Storyville, Dark Secrets of a Trillion Dollar Island: Garenne, Produced and Directed by Camilla Hall.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000t86z/storyville-dark-secrets-of-a-trillion-dollar-island-garenne

‘The Island of Jersey is a self-governing possession of the British Crown separate from the UK with its own laws, financial rules and Parliament.’

Some of its most influential figures are appointed by the Queen.

When secrets from its past surfaced in 2007 they revealed deep distrust and division between those now running the island, proud of Jersey’s reputation.

And those who saw themselves as underdogs campaigning for change.’

Whose side are you on, the have-nots or the have-yachts? That’s the set-up for this documentary. Let’s deal the money issue first. Jersey launders money. It’s an offshore City of London. A New York Times headline, 6th November 2017 for example showed. ‘After a Tax Crackdown, Apple found a new shelter for its profits. Island of Jersey.’ Leaving billions of dollars untouched by the US government.

Baker McKenzie [Apple, the richest company in the world] asked for assurances that the local political climate would remain friendly. Are there any developments suggesting that the law may change in an unfavourable way in the near future?   

New York Times headline 6th November 2017 shows how this works. Apple decided that its new offshore tax structure should use  Appleby’s office in Jersey. Jersey makes its own laws and is not subject to most European Union legislation, making it a popular tax haven.

John Christensen, Former Economic Advisor to Jersey tells the viewers.  

We can only guess the assets hidden here as half a trillion US dollars. The wealth itself is not in Jersey. There’s very little investment in Jersey. Just wealth that is booked there. But invested elsewhere. Very often in real estate in Britain or Europe or…North America.

Establishing Jersey is a tax-dodgers paradise is the easy part of the narrative. Secrecy is part of the package, but it’s called discretion. Most of Jersey’s 88 000 residents have little or no say in the way the island is governed.

John Chirstensen. One of the things I discovered was the government was captive to the finance industry. They were saying, we want this law. And it would go through parliament on the nod because…

The finance industry loved it. You weren’t going to get challenged. You always had the same people at the top. And those people were very amenable to bringing forward pieces of legislation which they themselves commissioned. [the blank cheque]

Wendy Kinnard, (former Home Affairs Minister). Any small island has to find its niche. We are very reliant on the finance industry, and all that goes with that.

Christensen: that ties in with what we call the Jersey wave. Don’t ask inconvenient questions. These places do not like to have publicity unless it’s favourable publicity.

Wendy Kinnard. My experience, anything to do with finance went to the top of the list in terms of priority. If you take the sex offenders, I began doing some work on that in 1973. I saw 27 drafts turned around in order to try and get this legislation. At the time of Operation Triangle we had no significant pieces of legislation in terms of child protection. Contrasted with financial legislation because our economy is based on financial services

Neil McMurry  (Citizen Journalist) on a boat. ‘This is my escape. I don’t drink. I don’t drug. (I sail). What about the victims and survivors and some say it’s the lucky ones that died. If I had a choice between knowing what I know now. And not knowing, if I could turn the clock back…I wish I could. I wouldn’t want to know what I know.

Graham Powell, Former Chief of Police on Jersey. Many people said don’t take an island job, they always end in tears. Unless you can afford to walk away from it. Well, I could, but didn’t.

I took advice from an old officer. He told me what the politicians expect you to do is lock up the drunks on a Saturday night. Catch a few burglars. Don’t look for trouble.

Lenny Harper, former Deputy Chief of Police, Jersey. Impeccable references from the Met. My first 6 weeks were spent getting to know people. The head of the law department told me he was convinced there was a paedophile ring operating in the island, but he couldn’t get any persecutions.  I examined cold case files. There had already been several trials involving the sexual assault of children and one name kept popping up: Haut de la Garenne children’s home.

Haut de la Garenne. Jersey State Children’s Home 1867-1986. Gurren mean rabbit warren. We had a lot of children living in the home. Not only from Jersey, but Guernsey as well. You had a lot of French immigrants that came to work on the farms. They were poor people as well. They found no accommodation for their children. So they ended up in the Home.

Kevin O’Connell, speaking 2008. Myself and some other lads had broken into a shop and we’d stole some cigarettes and chocolate and some other things. So I was sent to Haut de la Garenne. I was there between 1963-1964.

