Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jersey historic abuse investigation ends

Investigations followed accusations of abuse at former children's home Haute de la Garenne

Jersey police have announced the end of a three-year long investigation into historic child abuse in the island's care homes.
From September 2007, police took 1,776 statements from 192 (alleged) victims, identifying 151 alleged abusers.
Seven people were successfully prosecuted in Operation Rectangle, which cost £7.5m.
The investigation began after allegations of abuse at former children's home Haut de la Garenne.
More than half the alleged offences were committed at the home and more than half of the offences reported were sexual. The rest were assaults or claims of neglect and ill treatment.
Although there were no more prosecutions expected in the historic abuse inquiry, Jersey police said they would continue to thoroughly investigate all allegations of abuse.
Thirty of the alleged offenders had died before they could be prosecuted.
Those found guilty were:

Gordon Claude Wateridge was found guilty of assault on three girls while he was a house parent at Haute de la Garenne between 1969 and 1979.
(Wateridge was convicted of abusing his own stepdaughter and her friends. The only connection to Haut de la Garenne is the fact that he worked there at the time. Besides, Watridge is accused of molesting girls and Garenne was a boys home.)

Claude James Donnelly was jailed in June 2009 for 15 years for rape and indecent assault.
(Police say that although the charges are in connection with the inquiry into historical child abuse, they are not directly connected to Haut de la Garenne.)

Michael Aubin was given two years probation for various sexual offences at Haut de la Garenne between 1977 and 1980
(Former Haut de la Garenne resident Michael Aubin (46), has admitted that when he was aged around 15 or 16, he committed two acts of gross indecency and indecently assaulted a boy aged eight or nine years old.)

Ronald George Thorne was spent 12 months in prison for gross indecency between 1983 and 1984
(Thorne’s offences were not linked to abuse at the former children’s home Haut de la Garenne.)

Leonard Miles Vandenborn was ailed for 12 years for the rape and indecent assault of two young girls in the 1970s and 1980s.
(Nothing to do with Haut de la Garenne which was a boys home.)

Morag and Tony Jordan, former house parents at Haute de la Garenne, were found guilty of assaulting children in their care. The couple, of Angus, Scotland, will be sentenced in January.
(Morag and Tony Jordan were found not guilty of most of the charges.)

David Warcup, Acting Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police, said: "Investigations of this nature are particularly difficult and protracted, especially for the victims, and officers have worked hard to ensure that the needs of victims have been met.
"Every allegation or complaint has been given full and proper consideration and all possible lines of enquiry have been pursued.
"At this point in time, there is no evidence from which it would be possible to mount any further prosecutions.
"Should evidence become available then the force will review this to determine what, if any, further action should be taken."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-11987007

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Couple guilty of Jersey children's home assaults

Morag and Anthony Jordan, both 62, were both convicted of eight separate counts relating to abuse at the Haut de la Garenne home in the 1970s and 80s.
But a jury at the Royal Court of Jersey also acquitted Morag Jordan of a further 28 counts and her husband of four.
The pair will be sentenced in January.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jjxrRR43DzxfdtF_NS9QhTTzMFrw?docId=CNG.63b52affb57100657ca41c4a22a41dec.491

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Police ‘overreacted’ with arrest of child care couple

JERSEY police ‘overreacted’ when dealing with a couple accused of assaulting children at Haut de la Garenne in the 1970s and 80s, a jury heard yesterday.

Morag and Anthony Jordan, both 62, spent the night in a Scottish cell earlier this year before they were flown to Jersey and charged with a catalogue of abuse on 11 children in their care.

On the sixth day of the Assize trial yesterday, the jury heard that the national media descended on the couple’s home in Kirriemuir – a Scottish town of 10,000 people – days after Haut de la Garenne hit the world’s headlines following allegations of murders and torture.

