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Jersey 'victims' demand answers

Police officer at former home Haut de la Garenne
The inquiry is focused on a former children's home on the island

Lawyers for alleged victims at the centre of an historic abuse inquiry in Jersey are demanding to know why more people have not been charged.

They say the lack of charges is "beyond devastating" for their clients.

Three people have been charged in connection with the inquiry, although more arrests have been made since the last person was charged in May.

But lawyer Philip Sinel said "known perpetrators are not being arrested, let alone prosecuted".

There are more than 80 suspects in the inquiry, which is focused on the Haut de la Garenne former children's home.

'Ultimate rejection'

In a letter to lawyers appointed by the States of Jersey to determine if the police have enough evidence to bring charges in individual cases, Mr Sinel, who represents alleged victims, said: "The effect on my clients on a day to day basis of the failure to prosecute is severe.

"I am sure you will appreciate that my clients were severely damaged as children, accordingly, they are hurt, scared and scarred.

"A failure to prosecute and convict would be the ultimate betrayal of them by the Government, it would be the ultimate rejection of them and of their rights as human beings."

Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper
There are people on the island who just don't want us going down the route of this inquiry
Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper

He added that a recent arrest and subsequent release of a suspect had sent a "very strong message" to his clients that the "police are being thwarted by those in charge of the prosecution".

Deputy Chief Officer Lenny Harper, who recently retired after leading a two-year-long police inquiry into historic child abuse in Jersey, said that "an old boy network" was obstructing investigations.

He told the Daily Telegraph: "I can quite clearly say that the investigation is being held up.

"There are people on the island who just don't want us going down the route of this inquiry."

This is not the first time concerns have been raised about the way claims of abuse have been handled by the Jersey authorities.

The Jersey government has previously dismissed allegations of its "culture of concealment" and desire to sweep scandal under the carpet.

It has said it will set up an independent inquiry into the way children have been cared for on the island once criminal proceedings have finished.

Court appearances

About 100 people have alleged abuse dating from the early 1960s to 1986.

Jersey Police started an exploratory search of Haut de la Garenne and made their first significant discovery in February, finding what they believed to be a skull fragment.

So far police have found 65 milk teeth and more than 100 bone fragments at the former home.

But last month, the island's police said a murder inquiry may never take place because an exact date could not be put on the remains, believed to have come from children aged four to 11.

Three men - arrested as part of a separate wider inquiry into child abuse on the island - have appeared in court on Jersey.

On Tuesday, Gordon Claude Wateridge, 77, a former warder at Haut de la Garenne, appeared at the island's magistrates' court charged with 16 counts of indecent assault and one of assault.

He was the first person to be charged in connection with Haut de la Garenne and the charges relate to alleged offences against four girls and one boy in the 1970s.

Claude Donnelly, 68 is charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl on Jersey between 1971 and 1974.

And at the end of May, Michael Aubin, 45, was charged with sexually abusing three boys at Haut de la Garenne between 1977 and 1980.




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