It was run by a man called Colin Tilbrook. Headmaster, during the 1960s he ran it like an army camp.

He was a very aggressive man. He didn’t speak to you. He shouted at you.

A particular case file in which there were gaps. I was given excuses why that was the case. When we looked into it, those excuses fell apart. That was the real beginning of Operation Rectangle.

The few victims I met totally impressed me with their sincerity.

Marina Cremin. I was born in Jersey to Irish parents. They were from Cork. When I was five I went to Haut de la Garenne.

Cremin: I was terrified that he’d (Tilbrook the headmaster) call me into his little office. Because I knew what he wanted. It wasn’t just myself. He used to call on other children as well. We used to say we’re going to tell somebody. And he used to say, ‘go ahead, nobody is going to believe you’.

Cremin: He would tell me what to do. He would take his belt off and make it do a flicking noise. And he would use that on me if I didn’t do what I was told. He’d always have a pillow under his arm. If you screamed out, he’d put the pillow over your face. And tell you to be quiet.

Chief Constable: Operational officers are saying there is history of abuse. We’re getting snippets of it from other enquiries.

Senator Stuart Syvret (former) Health and Social Services Minster: Jersey is a very small community. He told the chief of police if you don’t do something I’m going to whistle blow. In 2006 word reached me about abuse that was still going on and had been covered up in the past. I began making my own enquires. A failure of the Island’s government and to protect its population. This went back decades and decades. A lot of meetings I was having with survivors was deeply harrowing.

Frank Walker Chief Minister 2005-2008.

I’m a life-long Jersey resident. And I served in Jersey’s government for 18 years. Everybody believes child abuse takes place, but not here, or in a very limited way.

Wendy Kinnard (former Home Affairs Minister). At the time of Operation Rectangle, my role was oversight of the police service. I was in a meeting with the chief and deputy chief of police and when I was briefed about how far they had got in terms of the covert operation, and now they felt other ministers had to be told, in particular, the Chief Minister. And that very soon we would have to make the whole operation public. I did say, they won’t like this one little bit and we could all lose our jobs over this.

Stuart Syvret made an announcement in relation to Child Protection. 16th July 2007: ‘We are failing badly in this area. And I’m probably going to seek to initiate a major independent review of the whole sphere of child welfare and child protection in Jersey.’

Chief Minister found that unacceptable and tabled a motion that they get rid of Syvret.

Syvret: By saying these things I was bullying staff. Pretext of having me sacked.

Chief Constable, Graham Powell: He was thrown out of office and subject to negative briefing in the media. I was horrified and made clear I wasn’t getting involved in this sordid business (of name calling).

Stuart Syvret. There’s a tremendous amount of money here. Wealth. The elite want the status-quo to remain.

Deputy Chief Constable, Lenny Harper. We knew that Stuart had been canvassing public opinion, and we felt we had to go public ourselves. We were completely open with the media and told them we would not tolerate any interference from Jersey politicians.

Syvret: A huge weight lifted from my shoulders.

Graham Powell: I wondered if the phone would ring. Within a week or two we had hundreds of victims coming forward.

Peter Hannaford speaking in 2008. You were subject to constant abuse. It was begun with the rape of older kids. Encouraged by the staff. It was constant, every night. You were scared to go to bed, because you didn’t know if you were going to be the one to get hit or if it’d be someone else.

Carl Denning, speaking in 2008. There was an occasion in the sickbay when I was made to fondle another boy. If you didn’t, you were threatened you wouldn’t come out of there alive.

Jean Neil. Grouville Home for Girls. Speaking in 2017. I was told that anything that happened in the home, you don’t tell anybody else. Because nobody would ever believe you. And if you do let it slip out, the punishment is you will have your tongue cut out. Some of the girls got pregnant. They’d get the baby taken away from them. And my question is, and always has been, where was the authorities and what where they doing?

5th December 2007. Syvret, As senior senator I gave my (Christmas) speech

Voice of Sir Philip Bailhache, Baliff of Jersey1995-2009. Cuts him off.

We have a dysfunctional democracy. The real power sits with Crown appointees.