It was not until two years later that Jersey police flew to Scotland to arrest Mr and Mrs Jordan, who face 48 counts of assault on children as young as two. The jury have been directed to return not guilty verdicts on seven of the charges.

http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/11/24/police-overreacted-with-arrest-of-child-care-couple/#ixzz16IDB2l6u

Monday, November 22, 2010

News about child abuse...

http://www.newser.com/tag/3207/1/child-abuse.html
'I have never seen anything like this in 30 years. In respect of sexual offences I have been a detective for 22 years, I can show convictions for rapes and sex offences by predatory peadophiles as well as a huge number of murders, but I have never ever seen police working in this way, I really am absolutely shocked by what has gone on. It is abhorrent behaviour'. Mick Gradwell.

http://thehautdelagarennefarce.blogspot.com/2010_11_01_archive.html

 is time he was ignored and besides we have heard it all before, and counteless times and to top it all its now all been dissmissed by a Court of Law. That concludes it for most people even if he wants to carry on trying to flog a dead horse to what remains of his gullible regulars.

For some people in the States and a few individuals on the Net the Napier Report is now being seen as some kind of catalyst to get Graham Power and Lenny Harper exonerated for all that went wrong with the Haut de la Garenne enquiry. Suspension procedural matters have come under fire in the Napier Report, there is no doubt about it, but how this report can exonerate the findings by the Wiltshire Constabulary is actually laughable.

We have said before that nobody has ever denied on this blog that abuse ever happened at Haut de la Garenne and we have challenged people to point out where on this blog they can back up their claim.

But for some reason, and particularly with some obsessive bloggers, there appears to be some notion that because they talk about the historic abuse enquiry more than others they are in effect more caring and any critic of the enquiry is an abuse denier. Not only is this a childish claim its actually incredibly stupid and we frequently see silly talk about keeping up a fight whilst it’s the Police and the current Police who are doing all the work!

Ironically Graham Power and Lenny Harper have behaved in a similar manner in trying to make out that only they care about the victims of abuse in an obvious desperate attempt to cover up all their mistakes of the past. But the fact is that all Police Officers care about the victims of abuse and so do the regulars on this blog so the sooner they drop this frivolous talk the better. We have even seen a number of civil servants with families accused of not caring, it really is looking silly.

Going back to Napier and Police matters in general, sadly though a lot of time has been wasted in the States with what can only be described as political meddling in police matters and whilst we have many other items more relevant to the voting public many are now looking at some States Members in dismay. There are reports that a number of seats will be challenged in the next election with the sole purpose of removing time wasters and its not surprising whilst we are still in the middle of the worst recession in living memory that some people are fed up.

The Current Trial in the Royal CourtWe do not wish to delve into the current court case concerning the Jordan’s right now but we will comment at its conclusion. What we will say for now is that some of the testimony from witnesses as reported has been truly disturbing.The New Police ChiefWe would just like to congratulate Mr Mike Bowron on his appointment and we sincerely hope he is not hounded out like his predecessor by some States Members. The treatment of David Warcup was to many, absolutely abhorrent.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Nothing ever changes

As you are aware we have decided to wind this blog down due to the subject matter being exhausted yet every time we try to take the blog offline we get requests for it to be re-opened. It has been a great ride over the past 6 months and we have been visited over 193,000 times which is fantastic.

We do want to move on though and we will be running a new blog in the new year.

In the meantime we thought we would just comment on some news items of late.

The Stuart Syvret Court Saga

The events over the past few weeks have been an eye opener to many people. Firstly the Stuart Syvret court case which ended in extra charges for Contempt of Court being rightly added on at the end of his trial, and then his subsequent imprisonment followed by release in less than 24 hours could be described as bazaar though it is normal procedure under the circumstances of an appeal. But what was noticeable at the end of the trial is that like so many critics of the ex Senator’s behaviour to date the Magistrate unsurprisingly described him as arrogant after listening to over a week of testimony. Time will tell in January whether his appeal gets anywhere but no doubt he believes that he has nothing to lose now and will continue to behave in a contemptible manner till the end. What has been proved is that the ex-Senator’s mind is set and there is no manoeuvring for negotiation with him anymore and his frequent accusations of a cover up to most is just seen as a way to duck away from a lost battle. One thing is for sure is the publicity around him can no longer be justified and what he craves through publicity is like what oxygen means to everybody else (as commented elsewhere). It

The Napier Report

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Witness ‘lived in fear’

jep_news_header.gif

Anthony and Morag Jordan arriving at the Royal Court. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Anthony and Morag Jordan arriving at the Royal Court. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
A CRIMINAL who lived in Haut de la Garenne as a boy has described how he ‘lived in fear’ of a man who worked at the home.

