Cost of law firm raid kept from taxpayer

TREASURY and Resources is refusing to say how much taxpayers’ money has been paid in damages and costs following an unlawful police raid on a law firm’s premises.

TREASURY and Resources is refusing to say how much taxpayers’ money has been paid in damages and costs following an unlawful police raid on a law firm’s premises.

Officers executed a warrant on AFR Advocates Court Place headquarters at 3am in June 2010 in an effort to recover a computer and mobile phone belonging to clients.

AFR actioned the chief of police and Royal Court Judge Russell Finch, claiming that the raid was unlawful.

Following two years of court wrangling the case was decided in AFR’s favour by consent.

Damages and costs were awarded to AFR but repeated attempts by the Guernsey Press for Treasury and Resources to reveal the figures have not been answered.

Comments for: "Cost of law firm raid kept from taxpayer"

vic gamble

...surely the firm of advocates would not be shy in providing this information...but it is quite sinister that the taxpayers, who footed the bill, are being told, it is none of your business!!

Ambulance Chaser, LLB (Hons), QC

How on earth can this be deemed confidential.

Cloaks and daggers. Shielding incompetence.

No news there...

JamieC

This is grotesque. The raid was based on a false premise (searching for undefined computers and persons already in custody) and was manifestly wrong, overbearing and intimidating.

After trying every temporizing mechanism at their disposal the States capitulated after Mr. Rice took outside advice. Had they done so at the outset the costs would have been much lower and I am sure that an apology to AFR would have been adequate.

The public have an obvious right to know the full costs and the States a duty of candour to disclose them.

damo

Just like the sum paid to the Wyran trawlers who were illegally kept off our fishing grounds....(circa £4M by the way) !!!

It's our bloody money, i want to know where it's going. If i refused to tell the states where my money came from and went to i would eventually end up in jail !

Ed

They ought to be obliged to apprise the tax payers of the details as it will enable the latter to derive important conclusions. That is whether or not the amount spent was acceptable, thereby meaning that these individuals are accomplished in their fields and so suitable to remain in those positions, or completely preposterous and so sufficient to make these individuals worthy of being dismissed because the capital squandered could have been used more profitably.

Phil

And here we have YET ANOTHER reason that we need a Freedom of Information law. Despite their protestations to the contrary, our government and civil servants cannot be relied upon to provide the public with details of matters that they should be fully entitled to see.

Ted

Why would you want the donkeys to know what their police and "justice" system cost? These are state secrets that would endanger society as we know it if revealed. The secret police and secret courts must be preserved at all costs. Let the donkeys follow their carrots, respond to the stick and keep their blinkers on.

guernseyal

The payout must have been big enough to scare people into keeping it quiet. Just like the fishermans compensation a while back.

So much for the new States with openess to the fore.

Disgusted of Guernsey.

plato

Where there is law there is no justice

Martino

This raid was

R eckless

I ll-conceived

C overt and

E xpensive (very expensive as it turns out)

It was also

F oolish

I llegal

N aive

C lumsy

H eadstrong

Medium G

They would have got away with it, if they were picking on Joe Public as per normal....

V is for V.....

Of more convcern is the increasing remit of Rice and his powers and no accountability, you can't give one without demanding the other

sign

Fail to see why the public shouldn't know? At teh very least we should know how the compensation is calculated.

I can understand why they want to keep it quite. AFR don't want us to know if they got a fat cheque and the police don't want us to know what it cost us

Wheres the accountability........

mrspinthepantry

If you actually read the full article AFR are on record saying they have no problem with the figure being made public.

States House

Has anyone thought to ask them directly?

Ed

I really wish that the deputies and individuals in charge of such sectors peruse the posts made on this site and use some of them- one's that are corroborated with evidence wherein it is evident that profound ratiocination has been applied- for their meetings/debates as I sincerely believe that it will create a far more rich, stimulating environment in when the States and can conduct debate, thereby meaning that they will be able to derive rational conclusions and adopt informed approaches to solving local issues. Have they ever contemplated assessing their agenda ideas from an at least somewhat philosophical perspective ? If so, I would enjoy the role of a deputy as, if that aforementioned question is answered in the affirmative, the routine political business will be far more intellectually-stimulating... I do think that their ought to be some time designated for light (but still relevant/appropriate) conversation and that the heavy discussions- the one's which I advocate- are punctuated with the light piece of humour.

Sorry that I went off on a tangent, but this is is worth mentioning.

Island Wide Voting

I wonder how this is going to be hidden in the States official accounts?

It will require the co-operation (conspiracy even?) of Mr Rice, his Home Department Civil Servant boss Paul Whitfield,the Home Department political board of Jonathan Le Tocq,Francis Quinn,Michelle le Clerc,Arrun Wilkie and newcomer Mary Lowe,plus the States auditors and last but not least Heidi Soulsby, Michelle le Clerc ( again) Sandra James, Peter Sherbourne and Paul Arditti of the Public Accounts Committee who will have to agree to set aside their mandate to oversee proper scrutiny to ensure that all States bodies operate to the highest standards in financial matters

It only takes two people to conspire !Take your pick

PBFalla ...time to step in with your infamous catchphrase.Time also for one of our newer,eager,not yet under the thumb deputies to ask the relevant questions in public

PS Thank you Deputy Laurie Queripel for winkling out the fact that no less than 125 States rental properties are currently unoccupied.That was kept pretty quiet

Dave Jones

IWV

I won’t be drawn on the compensation claim paid to a Law firm as I have no knowledge of the details.