The Queen appoints: Attorney General (Crown Prosecution), Baliff (Chief Judge and Speaker of Parliament) and Lieutenant Governor.

Speaker controls debates in Parliament. Who can speak. Who can’t speak. What questions can be asked.

Deputy There were also statements from people at the home that children had been dragged from their beds and were never seen again.  

Statements saying staff had chased one child along the corridor that had then leapt out the window. And that child was never seen again.

Then we had a solicitor who approached us who had a client that said he saw a dead body.

I heard a story about dead bodies and rapes and beatings. And I made a disclosure to the police as you’d expect somebody in my position to do.

Chief Constable: We felt we had to search. And ridiculous as it may seem now, we felt that we could do it discretely.

19th February 2008.

Deputy Constable: we put Eddie, the cadaver dog into the ground. He reacted very positively in an area of the home.  Anthropologists should dig at that spot. The next morning I was at home when I got the phone call, a human bone had been found. Forensic anthropologist described as a human skull.

James Perchard, Former Jersey Senator. My family has farmed here for generations. Perhaps even the 12th Century. I honestly knew nothing of the ill-treatment of children. It didn’t get to me.

Neil McMurray, Citizen Journalist. There’s a presumption that anyone living in Jersey is a millionaire. Well, that’s not true. There’s the haves and the have-yachts. There’s a lot of poverty in Jersey. The governments predominantly conservative run by the rich for the rich. So some noise can be made in our Parliament by the socialists. But they’ve got no power. We thought, brilliant. We’ve got a politician that represents us. Stuart. A lot of survivors came forward because of him.

Voice of Sir Philip Bailhache, Baliff of Jersey, unjustified denigration of Jersey is the real scandal.

Group of survivors met outside the home and challenged his statement. Confirmed abuse took place for years.

Sir Philip Bailhache apologised for what he said nine years later, saying his words were ill-chosen.

Neil McMurray I was being fobbed off. Lied to and it was sickening what Sir Philip Bailhache did.  I started blogging. Mainly to ministers the media. Basically, they weren’t replying to me. It was called voice for children.

Sack Walker, reinstate Sylvert.

Brian Flynn former Sun journalist. As an outsider it seemed to me a lot of people didn’t trust the government who were in control and anybody that rocked the boat, anybody that caused problems, wasn’t welcome. If you weren’t among the cabal running the island, you were voiceless. This wasn’t a story that needed to be sensationalised. They were sensational enough and needed to be investigated.

Carrie Modral. Jersey Care Leavers’ Association. Care leavers are adults who lived in children’s homes if not all, or most of their lives. The abuse had been rattling around for years. As individuals they had been shut down. But as a collective group, this was the perfect opportunity to escalate.

Kinnard. There were two camps in how we should deal with Operation Rectangle. Stuart Syvret was very keen that everything should be made public (transparency). And you’d the chief minister and many of the council of ministers who felt it was important to keep the lid on this [important to who and for what reasons?]

The reputation of Jersey should be preserved at all costs. And any negative publicity would likely have a detrimental effect on our economy.

Chief Constable: I was having my ear bent by senior politicians. It wasn’t about who were these people and how can we get their collars felt. That wasn’t the tone of conversation. It was look at all those horrible things newspapers are saying about us. How can we put a stop to all this?

More than 160 people came forward to claim they were abused. Two bodies found.

O’Connell. There was a member of staff that would come for me in the middle of the night, bang my head as we walked along the corridor. He’d take me to the cellar, put me in the bath and sexually abuse me. He’d leave me there after he’d satisfied himself.

Brian Flynn, former Sun journalist. One of the things that came up time after time was Jimmy Saville had visited the Island. Visited the home. Before he was unmasked. What was striking was the vehemence which he denied going to Haut La Garrene.

Cremin: I told the police about Jimmy Saville in 2007. But he denied ever having been at the Home. I said my sister is in a photograph with him.

Christensen (economist) this is the worst kind of public relations disaster. As they say on Jersey, they don’t want to look under that stone. But when the headlines say this is the centre of child abuse, no banks, no accounting firms want to be associated with a place that has a long history of child abuse that has been largely ignored.