The 39-year-old, who has been charged with various offences over the years and is currently serving a jail sentence at La Moye for a violent assault, gave evidence yesterday in the third day of the trial of Morag and Anthony Jordan.

He said that living at the children’s home was one of the worst times of his life because Mr Jordan would frighten and beat him constantly.

The defendants, who are both 62 and live in Scotland, are charged with a catalogue of assaults on 11 children, some as young as two, while they were houseparents at the home between 1970 and 1984.

• Read the full report in today’s JEP

Article posted on 18th November, 2010 - 2.58pm


Read more: http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/11/18/witness-lived-in-fear/#ixzz15eYduvSG

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Senator Stuart Syvret jailed

http://steelmagnolia-steelmagnolia.blogspot.com/2010/11/former-jersey-senator-stuart-syvret.html

Haut de la Garenne abuse trial begins

jep_news_header.gif

Anthony and Morag Jordan arrive at the Royal Court yesterday. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
Anthony and Morag Jordan arrive at the Royal Court yesterday. Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
A COUPLE who worked at Haut de la Garenne inflicted a regime of physical and mental cruelty on vulnerable children in their care, an Assize jury heard yesterday.
Morag and Anthony Jordan, both 62, are charged with a catalogue of assaults on 11 children while they were house parents at the home between 1970 and 1984.
Yesterday was the first day of their trial and a jury of six men and six women heard that their alleged abuse of babies, toddlers and teenagers was ‘frequent and callous’.
The couple, who are retired and live in Scotland, deny a total of 48 charges against them. Mrs Jordan, from Dundee, faces 36 counts of physical assault and her husband, from south Wales, is charged with 12 counts of physical assault.
The trial, which is being heard in the Royal Court, is expected to take three weeks.
• Full report in today’s Jersey Evening Post
Article posted on 16th November, 2010 - 3.00pm


Read more: http://www.thisisjersey.com/2010/11/16/haut-de-la-garenne-abuse-trial-begins/#ixzz15YgiXUQR

She still scares me, says care home accuser

Published Date: 17 November 2010
Former residents of a children's home told a court of how they were force-fed, had soap rammed into their mouths and were beaten by those supposedly responsible for their care.
Now in their forties, the alleged victims claim their suffering was part of a routine of violence inflicted by Morag and Anthony Jordan, former houseparents at the Haut de la Garenne home on the island of Jersey. The married couple, both 62, from Kir
riemuir, Angus, face a combined total of 48 counts of common assault, dating from the 1970s and 1980s.

At the Royal Court of Jersey yesterday, one victim - referred to as witness A - described how she was kept in a "cell" and had her face rubbed into a puddle of urine overflowing from a potty.

Giving evidence, the woman said she was taken to the detention room by Mrs Jordan after running away from the home, where she was placed due to serious family problems.

Witness A said: "I was screaming, I wanted out. Because I had weed over the toilet she wouldn't let me out."

She added: "I remember having my head placed in urine, and smelling of urine. I wasn't allowed to shower."

On other occasions she was force-fed, and even made to eat food she had spat out, the court heard.

The former resident said Mrs Jordan, known by her maiden name of Kidd at the time, "scares me and she still scares me now".

Referring to Mrs Jordan, witness A said: "She would hit me with a wooden spoon, and she punched me in the back for not sitting up straight at the table.

"If we swore, we had Fairy liquid and soap placed in our mouths."

The abuse took place throughout the woman's time at Haut de la Garenne, it was claimed.

A second former resident, witness B, also gave accounts of having soap forced into his mouth by Mrs Jordan. "The bar was right in, I felt if I didn't bite it, it would slip down my mouth."

The male former resident also alleged that he was hit on numerous occasions by Mr Jordan.

He recalled one occasion when he was slapped across the face for not eating food originally served the previous day.

The impact of the slap left the young boy with a blood blister on his face, the jury heard.

In cross-examination, defence advocate Michael Preston claimed both witnesses had exaggerated and lied about the events. He accused witness A of blaming Mrs Jordan for all of her difficulties as a child.

But witness A said she only blamed Mrs Jordan for the things she did to her at Haut de la Garenne.

