Jersey

Ex-minister 'lied' over Jersey police chief suspension

Computers and desk inside the Care Inquiry Image copyright Jersey Care Inquiry
Image caption Mike Higgins was elected as Deputy of St Helier in 2008, after former police chief Graham Power was suspended

A former home affairs minister has been accused of a "stitch-up" over the suspension of a police chief who headed a historic child abuse investigation.

Deputy Mike Higgins said Deputy Andrew Lewis had "lied" at a secret States meeting in 2008 over his use of a police report to suspend Graham Power.

In later reviews Deputy Lewis said he had never seen the police report, the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry heard.

The inquiry is investigating historic child abuse in Jersey since 1945.

The States of Jersey recently published transcripts of secret discussions about Mr Power's suspension in 2008, following a proposition lodged by Deputy Higgins.

One transcript shows that in December 2008, Deputy Lewis told States members he used a preliminary report by the Metropolitan Police into the Jersey abuse investigation as a basis to "suspend" Mr Power.

Deputy Lewis said he had acted within the remit of the "rule of law", despite the report not being meant for disciplinary procedures.

However, he was accused of lying about his knowledge of the police report by Deputy Higgins, who cited a 2010 review into Mr Power's suspension which claimed Deputy Lewis had never seen the report.

Corrupt behaviour

Deputy Higgins said: "I have always been of the impression that that they decided to suspend [Mr Power] and then look for the evidence afterwards.

"Andrew Lewis' role in the whole affair is obviously open to question and in my view demonstrates explicit corrupt behaviour", Deputy Higgins said in his statement.

He also criticised the "culture in Jersey" which he suggested discouraged people from coming forward with information about cases of child abuse.

He said as a politician trying to help victims of abuse, he met "obstruction after obstruction" and that one of the things the inquiry needed to show was "the cover up" of incidents of abuse in Jersey.

Deputy Lewis is yet to give evidence to the inquiry.

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