It was a byword for cruelty in the 1960s when I was growing up. We were threatened with if you don’t behave we’re sending you to La Garrene.

In 2007 The UK press particularly damning of Jersey and the cover-up.

David Rose, Mail on Sunday. A friend of mine phoned me and said have you heard about these children murdered in a children’s home? Well, there’s a guy in Oxford called Tom Higham who you should talk to, because he’s got some very interesting information. It was later afternoon, and he said come round now, and I did. I went round to his lab. We’ve been trying to tell the police in Jersey this for weeks, but they just won’t listen. They’ve been coming out with all this stuff in the media, and we’ve had enough. It’s time the public learned the truth.

I got Lenny to admit there were people that had reservations.

18th May 2008. Then I did the story that Sunday.

I’d already written a few articles questioning these very heavy moral panic type investigations. Especially in children’s homes and schools. And when the Jersey story started I was immediately very sceptical, thinking really?

eg Bryan Ely, 67, in Dartmoor, alleged to have attacked children.

I should tell you, I’m a Jimmy Saville sceptic too. What I do know is that some to those that claimed to be abused were lying to claim compensation. And I say that without any hesitation. They just made it up.

Headline: It’s official. There was no child abuse in Jersey.

Prof. Tom Higham, Oxford University. We were sent this sample in March 2008. It too probably 40 seconds to realise what I had in my hand. Lenny Harper said it’s the piece of a child’s skull. It’s no such thing. It’s a piece of coconut shell.  

DC. Lenny Harper. Collagen is only found in mammals. There was no trail of testing. The package wasn’t booked in or logged. No control over it, whatsoever. But what we didn’t realise at that stage was that it would be used as a stick to beat us with.

Frank Walker Chief Minister 2005-2008. I think the biggest turning point was the revelation on the Mail on Sunday by David Rose. It was both welcome news and a shock. Then the trust in the police leadership came into question. (Harper and Graham Powell).

What I saw was a fast-moving investigation that involved leads that Harper wasn’t afraid to follow. In real time. It’s easy to say he got them wrong. But he was trying to disseminate the information in a way that signalled to those abused that this time stones weren’t being left unturned.

DC Harper. Rose had this history of being very anti-child abuse.  Cites Lord Jenner’s report, for example, and a witness that admits to lying about a care home boss.

We’ve took over 150 tons of material which is all being itemised. We’ve recovered 65 children’s teeth.

Wendy Kinnard: there was criticism that Harper held up to the media a coin that was a Jersey coin and not an English coin. This again was damaging the reputation of the island. Then I got phone calls from the senior minister saying get rid of Lenny Harper. Take him off the tv screens. He should be removed from even Operation Rectangle. He became the folk demon by those that wanted the child abuse enquiry to go away.

Before I resigned

I’d a difficult time. I did feel very bullied on occasions. Receiving emails from the Chief Minister saying there are calls for your resignation. I felt that I was being put in a position that I was being removed, in the same way Senator Syvret was removed. So I resigned.

I was advised that I should sign over my powers (of oversight to the police and operation Rectangle) to my assistant minister Andrew Lewis. I just felt that I was being absolutely side-lined. Andrew Lewis felt the same way that I did about Chief Constable Powell. That he was doing a good job.

News report. The officer in charge may never know that children here were murdered. Even though they found the partial remains of at least five children. Experts have difficulty dating the teeth and bones aged between four and eleven

The removal of Lenny had to happen. His investigation was out of control.

The detective, who led the enquiry, retires next week (news report). Case unsolved.

31st July 2008. DC Harper. In many ways the community is no different from anywhere else. What has happened doesn’t make Jersey unique or evil. And what has happened, I think the people has responded magnificently.

News report the teeth and bones found here aren’t pieces of evidence. They’re pieces of children. Pieces of vulnerable lives of children whose stories will now never be told.

Chief Constable. Lenny left and David Warcup, his successor and my successor was appointed. Then we had the appointment of Gradwell, who was going to be senior investigating officer. I could see the wolves circling. As long as Wendy Kinnard was there…she fell. I thought you’re on your own now. So as things when they developed didn’t come as a surprise.

David Warcup, Acting Chief of Police. We’ll use every effort to bring this enquiry to a proper conclusion.