Jersey care home child had face 'held in urine pool'


Anthony and Morag Jordan Mr and Mrs Jordan deny all the charges

Related stories

Children at a former Jersey care home were subjected to a catalogue of abuse by their house parents, a jury heard.
One former resident of Haut de la Garenne told the Royal Court she had her head held in a pool of urine.
Other witnesses told the court they were punched for slouching, locked in a cell, and had soap forced into their mouths for swearing.
Morag and Anthony Jordan, both 62, from Kirriemuir, Angus, deny assault charges dating back to the 1970s and 80s.
The alleged victims, now aged in their forties, claimed they were victims of a routine of violence inflicted by Mr and Mrs Jordan.
One woman, who was placed in the home due to family problems, described how she was kept in a "cell" and had her face rubbed into a puddle of urine overflowing from a potty.
She told the court she was taken to the detention room by Mrs Jordan after running away from the home.

Start Quote

We were put in there to be loved, not to be treated like that”
End Quote Former resident
The former resident said: "I was screaming, I wanted out. Because I had weed over the toilet she wouldn't let me out.
"She placed my head in the urine - she wouldn't let me out."
She added: "I remember having my head placed in urine, and smelling of urine. I wasn't allowed to shower."
It was one of many instances of abuse, according to the woman.
On other occasions she was force-fed and made to eat food she had spat out, the jury heard.
The former resident told the court Mrs Jordan, known by her maiden name of Kidd at the time, "scares me and she still scares me now".
'Pull my face'
Another woman, who was about 14 years old when she was at Haut de la Garenne, told the court Mrs Jordan treated her like a "piece of dirt".
She said the defendant humiliated her because she wet the bed and "used to pull my face into the sheets and let the other children know what I had done".
Another former resident gave accounts of having soap forced into his mouth by Mrs Jordan.
He said: "The bar was right in, I felt if I didn't bite it, it would slip down my mouth."
He told the court he was hit on numerous occasions by Mr Jordan.
Defence advocate Michael Preston claimed both witnesses had exaggerated and lied about the events.
He accused the first witness of blaming Mrs Jordan for all of her difficulties as a child, both at the home and within the family.
But she said she only blamed Mrs Jordan for the things she did to her at Haut de la Garenne.
The witness said: "We were put in there to be loved, not to be treated like that."
Mrs Jordan, who is originally from Dundee and worked at the home from 1970 to 1984, is accused of 36 counts of common assault involving 11 children aged between one and 17.
Mr Jordan, who joined the staff in 1978, faces 12 charges of common assault involving two children aged eight and 16.
The trial continues.

Lifetime of Hell

The jury at the trial of Anthony and Morag Jordan have today been hearing evidence from the first witnesses who say they were abused by the couple.

One woman described her time at the Haut de La Garenne children's home as a 'lifetime of hell'.

This morning another woman wept as she told the court how she was locked in a room known as the cell, and had her face rubbed in urine.

Twenty-six year old Witness A was at Haut De La Garenne between the ages of four and seventeen and was placed there because of a turbulent home life.

She's responsible for bringing eleven of the thirty-six charges that relate specifically to Mrs Jordan.

Witness A was asked by the prosecution to describe how Morag Jordan treated her, she said: "Horribly, she punched me in the back, hit me with a wooden spoon and if we swore she'd put fairly liquid and soap in our mouths."

She went on: "It was when I used to slouch or wouldn't do as I was told.

She hit me with a fist, quite regularly. None of the other staff there touched us."

Witness A said she used to run away from Haut De La Garenne fairly regularly because she hated living there. When she was brought back she'd be locked in a room overlooking the car park known as "the cell", which contained a wooden bed and a potty.

She told the court that once "because I'd overfilled the potty I was screaming 'let me out'.

"That's when she came in and pushed my face in the urine."

Under cross examination Witness A couldn't face the Jordans - and they were moved to another part of the courtroom.

She admitted that she had been sexually assaulted between the ages of five and fifteen while her mother apparently did nothing to stop it.

Advocate Mike Preston said to her: "You now seek to blame this one individual for all your troubles, don't you?"

"No", she said.

Advocate Preston said: "She's become the sole figure that you centre your hatred upon?"

Witness A replied: "I hated her when I was young because of what she did to me."

Advocate Preston said: "I suggest to you, you've made Morag the scapegoat for all the disappointments in your early life."