However on your last point, it has hardly been kept quite or a secret, as I am forever answering questions on this specific issue. The number of voids fluctuates all the time.

Of the 125, 42 of them are at Cour Du Parc which is to be completely refurbished, a further five units are spread across three properties that the Department has earmarked for sale (with the proceeds being paid into the Corporate Housing Programme Fund and used to fund future housing developments). 20 others have just become empty as their tenants have moved to smaller properties at the new Clos Barbier development.

All of the tenants in that instance were under-occupying, and by moving out they have freed up properties that can be allocated to families who need a family home. However, one unavoidable by-product of their migration is a sudden influx of empty properties.

A property can become empty for several reasons: the tenant may move into private rented accommodation, or a partial ownership property, or a care home. They may choose to move in with another family. They may die, or be evicted, or be transferred by the Department into a Guernsey Housing Association property or a different States House better suited to their needs. Sometimes the Department knows when a property is going to become empty; sometimes not. Void numbers will go up and down.

It is not uncommon, thanks to the nominations agreement between the Department and the Guernsey Housing Association, for a large number of the Department’s properties to become empty simultaneously.

I hope that helps put the number in perspective

Island Wide Voting

Thank you Dave.You have a good reputation for always being open and not afraid of the truth

Sounds like the question was asked at an unfortunate time

markkB

Maybe Mr Queripel should have talked to Deputy Jones first.

Phil

Dave

"You have no knowledge of the details"????

How about just commenting on the principle of not telling the public this kind of information? Were you one of those who said "we don't need a Fredom of Information Law, we have open government"? Open government my a**e, time after time after time we see incompetence covered up and the people involved rewarded with promotions etc in spite of their failings.

Dave Jones

Phil

I don’t have the details of this settlement and I was not party to any agreement on it being kept confidential.

As a general principle we should be open and honest on these matters, people will get things wrong and clearly in this case, given the outcome and the fact that there has been some sort of deal done, those responsible will have to explain what took place.

I said we did not need the UK version of the FOIA, as it was pretty useless given that the government can blank out anything that they deem is a threat to national security or is not in the public interest. It is also hugly expensive to administer given that it does not give the public what they want.

There will always be things that are kept confidential, that is a fact of life and either side is free to agree or not that that is the going to be the case.

There are things done that I as a member of the States are not particulary proud of on occasions and I suspect there will be more questions from deputies on this issue.

mrspinthepantry

Dave, I can't disagree with what you have said there, although you haven't gone far enough for me but at least you have voiced a small amount of concern and an opinion. However I find it very worrying that the majority of States members seem content to just sit back and hope this incident, along with all the others that keep mounting up, just goes away.

I don't even see the usual meaningless political comments like "This incident was regrettable, we must make sure this doesn't happen again" or "I'll campaign to make the facts of this case and the tax payers money involved available to the public" I wouldn't expect much to come from statements like that, but come on guys, at least pretend!

Is it the the house doesn't care? Do they think that the rest of us are stupid? Maybe in this particular case since it's now on record that you have no authority over them are you all scared of the Police?

There is a continuing chorus from the electorate that this is DEFINITELY the worst States ever. Has this not filtered back to the other Deputies?

If I was living in the UK I would be a Conservative voter, I've always stated loudly that unless you take part in the political process then you have no right to criticise it. Yet now I can find no reason to vote again. It just keeps getting worse, each time costing us huge amounts of money.

islander

IWV

This is called increasing our deficit budget.

Fishermans payout£3.9 Million

£2.6 Million payout LAGAN Inquiry?

AFC payout?

And how much more has slipped through the net?.

Our. elected Deputies are ill advised by senior civil servants and imported consultants.

Those responsible for these failures should jump ship before it sinks deeper into this black hole.

Who is Home Department Chief Civil Servant Mr Paul Whitfield answerable to?

islander

P O L I C E G A T E?

If you commit a crime you swear on oath for the truth.

The taxpayer takes on the Authority who is witholding evidence.

Do we find them guilty or not guilty of witholding evidence?

If the Authority is found guilty then all those involved with the cover up should be dismissed from their duties.

required

Fail to understand why this is public information other than to save the poloces blushes. If it wer ein the public interest I could understand but this is self preservation.

Unlike most debates on this site i think there will only be a few people against revealing this info, AFR and the pOlice. Everyone else would be in agreement

Lord Denning, MR

With costs (their own presumably) and damages, I think AFR would be looking at at least £100k

Martino

I'd have thought 100k would barely cover the 'legal costs' of AFR sending a couple of angry letters claiming the much, much higher compensation award they would have been given in this secret out of court deal.