Andrew Lewis, Home Affairs Manager (after Kinnard’s resignation).

I was under considerable pressure and from the Chief Minister of the day, Frank Walker. With remarks being thrown around the table from the Council of Minister consistently. ‘You’ve got to get rid of that bloke. You’ve got to sack him’.

Frank Walker Chief Minister 2005-2008. I had no doubt at all Graham Powell had to go. I would have liked him to come out of this with great credit. And he could have done, had he not let Lenny run riot with media briefings.

A legal review found the suspension was flawed and unfair but no part of an attempt to block the investigation.

Graham Powell’s handling of Operation Rectangle was later criticised in a report by another police force.

12th November 2008. David Warcup, Acting Chief of Police The forensic recoveries do not indicate there has been murder of children or other people at La Garrene. Nor do we believe that bodies have been buried, destroyed or hidden.

Mick Gradwell, Senior Investigating Officer. There are no reported people missing. There are no credible allegations of murder. There is no suspect for murder. And there is no specific time period for murder. 170 pieces of bone, which were mainly animal, were found in the area. Three fragments that are possibly human. The biggest piece is 25mm long. 65 teeth found in the floorboards. One elsewhere. These teeth have the appearance of being shed naturally. The officer is about five-foot five tall. It’s not a dungeon and it’s not a cellar.

James Perchard, Former Jersey Senator. There were specialist PR people brought in to help protect Jersey’s image. I suspect that’s what happens when such terrible, terrible news has been made public.

Headlines rebound and reboot. Media: Main witness had a history of psychotic fantasy and alcoholism. 2) Detectives took lavish meals in London restaurant.

Carrie Modral. The media tried to sensationalise what was going on. Then trash what they sensationalised. It wasn’t just one day. It spanned over a couple of weeks. As if this was all premeditated. I was angry with the care leavers, because they thought, right, we’ll never get justice. Everything we were working towards seemed to be sabotaged.

DC Lenny. Graham was suspended. I was side-lined. That was when Neil and Rico came in.

Rico Sorda, Citizen Journalist. It was clear to anyone that Graham Powell was shafted. By the establishment of Jersey, because he had the audacity to let Lenny investigate

The editorials prior to that had praised Lenny and Graham but afterwards Jersey Evening Post headlines ran along the lines of Celebrity Lifestyle of Lenny Harper and his officers. Meals in top-class.

We went up there and filmed them. What difference does it make if you call them cellars or vaults? We measured them –Bob Hill measured them-and they were six-foot deep. There’s certainly enough room down there for a child abuser to do what he wanted.

Neil: Evidence not audited when it left Jersey. How does a piece of skull become a piece of coconut? It came back a different texture, size and colour.

Forensic Anthropologist Report. Since I initially examined the fragment, it had dried out considerably and changed in colour, texture and weight.

Could it have been switched? Nobody answered that question. It was ignored.

Carrie Modral, we called a meeting and invited Mick Gradwell along. He said you better drop your case. None of you are going to get what you want.

We were so angry with his response. We had to ask him to leave. And it wasn’t about a piece of coconut. It was about children being systematically abused. Time after time after time and ignored.

Dannie Jarman (resident) Blanche Pierre Children’s Home. I didn’t want to go through with it in the first place. Then I managed to build up the courage to speak out and come out what had happened. There was evidence there to prove what happened, did happen. A lot of it was never brought up in court.

Houseparents subjected children to physical and sexual abuse.

Neil: I tried asking many questions of our politicians and they ignored me and ignore me. I had to go out and doorstep them. 

Wendy Kinnard. I remained concerned for the victims that were obviously hurting. 11 or 12 cases dropped. On the other hand the attorney general was concerned he didn’t want to take forward prosecutions he wasn’t sure he was going to win.  

Attorney General of Jersey 2000-2009, Sir William Bailhache, revealed there will be no further action against the couple arrested in June as part of the enquiry (Blanche Pierre Children’s Home).

Sir Philip Bailhache Bailiff of Jersey 1995-2009. My brother became Attorney General after me, one remove. And for some that was evidence of corruption. Two brothers in Crown Office and that was ipso facto corrupt.

The reason for this mistrust rested with the police and children’s services and not with his office.