Witness A, simply replied: "No."

This afternoon the court heard from three more witnesses.

The first described how when he'd come home from school, he had to polish his shoes. He'd done this three or four times but it wasn't enough to satisfy Anthony Jordan, who hit him on the head with the heels.

Another witness described how he stole a sausage, but was caught by Morag Jordan who kicked him in the groin. He said he ran upstairs and was physically sick.

When the last witness was called she was asked to sum up her her time at Haute de La Garenne and simply described it as a 'lifetime of hell'.

The defence pointed to perceived inconsistencies in the witnesses' Police statements and said Morag Jordan couldn't have kicked anyone because of her disabilities brought about by childhood polio.

Both the Jordans deny all the charges.

The trial continues tomorrow, with another six witnesses still to give evidence.

http://www.channelonline.tv/channelonline_jerseynews/displayarticle.asp?id=491833

Haut de la Garenne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Haut de la Garenne (La Rue de la Pouclée et des Quatre Chemins frontage)
Haut de la Garenne is a building in Saint Martin, Jersey, in the Channel Islands. Its previous uses have included being and industrial school, a children's home and a youth hostel. In 2008 it became the focus of the largest investigation into child abuse ever conducted in Jersey.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] History

An account of the opening of the industrial school in 1867 in La Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey
Haut de la Garenne began in 1867 as an industrial school for "young people of the lower classes of society and neglected children".[1] The construction of the school was funded at a cost of £2,410[2] by the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats in order to house and educate boys formerly looked after at the General Hospital in Saint Helier.[3] On 22 June 1867, 45 boys were transferred by coach to the new institution, overseen by Jurats Neel and Aubin, Charles Simon, director of the hospital, and Mr. Higginbottom, master of the new school.[4]
By 1900 it had become the Jersey Home for Boys and continued as a children's home for many years. In 1921 the States of Jersey took over the buildings and most of the powers of the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats.[5] During the German Occupation during the Second World War, the German military used the building as a signal station. Following the Liberation of 1945, the building continued as a children's home with responsibility being taken over by the Education Committee[2]. On 17 March 1960 the States adopted an act changing the name of the institution to Haut de la Garenne.[6] Throughout the 1960s and 1970s the home received both boys and girls, but as care policy developed the number of children in care was reduced from 1970 onwards. A new wing for staff accommodation was built on the western part of the site in 1970[2]. After the home closed in 1986, the building was used to portray a police station in the TV detective series Bergerac.[7]
The memorial standing in front of the building records the names of those former pupils who fell in the First World War
The Public Works Committee took over the building from the Education Committee in 1986. The building was put to a number of temporary uses while a permanent solution to using the building was considered. It was considered as a potential site for the Territorial Army unit. St. Michael's Preparatory School leased a dormitory block for a time, and the headmaster proposed leasing the whole site for educational and sporting purposes. In 1989 the dormitory wing was converted for use by the Education Committee as temporary respite care for children with special education needs.[8] However the Public Works Committee decided in favour of selling the property in order to purchase a commercial site in Saint Helier for development as housing, or of agreeing a land swap with a hotel in Saint Helier whereby the hotel would develop Haut de la Garenne as a luxury hotel and thereby free the urban hotel site for housing development.[9] The proposal for a luxury hotel development spurred parishioners of Saint Martin to call a Parish Assembly by means of a requête. This Assembly, held in August 1989, voted to oppose a hotel development at Haut de la Garenne, but indicated that a proposal for a sheltered housing development might be acceptable.[8]
In 1991 the States approved a scheme to retain the 1970 wing for respite care, convert the main building for sheltered housing, and construct new housing on the eastern part of the site. This decision was reversed, and in 1992 the Planning and Environment Committee took over administration of the site from Public Services, and the building was used for temporary accommodation for visiting groups of musicians and sportspeople, especially during festivals. Discussions continued on how to use the 2,137 square metres of available building floor area[2]
On 8 December 1998 the States voted to establish a trust to manage and operate Haut de la Garenne as a residential centre. On 22 October 2002 the States adopted a Law granting an Act of Incorporation to the Association called "The Haut de la Garenne Trust".[10]
The States spent £2.25m in 2003 to convert the building into a youth hostel,[11] part of the Youth Hostels Association (England & Wales) (YHA). The youth hostel opened for business on 19 March 2004.[12]. The building was also used for occasional conferences.[13]

