Jun 20 2011

Top ex-cop blasts Jersey corruption

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

(Update: Paxman section removed – see my comments below the story.)

Jersey’s controversial ex-Senator Stuart Syvret, whom I write about in Treasure Islands, has a very important new post on his blog, entitled Jersey – or Palermo? It powerfully, even shockingly, backs up what I wrote about Jersey in treasure Islands.

The story starts years ago with a child abuse scandal, which was written about a fair bit in the mainstream press in Britain and Jersey, but amid allegations of a large-scale, systemic cover-up by the Jersey establishment. Before I get onto the real meat of this blog – the words of a top Jersey policeman – take a quick peek at just a couple of its bizarre twists and turns.

The child abuse probe was led by Northern Ireland-born Lenny Harper, who discovered not only the shocking scale of abuse, but also, perhaps even more shocking, the culture of complicity and cover-up that seemed to pervade the entire Jersey establishment, on this and other questions. What Syvret has now published is the text of an affidavit signed by the former Deputy Chief of the (Jersey) States police. Here are a few choice sections of the affidavit, which speak — or should I say shout — for themselves. I have no reason to believe this isn’t the genuine article. Harper:

“This was also where I began to discover that the normal rules of law enforcement did not apply in many areas of Jersey life.

I went to Jersey in 2002 full of expectation of the challenge that lay ahead.  I soon learnt that it was like nowhere else in the British Isles. I was puzzled at first by the hostile reaction from politicians to our efforts to stop the few bullies in the force from making the lives of their colleagues miserable.  This turned to anger at the complete obstruction to all our efforts to regulate the possession of high velocity weapons on the island.  I began to then see the close links and the way in which the various arms of Jersey society worked in order to stop any modernisation.  I saw the law being enforced by the Honorary forces, not on the basis of right and wrong, but simply on who was known to each other, or who went to school with each other.  When we tried to tackle police corruption, we again ran into a wall of hostility.  This time it was organised, as politicians and government ministers gave open support to the corrupt cops and their associates.  Prominent politicians met openly with disgraced corrupt former officers and made excuses for them.

There are no checks and balances on power and the abuse of it.  This is obvious each time one tries to make a complaint against any member of the government.

With such an absence of controls, such an absence of accountability, the ordinary decent people of Jersey are helpless.  Intentionally or not, the system has allowed corruption to flourish to such an extent that those seeking to combat it are the ones open to scorn.”

This is nothing short of an international scandal. Perhaps surprisingly, or perhaps not, I can’t find anything at all about it on the Jersey Evening Post’s website (through a search on “Harper” – even though Syvret’s widely read blog was published last Saturday. The “weapons” thing mentioned in the affidavit isn’t a tax haven issue – at least I don’t think so – but it is so instructuve about the rule of law, and so bizarre and unexpected, that I think I’ll highlight it here:

During the questioning of a man in connection with the unlawful possession of firearms he told officers that the SOJ Police Firearms Clerk, Norman Woods, had given him information about police activities in relation to himself.    Accordingly I arrested Woods and searched his home address.  At his address I recovered a huge number of firearms lying insecure in a bedroom.  These included an RPG7 Rocket Launcher which was later found to have only a minor fault.  Among the dozens of other firearms found at his address were some which had been handed into the police for destruction.  Lying around the room on the floor next to weapons such as 7.62 rifles, machine guns, and magnum revolvers, was a large quantity of ammunition for these and other weapons.  A ‘SEACAT’ Missile Launcher was also taken from his home.”

Whaaat? Remember – this is one of the world’s pre-eminent tax havens, which claims to be a ‘well-run, well regulated, transparent and co-operative international financial centre.”

And remember these are not the words of just anyone. This is one of Jersey’s former top police officers talking.

And if this, for some reason, weren’t enough to dispel any doubt about the sheer corruption of the place, one might ask Jersey’s former economic adviser. He’s called John Christensen. Read all about him in Treasure Islands too.

Syvret has also had some airing on this blog before. See my earlier post, entitled Stuart Syvret, Jersey’s first political prisoner since the Nazis left.

24 comments so far

Nick Palmer 6th June, 2011 10.39 pm

“We are trying to show off Jersey, internationally.”

Actually, what Frank Walker said (to Stuart Syvret) was “you are trying to shaft Jersey, internationally”.

Nick Shaxson 6st June, 2011 10.13 am

Well, listen to the actual clip. I disagree. But let me listen again . . .

Jill Gracia 6st June, 2011 9.41 am

Jersey – still under the jackboot!