Some pretty middle of the road people convicted of offences, but no one of any stature was ever taken to court. Colin Tilbrook, the pillow man, his step daughter came out and said he raped her when she was ten. He’s dead now. Jimmy Saville dead. Wilfred Krichefski, died in 1974 was a former senator. Jeff Le Marchand. This wasn’t one bad apple.

Operation Rectangle identified 192 victims and 121 living suspects. 30 suspects were already dead.

Eight people were tried in the Jersey courts, with seven successful prosecutions.

 Frank Walker Chief Minister 2005-2008. Sylvert was daily denouncing the service we were providing. That pressure was incredible. To have this constant criticism, at that time.

Sylvet. At a press conference he told me to go and top myself. And at a press conference some months ago he told me to go away and slit my wrists. Now I imagine anyone expressing those views their position as health minister would be untenable.

I said something I shouldn’t have, but under massive provocation. Perhaps I should have punched him. I paid the price politically. I resigned a few months later and didn’t see re-election.

Sylvert. One morning three cars with six policeman drew up outside my house. They arrested me for breaking the data protection law. This was them branding the fist. As they’d made an example of Graham Powell. They wanted to terrify everyone. And make them keep their mouths shut. And their heads down and not rock the boat. My god if these people can do that to a police chief and a senior senator. Then what chance have we got?

Stuart Syvret’s jail terms were as a result of repeatedly failing to comply with court orders to stop publically accusing individuals of serious crimes online.

Two three months periods so far. I fully expect to be jailed again.

Wendy Kinnard. I think the role of the blogs was incredibly significant. Neil’s and Rico Sorda’s blogs. And I don’t think that without them we would have got the care enquiry.

A public enquiry into Jersey care homes was finally scheduled to start in 2014, six years after it was promised.

Carrie Modral, Jersey Care Leavers’Association.  It really was a rollercoster. To have this enquiry up and running. A collective effort of keeping it alive. And that was the main thing. After each government, it died. Keep it in the media, to get where we got. At the beginning it was just La Garrene, but we had to get it to include all, including foster homes.

eg Blanche Pierre Children’s Home. La Preference Children’s home. Heathfield Children’s Home.

4 objectives, i) apology to all those that had suffered as children. (ii) to gain a sense of identity, through records so people knew where exactly they came from. Where they went to. (iii) redress some form of compensation (iv) enquiry into how all these things were allowed to happen.

Marina Cremin visits graveyard. Peter Hannaford (dead) he was in Haut de la Garenne, terribly sexually abused. Nearly every night he was abused. He was such a heavy drinker. It’s just so sad.

Many of the children in the home, committed suicide, or died of drugs or alcohol.  

Carrie Modral, You’ve got victims and survivors. Victims are those that can’t let go. Whether it was ten or fifty years ago, they’re still living it and it’s a living nightmare for them. They’ve got drink addiction, they’ve got drug addiction. They can’t work. They’ve got emotional problems.

Survivors, like myself, who try and get on with their life. And try and not let what happened to you as a child dictate how you live as an adult. You try and rise above it.

Kevin O’Connell. I was too frightened to tell anybody. I spoke about it to my brother. He experience exactly what I went through. And it was just too much. It ended up he hung himself. I firmly believe that was because of the abuse, the sexual abuse. He was only 40.

Carrie Modral. They are not going to get their day in court. But they are going to get their story hear. I believe that is so important. And it had a right for it to be made public as well.

22nd July 2014, Start of the Public Enquiry.

Neil; One adult told how he was raped as an eight-year-old child and his anus bled for days. The care assistant packed it with toilet roll, but they had to take him to hospital.

Frank Walker Chief Minister 2005-2008, did I have a duty to protect Jersey’s reputation? Of course I did. But my prime duty, motivation, was to get at the truth. To protect the children and prosecute the criminals. We had nothing to hide and we wanted everone in Jersey and further afield to know we had nothing to hide.