[edit] Child abuse investigation

Police moved into the hostel in February 2008 as part of an investigation into historic child abuse. Police excavated a cellar, and widely-publicized initial reports claimed that human remains and other evidence of torture and/or murder had been found. These reports later proved false.
However, the investigation did produce numerous allegations of child abuse from past residents, which have resulted in the convictions of a former resident and a former member of staff.
The hostel closed as the police investigation commenced and YHA have indicated that they do not wish to re-use the premises.[14] As of June 2009, the building is used for accommodation for military units visiting Jersey.[15]

[edit] Toponomy

Haut de la Garenne is in La Rue de la Pouclée et des Quatre Chemins, Saint Martin.
Haut de la Garenne is French for top of the warren. The building is situated on Mont de la Garenne, a hill overlooking Mont Orgueil where rabbits were hunted. This varenne of the King was a perquisite of the Crown.[16]

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Child's body found at care home". bbc.co.uk. 23 February 2008. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/jersey/7260625.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/documents/propositions/45567-6742-792006.pdf
  3. ^ Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey 26 June 1867
  4. ^ Chronique de Jersey 26 June 1867
  5. ^ "Loi (1921) sur l’Assemblée des Gouverneur, Bailli et Jurés (Transfert de Pouvoirs, etc.)". Jersey Legal Information Board. http://www.jerseylaw.je/Law/display.aspx?url=lawsinforce%5chtm%5cLawFiles%5c1900-1949%2fJersey_Law_04-1921.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  6. ^ HAUT DE LA GARENNE ACT 1960
  7. ^ Kershaw, Alison (23 February 2008). "Child's remains found at former care home". independent.co.uk. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/childs-remains-found-at-former-care-home-786401.html?r=RSS. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  8. ^ a b The house is not a home - but what will they do with Haut de la Garenne?, Jersey Evening Post, 8 March 1990
  9. ^ Jersey Evening Post, 29 June 1989
  10. ^ http://www.jerseylaw.je/Law/display.aspx?url=lawsinforce/htm/LawFiles/2003/L-01-2003.htm Law granting an Act of Incorporation to the Association called "The Haut de la Garenne Trust"
  11. ^ "Hostel getting association help". bbc.co.uk. 18 March 2004. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/jersey/3522956.stm. Retrieved 2008-02-23. 
  12. ^ http://www.thisisjersey.com/2004/02/23/tv-presenter-to-open-haut-de-la-garenne-hostel/
  13. ^ Jersey Evening Post 25 February 2008
  14. ^ "No plans to return to Haute de la Garenne". YHA. 14 November 2008. http://www.yha.org.uk/about-yha/press-centre/press-releases/2008-press-releases/No_plans_to_return_to_Haute_de_la_Garenne.aspx. Retrieved 19 June 2009. 
  15. ^ http://www.gov.je/ChiefMinister/News/HDLGMilitaryUse.htm
  16. ^ Jersey Place Names, Société Jersiaise 1986 ISBN 0901897175
Coordinates: 49°12′5″N 2°1′37″W / 49.20139°N 2.02694°W / 49.20139; -2.02694
 
This page was last modified on 6 September 2010 at 18:18.

Jersey's hidden history

Fri.29th Feb.2008

Jersey
Offshore banking has brought wealthy investors to Jersey
The discovery of human remains during a child abuse investigation on Jersey has thrown the spotlight onto an island which some say has thrived on secrecy.
Neither part of the UK, nor entirely independent from it, Jersey is a nine miles wide by five anomaly.

The quirks of history, from which its blend of British and French culture evolved, have also rendered the island, literally, a law unto itself.

Although tourists flock to its golden beaches, the island's status as a tax haven and its dark history of Nazi occupation loom large.

And long before the latest abuse accusations surfaced, Jersey had gained a reputation for idiosyncrasy.

Threat of sanctions
The writer Victor Hugo - author of Les Miserables and a one-time Jersey resident - described the Channel Islands as "pieces of France dropped in the sea and picked up by England". History bears him out.