Yoffty 6st June, 2011 11.44 am

Walker says ” you’re trying to shaft jersey internationally.”

665 The neighbour of the beast 6st June, 2011 12.03 pm

Definately “shaft”.

665 The neighbour of the beast 6st June, 2011 12.06 pm

…but the sentiment is the same.

The former Chief Minister was concerned that Mr Syvret might be damaging Jersey’s image as a clean, well regulated finance centre.

RICO SORDA 6st June, 2011 12.46 pm


Mr Shaxson you should read Voiceforchildren and my very own blogsite listed above. We, along with stuart , are blowing the lid off the Jersey Child Abuse Cover up

Rico Sorda

Lorna Savage 6st June, 2011 1.46 pm

Nick is right. We all know Frank said “YOU are trying to shaft Jersey internatiuonally” to Stuart.

Tony 6st June, 2011 4.02 pm

Tonights jep you can comment online re “planking story” but censorship prevails & no comment box available on Stuart Syvret court case story.Wrote to jep editor recently to ask why this happens to certain stories & is it a form of censorship,not even had the courtesy of a reply of receipt of the letter.

Nick Palmer 6st June, 2011 6.14 pm

It’s probably best to listen to the last few seconds of the clip where Jeremy Paxman himself clarifies what was said.

Tim South. 6st June, 2011 7.31 pm

Corruption in Jersey ? you mean like Mr Bill Ogley head of the civil service leaving Jersey after less than five years with a £500,000 golden handshake and big pension.

Before he left, he awarded the executive manager Mr Mike Pollard who ran the hospital management team badly ( Verita report ) £300,000.

Even the middle classes in Jersey are awaking to the smell of corruption, not suprising really there is so much of it.

Chris 6st June, 2011 8.50 pm

Yes this is a disgusting place to live…I used to love this island, still do really, but some really nasty, corrupt and selfish people have got every thing under their control.. The ordinary and good people of Jersey have lost.. When will the world wake up and help us… Your book is a fantastic read and I thoroughly enjoyed it…Thank you for taking the time to research and write it …

Nicholas Shaxson 6nd June, 2011 4.43 am

Update: I removed a section about Jeremy Paxman from this blog – I listened to it a couple of times and although it does sound very much like “we are trying to show off Jersey, internationally” – and that is what the BBC journalists (and I) heard on first listening, it actually could well be “you are trying to shaft Jersey, internationally” and Paxman did then offer a clarification on this, at the end of the programme, in Walker’s favour.

Yoffty 6nd June, 2011 12.42 pm

Yes Paxman did attempt to clarify what was said and still got it wrong. I ran the sound sample through a voice analysis program sound forge and Frank Walker said “you are trying to shaft Jersey, internationally” without any doubt.

The fact is it’s the behaviour of those in power in Jersey who have been shafting the ordinary people of Jersey for decades.

Leigh LaFon 6nd June, 2011 11.56 pm

So glad to see this coverage on your blog.

An interesting side note is that Frank Walker managed to wrangle a formal apology from BBC even though Paxman had corrected the quote by the end of the same program.

An Observer 6rd June, 2011 1.55 pm

Rico, if you want to ‘blow the lid off’ the child abuse story then get your facts right. Slating David Rose as a ‘child abuse denier’ is plain stupid. And questions need to be asked about how two dogs effectively derailed and discredited the entire abuse investigation. Once no bodies could be found the very real sexual abuse was all but forgotten. Sensationalism sucks.

Leigh LaFon 6rd June, 2011 11.45 pm

Take a look at what former SIO Lenny Harper just wrote on the Rico Sorda Blog.

“I think the spending on my watch came to £3.5m, which included the staff expenses when the enquiry was being carried out at full tilt, including archaeologists, anthropologists, and even a brand new incident room with all its equipment. Mr Warcup and Mr Gradwell spent, I believe, £3.7m doing whatever they did including rubbishing the victims and misleading the public about cellars, bones, teeth, shackles, and oh yes, the little matter of Graham Power’s suspension.’ Lenny Harper.”

For the States of Jersey to invest that much to show overspending by Mr Harper would be odd in itself, but after all that scrutiny of his spending, there was no violation to be found, and no disciplinary action could be taken. For such a tiny place Jersey invests a huge amount in the hiding of inconvenient evidence.

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Tom 10th October, 2012 2.56 am

Shame people still swallow all this conspiracy rubbish.

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spiritual warrior 8th August, 2014 12.13 pm

Having also experienced the Jersey Way , I too suffered under Mike Pollard , who offered me a back hander to go quietly.This was also covered up by Senator Le Sueur, the then Chief Minister.

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