It emerged yesterday that William Bailhache tried to block the publication of a report on the honorary police which could have had devastating consequences for the centuries-old system. His advice to a Scrutiny panel was that they should not publish the legal opinion of UK lawyer Jonathon Cooper, who had concluded that the system of both Centeniers and Magistrates could contravene human rights because of their role as ‘judge and jury’. Deputy Bob Hill, the chairman of the Scrutiny panel, resigned after a row over the issue with his panel members and yesterday not only published the report but also revealed that Mr Bailhache had sought to block the report because of the ‘chaos’ it could cause. But today the Attorney General made clear his unhappiness with Deputy Hill’s revelations. Although out of the Island, he sent his reaction to the media via Solicitor General Stéphanie Nicolle. She said: ‘The Attorney General is currently out of the Island on States business, but has had yesterday’s report in the Jersey Evening Post brought to his attention. He has asked me to emphasise that he has always recognised that it was in the discretion of the Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel as to whether the Cooper report should or should not be published and that has always been the position with the panel. ‘The advice of the Attorney General to any minister or Scrutiny panel on legal issues is confidential. It was on that basis that the Attorney proceeded to advise in this case and while he is not prepared to enter public debate about why that particular advice was given, he does indicate that if States Members are not prepared to respect that confidentiality, there will be an inevitable impact on how and what advice is given by the Law Officers in the future,’ said Ms Nicolle.
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
Read the latest free supplements
Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.