3rd July 2017, Public Enquiry: Conclusion. Voice of Frances Oldham QC, Enquiry Panel Chair.  We find that there is no doubt that a significant number of children under the care of the state suffered instances of physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional neglect. We find it deplorable that the state of Jersey has failed to understand its role as corporate parent. There were no external inspections of children’s homes. Or children’s services. For approxiamately 20 years. No difficult questions asked. This is unacceptable. On the 9th May 2008, Jersey’s Bailiff Philip Ballache made the liberation speech. We cannot accept that he made and I quote, ‘an unformatted juxtaposition of words’. We find the Senator Sylvert highlighted relevant issues about child abuse that needed to be addressed to insure the protection and safety of children in Jersey. We note the suspension of Graham Howe, for alleged past failings. All policing decisions were made conscientiously and properly. We have concluded that there has been no political appetite in Jersey to address social issues regarding the welfare of children.  

Children may still be at risk in Jersey. And children in the care system are not receiving he kind or quality of support they need.

Senator Ian Gorst, Chief Minister.

Too often, children were not believed. Unpalatable truths were swept under the carpet. Because it was the easiest thing to do. I am deeply sorry. We did not do, what we should have done. People cared more for the status-quo, for a quiet life, than for children.

The Panel said Frank Walker and the majority of politicians accepted the Attorney General’s advice not to interfere with the investigation.

It concluded that the removal of Graham Powell and Stuart Syvret was not motivated by a wish to cover up abuse

Neil: it’s still ongoing, because nothing has really changed. If you look at the two camps, those that lost their homes, lost their livelihood for speaking out. Yet those that tried to protect the reputation of Jersey have all done pretty well for themselves. They’ve been decorated by the Queen. What about the people who risked their lives? What about the survivors? Don’t they deserve some kind of recognition?

National Treasure, Channel 4, 9pm.

national treasure.jpg

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/national-treasure/on-demand/61953-001

‘They think I’m fucking Jimmy Saville,’ says Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane) when he’s arrested for rape.

A writer could have a lot of fun with this four-part series, as I’m sure Jack Thorne does. The litmus test for National Treasure is whether the named and shamed celebrity such as Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris or indeed our very own Cliff (although the tabloids are playing coy on that one) was allowed to hob-nob with the Royals and had Prince Charles, or poor old Diana, on speed-dial or Messenger. Oscar Wilde, who knows a thing or two about how fickle celebrity was, tended to rattle on about: ‘All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.’

Thorne sets up the before and after of the celebrity death spiral. I was a bit confused at first. Viewers see Finchley hobbling with a walking stick behind a glamourous lady host in evening dress, in what to me looked like cells in a prison, and because I knew the nub of the story, I thought this was him getting jailed, with possibly some kind of hallucinatory episode. But it was more prosaic and simply the backstage setting of a London theatre. Finchley was shown hyperventilating before he went onstage to present a lifetime achievement award to his comedy partner and he deadpans, in all seriousness, that it wasn’t him getting the award and that wasn’t fair. Nobody loves him, but of course they do, they just love his partner more, but he’s still in the business, with a daytime quiz show and his agent is still trying to cut deals with the big hitters. This is the before.

Before anything happens normality is a big house in London, but not too big, he still bumps into his neighbour taking his bin out. The grandkids are bickering and his wife, Marie (Julie Walters) is keeping an eye on them. Later, we learn he’s been cheating on her for years, and she’s shown to be a religious maniac because she says the Hail Mary and prays. Finchley when he stays the night with a prostitute laments Marie’s loss of beauty and gives us a Wildean epigram about women being beautiful in a way that men never are. Quite so old boy, quite so, hide all the mirrors.

Now we are in the after territory, all that’s gone before changes shape. In particular, when Finchley visits his beautiful but troubled daughter, Dee (Andrea Riseborough) she rambles on about a dream, or vision, she had about her Dad and her husband, which makes you think that the trouble with the daughter, may be dad. Incest. Finchley seems keen to establish that she’s got the money he sent her for her keep . But this may be the red herring.

Bang, bang, bang it goes and ends with a bang, with police trawling for other cases and finding them. One of them being the baby sitter, which pisses off even the saintly, or dim, Marie, depending on what point of view you take to her wifely duties. Finchley said he didn’t do it. Does anybody believe him? The real scoop would be if he does, indeed, prove to be innocent. Somehow, I doubt it, there’s more chance of getting ten minutes of drama without a break for adverts.