Jersey abuse inquiry: Lenny Harper 'told not to return' to island

Lenny Harper
Image caption Lenny Harper was deputy chief officer of the States of Jersey Police in 2003

The head of an inquiry into historical child abuse in Jersey said he was advised not to return to the island.

Lenny Harper, who retired in 2008, led the investigation centred on homes such as Haut de la Garrenne.

He gave evidence to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry over video link from Edinburgh rather than in person.

Mr Harper said this was on the advice of his lawyer over concerns Jersey law officers had prepared a "nasty surprise" for him.

States of Jersey Police said he would not have been arrested if he had returned.

Mr Harper said: "We were told by several people that the States lawyers had been discussing in the office that they had a nasty surprise for me if I arrived back in Jersey.

"Bearing in mind they had already launched investigations a few years back without telling me. The lawyer advised me against going back so I took his advice."

Leaked documents

Mr Harper gave two days of evidence to the care inquiry this week about the historic child abuse investigation he led, called Operation Rectangle.

He said he did not know what form the "nasty surprise" would take, but suspected it was in connection with "baseless" allegations he had leaked documents.

"I have got previous experience of them manoeuvring so I don't know what they were planning.

"I am happy that the only crime I've committed in their eyes is covering up child abuse.

"I'm not losing any sleep over it but my lawyer felt their capability to produce anything out of the dishonest hat, it would be best if I gave my evidence from Edinburgh."

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