When the English King John lost the Duchy of Normandy in 1204 to France, Jersey's inhabitants chose to remain loyal to their erstwhile Duke.
The islanders were confirmed as subjects of the English crown, but were never absorbed into England nor, subsequently, Britain. They held onto their own judicial system, and remained more or less self-governing.


Jersey States
Jersey's parliament - the States - draws up legislation for the island

As a result, Jersey's official status is a British crown dependency. It relies on the British government for defence and international representation, but pays no taxes to London, sends no MPs to Westminster and retains its own Norman legal code.
Culturally, it has developed into a curious blend of its two neighbours, where English is spoken but Norman names abound. Some islanders still speak Jerriais, an odd blend of Norman French and Norse.

Prying eyes

The ability of this tiny island, with a population of just over 91,000 to make its own rules (it does not belong to the EU) has allowed it to develop its status as a tax haven.

With no VAT, no capital gains or estate tax and income tax capped at 20%, Jersey has attracted both wealthy incomers and investors attracted by the lure of offshore banking. Although its maximum speed limit is 40mph, the island has the highest concentration of Porsches in the world.

But like any other tax haven, Jersey has relied on being able to keep private information away from the glare of prying eyes.

Until 2002, it refused to share information on tax evasion with the world's largest economic monitoring group, the OECD. It only relented under threat of sanctions.

This "culture of concealment", the island's former health minister Stuart Syvret claimed when interviewed by a BBC News website reporter when the Haut de la Garenne allegations became public, was responsible for Jersey's failure to address child abuse in its midst.


A Luftwaffe officer talks to a policeman in German-occupied St Helier, Jersey
Jersey was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1940 to 1945
Jersey's parliament, the States, may be democratic: It is composed of 12 senators and 29 deputies, all directly elected, and 12 constables appointed by parish councils.

But the lack of a strong party system - all members of the States are currently independents - has led to what Mr Syvert identifies as a lack of scrutiny and a "one-party state".

But this ability to keep their own counsel in the face of outsiders has been a source of pride for many on the island - in particular, during occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Resistance was only ever passive, and an estimated 900 children were the results of liaisons between local women and German soldiers. But there was no pro-Hitler political movement as in other occupied areas, and no islanders were implicated in handing over Jews. Indeed one Jerseyman, Albert Bedane, concealed a Dutch Jew, a French prisoner of War and Russian slave labourers from the SS.

But, for now, the grim discoveries in Haut de la Garenne overshadow this heroism.

Investigation into Jersey child abuse

Tues.4th December 2007


By Robert Hall
BBC News

Children in silhouette
Police have asked any other alleged victims to contact them
A police investigation in Jersey has highlighted alleged physical and sexual abuse against children dating back to the 1960s.
The current focus is a children's care home where attacks may have taken place over three decades.
On a hilltop near Jersey's east coast, the buildings are familiar as a setting for the BBC's Bergerac series.
But, after 12 months of covert investigation, detectives believe the former Haut de la Garenne care home may have had a more sinister past.
Built at the turn of the 20th Century, Haut de La Garenne served as a school and as an orphanage, before becoming part of Jersey's childcare provision.
Until its closure in the 1980s, it housed up to 60 young people with special needs.
Jersey Police, following up a series of convictions for sexual offences involving officers from the island's Sea Cadet Corps, say they began to notice links between victims in those cases, and a number of island institutions, including Haut de la Garenne.
Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper told me that since deciding to reveal the operation, his officers have received over 100 calls and e-mails.
From those contacts they have identified more than 70 alleged victims, and at least 20 suspects.
Faced with such a major inquiry, Jersey has requested specialist help from the UK.
In the Incident Room, one local officer, Rachel Hart told me that many callers were distraught, others angry that complaints at the time had not been heeded.
'Not dealt with'
"They find it difficult to trust us," she said, "but I make it clear to them that this time we are taking any allegations very seriously."
Lenny Harper, who recalls similar inquiries in both the UK and Northern Ireland, says he believes these alleged offences span at least three decades.
The allegations range "from pretty severe physical and mental abuse right through to the most serious sexual crimes that you can imagine", he said.
"We will of course be looking to see if there are any criminal implications into why these matters weren't dealt with, and why they weren't brought before the courts."
Police say it is vital that any alleged victims still unidentified contact the Incident Room as soon as possible, on 0800 7357777.
Investigating Jersey's 'abuse' history