Diocese and the wider Church of England in response to it;

As with TOR 3(a) I would welcome clarity as to what this term means. Are the Korris findings/recommendations being taken as read or will the allegations be re-visited? It should be recalled that some of the leading players, including HG and EY were not interviewed by Jan Korris.

d. making such further recommendations as may appear necessary and expedient.

This is often found in TOR.

4 Directs that the Visitation shall commence with immediate effect.

I hope the Visitation is conducted in a timely manner.

Senator Bailhache’s letter.

Senator Bailhache is a former Solicitor General, Attorney General, Deputy Bailiff, Bailiff, President of the States Assembly and Judge. He raised some interesting points and I believe he was right to question whether the investigation purports to be a disciplinary inquiry because the matter is unclear.

His concerns are two fold, first he believes that the withdrawal of the Bishop’s Commission seems to be disproportionate to the alleged failings of the Dean in that, in his opinion the alleged failings relate to procedural omissions and not misconduct.

The second is that the Senator is unclear whether the Bishop intends to respect the special historical relationship. I will deal with this matter first. I am sure that Winchester and Canterbury will have taken advice on the matter, are acting on that advice and John Gladwin will respect what ever protocols are in place.

Senator Bailhache is of the view that alleged failings of the Dean, in his opinion relate to procedural omissions and not misconduct.

On page 47/48 of the Korris Review/Report she states

“A number of potentially very serious matters came to light during the course of the Review that to have investigated further would have been beyond the original terms of reference. The matters listed below must be investigated as soon as possible in order to establish whether there has been inappropriate or unbecoming conduct on the part of those identified below, which may lead to the need for a disciplinary process to be conducted.”

1) Allowing a church warden to operate in contravention of the Safeguarding procedures and the training he had undertaken.

2) Failure to notify the Safeguarding Advisor on receipt of the complaint.

3) Failure to implement and act in accordance with Diocesan Safeguarding Procedure in the handling of the initial complaint interview.

4) Failure to record and make all documentation available for a review of a Safeguarding matter as required by the Safeguarding procedures.

5) Despite the request of the Bishop of Winchester, unwillingness to permit review of safeguarding practice and also discouraging others from participating.

There will also need to be an investigation into the deportation of H.G. on 11th October 2010 and why there is a complete lack of recording of this matter by Dean R.K. from the date of her arrest.

Senator Bailhache believes the matters above are merely procedural omissions and not misconduct, but clearly that view is not shared by the Bishop and Archbishop who have apologised to HG and I doubt whether they will be sidetracked from the Visitation by Senator Bailhache or anyone else.

Senator Bailhache has stated that it is pity that the Bishop made a mistake by not speaking to the Dean before removing his Commission. I don't know how the Dean learnt of his suspension/withdrawal of Commission but I hope it was not via the postman because the Senator may well have a point. I am unsure as to whether the Dean is subject to the States Employees' Suspension Policy which is now in place following States approval of my 2010 proposition. This now requires for would be suspended employees being informed in person along with written details of the reasons for suspension.

However it is for the Employer to decide whether to suspend an employee and given that Jan Korris acting on behalf of the CoE attempted to establish the circumstances behind the HG’s complaint but was apparently thwarted by the Dean it is not surprising that Bishop Dakin decided to withdraw the Dean's Commission. On page 37 of her report Jan Korris states “I believe R.K. (the Dean) has done himself a disservice, and his desire to prevent transparency and co-operation has not been of benefit to the clergy or to the relationship between Jersey and the Diocese of Winchester. They deserved better.”

Senator Bailhache has cited two examples of errors in the Reviewer’s report, one is about the email to the Dean being sent on his private rather than his Government address. I do not share the Senator’s view if one has more than one email address surely one has a duty to regularly check them all. Regarding the other alleged error about HG’s “deportation” from Jersey. Like Senator Bailhache I too have read the transcript and it has reinforced my belief that the issue must be the subject of an independent review. As one can see above that is also the view of the Reviewer, Jan Korris.

In my previous Blog I raised the Deportation issue because HG was bound over to leave Jersey, however having now read the Court Transcript I can understand why Jan Korris formed the view that HG was deported.

I have concerns about how Harassment Order was issued and implemented because the Transcript records that on 9th August HG received a police warning about her future actions but she denies knowing of its existence or receiving the warning. I was not privy to the police report or charge sheet but it is evident that HG was arrested sometime prior to the church service that was being conducted by the Dean and the former Bishop on Sunday 26th September 2010. HG was charged and detained overnight in a police cell. It is not known whether she received any legal aid but she was seen by a police medical officer and deemed fit to be questioned and charged. However she was not bailed, why?

HG appeared at the Magistrates Court the following morning and was seen by a Duty Advocate who presumably also had other clients to see. The Transcript shows that the Magistrate commenced the Hearing at 1210pm. He is on record as saying to the Duty Advocate “This is not a run of the mill situation, is it? “ To which he received a reply “No Sir.”

I ask what made the case “not a run of the mill situation” because the Transcript does not record the names of the people allegedly to be harassed. HG reserved her plea and was willing to comply with bail conditions, however as a result of police checks at her home address she was refused bail and remanded in custody at La Moye prison for 2 weeks. Why was she not bailed, she was of previous good behaviour and the Magistrate was aware of her medical condition. Remanding an innocent and vulnerable person for two weeks in prison was not conducive to her health and was certainly heavy handed.

HG appeared again at the Magistrates Court on Monday 11th October where concerns were raised about her fitness to plead however she was assisted by a delegated Advocate and a person with a mental health background. What is evident is that there must have been some behind the scene activity because the 2 original charges were dropped and replaced by a similar harassment charge to which HG pleaded “guilty” and agreed to leave the Island and be bound over not to return for 3 years.

Nowhere in the Transcript are the names of the alleged victims mentioned nor was any mitigation offered. In his letter Senator Bailhache says that HG admitted a course of harassment over 18 months which involved aggressive, obscene and abusive emails and telephone calls to the Dean and his wife. I do not know where he received that information because it does not appear in the Transcript.

Senator Bailhache states that both the Dean and his wife have been treated unfairly and great distress has been caused in Jersey both to the Anglican community and more widely. However he makes no mention about HG being treated unfairly for which both the Bishop of Winchester and Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised. He appears to be more concerned about Constitutional matters than natural justice. Unfortunately he does not seem to understand HG’s sense of grievance at being effectively fobbed of by the Church in both Jersey and Winchester.

HG sought justice but hers was a voice was in the wilderness where the interests of others were deemed more important than hers. From being the victim she became the villain, arrested, detained in a police cell, spent two weeks in prison and then bound over to leave the Island with a criminal record.

Senator Bailhache has claimed that the Magistrate acted with appropriate care and compassion throughout, he may well be right but binding HG to leave the Island for 3 years seems to have been more expedient than compassionate.

I have written twice to the Chief Minister asking that he instigate an enquiry/investigation into the circumstances of HG’s arrest, but am still waiting for a response. Surely the matter is too important to be swept under the carpet.