The cover-up is what’s despicable
Thursday 28th February 2013, 3:00PM GMT.
NOW that the Home minister has had his opportunity to come clean in the Assembly about the AFR affair – but failed to do so – it is easy to see this for what it is: pure, old-fashioned cover-up.
That can be stated with confidence because there is no court order banning or gagging the release of how much taxpayer money has been squandered in the futile defence of an illegal 3am raid on the lawyers’ officers.
It says that damages and costs have already been agreed but merely makes no mention of what they are – not that they can’t be released.
So if there is anything stopping the disclosure it was brokered out of court and is just an agreement that can be put aside at any time by the parties involved.
And since AFR have already indicated their willingness to do so, it is the Home Department or their advisers who are blocking this and stopping islanders from knowing what their mistakes have cost.
We can only speculate why. Spending two years defending the door-storming raid on AFR and then backing down after a UK barrister reviewed the warrant and said that police didn’t have a leg to stand on is at best embarrassing.
At worst, it smacks of incompetence and the whole process has also drawn in the role of a judge of the Royal Court.
Should he have been clued up enough to prevent this debacle in the first place?
AFR clearly think so. ‘In these circumstances, we needed the judge to protect us. Regrettably, that did not happen,’ they said in a statement.
In short, there are some profound questions about how the police operated that night, who was supervising them and the relationship of the court with the police and how seriously the court takes its scrutiny role.
Home has made an utter hash of this and what should have been damage limitation has now become something far more serious.
What we are witnessing in terms of open government is far from a tectonic shift towards transparency, despite the Sarnian Spring islanders were promised.
Instead, it is the same grubby dash to avoid blame and duck responsibility while the taxpayer picks up the tab.
Now that is despicable.
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