Johno

We HAVE a damned right to know.

This guy is costing the island millions!

JamieC

Hang on - it was under Mr. Le Page, the previous Chief of Police's watch, not under Mr. Rice, who only took his post after the raid occurred.

And it was Mr. Rice who sought to make his officers personally accountable for their actions and then sought outside legal advice, which we can presume was that the matter was indefensible.

And so the States then capitulated after doing everything possible to procrastinate proceedings, thereby engendering considerable costs and much ill-feeling.

And we, the public, have to pay for it. But we are not to see the bill.

Mr Bee

Johno

Correction: Both these guys are costing us millions in various ways...

Dave Jones

Ray

That should have been 24 at Clos Barbier

Jack

Therefore you only have 59 voids with your correction? A lot of unexplained empty properties!

Dave Jones

Jack

I don’t think the number that is empty is that significant.

We have over 1,700 properties and there will always be a number that are empty for various reasons. We have had more voids over the last few years simply because many of them were / are earmarked for demolition and rebuild or as in the case of Cour Du Parc complete refurbishment.

Some of the 59 empty properties you refer to are being offered to tenants or tenants are in the process of moving in.

Others are undergoing renovation or other upgrading works; these will be at various stages from renovations due to start right through to the finishing touches being applied.

1 property is awaiting engineer’s assessment/plans for significant structural work.

islander

Deputy Dave Jones.

Shhhh keep this information out of this section.You are honest of not hiding from the media.More like you in government is needed.

Forest

YAY!!!

First cover up of the year and its only just February!

Well done everyone involved you must all be SOOO PROUD!

mrspinthepantry

I've posted several times on here against the Police's new found gun fascination. i.e. Doesn't make me or anyone else I know feel safe, they are going to cause a serious incident themselves eventually etc.

Now this case has been bought to our attention again I'm even more worried now.......

Late night raids, warrant signed by wrong person but authorised by judge anyway, threats of unlawful damage to property at 3am if they don't get what they want - A general attitude of thinking they can do what they like and get away with it in fact. As an earlier posted pointed out, kindof picked on the wrong people here!

What if the above incident was an armed one acting on the wrong information?

I can only conclude that :-

1) Eventually they are going to do something stupid (Either fatally or cause serious injury)

2) It's going to be covered up afterwards

3) As always with anything to do with our government NO-ONE is ever held accountable.

Deafening silence from our deputies unsurprisingly. Probably scared of a midnight snatch squad since we still haven't worked out who the Police answer to.

I'm never voting again.

geezerboy

would hope the queripel brothers get there teeth into this,on another note strong rumours that the police armoured car is kaput??,

come on you new deputies OPEN GOVERMENT.

Nigel

We HAVE to know

We have a RIGHT to know

It is OUR money

My guess is at least 500k if not more

This is a cover up

Openness and transparency? Don't make me laugh!

Come on deputies, lobby to get this information made public as a matter of urgency.

SaintsBay

My teenage son tells me that officers (in twos)wait in the school's motorbike parks measuring the youngsters number-plates with a template and then cautioning miscreants if their plates are out by a matter of millimetres - my son now really looks up to the police !!

I recently called the local securetate to report two cars travelling at high speed through narrow lanes - i even gave the numbers (they werent plod cars in case you were wondering)

I was told that there was nothing they could do as it happened all the time !!!!

Talk about a Theatre of the Absurd.

sarnia expat

I would like to know why the buildings facilities manager who had to deal with the irate bobbies when they demanded entry, didn't call their bluff and say ok, go ahead break down my door, your warrant is not good enough. Could someone explain the legalities surrounding this scenario? would it be that AFR would be done for resisting entry or something similar?

Costs will run into £800k plus.

concerned

I want finch in jail.

Walrus

Hear, hear!

The guy's a loose cannon, particularly with his unnecessarily rude comments to people he's just sentenced.

Ted

You bunch of whinging donkeys on here had better watch yourselves if you don't want to get a nightime visit from the defenders of freedom. If an illegal break-in at an advocate's office can be swept under the carpet there will be no problem in dealing with plebs like you.

Raffles

How right you are Ted. Customs used to regularly break in to properties to have a look around and/or plant listening devices. If anything was ever discovered then a back dated court warrant could always be obtained without a problem, how ethical our law enforcers are!!

JamieC

To which you can add the UK telephone engineers setting up taps on GT exchange lines without warrants. They used to come to stay at the Duke of Richmond every couple of months. An Australian friend of mine who was a long term resident of that hotel knew them well from when there was a small bar to the right of reception there.

Oh, and did you know that a squad car was regularly following Adv. Richardson home?

And another friend who was a senior judge said that he was nauseated with the corruption that he saw on a regular basis in Guernsey.

And not one Deputy has the guts to do anything about it.

Do they really think that they are helping the Island?

Walrus

Don't forget about the backhanders that go on behind closed doors.

Gsyman

What about the cover-ups that have happened in the past?

Very senior politicians allegedly helping themselves from funds for which they were acting as trustees, and using the money to go on holiday with their wife. The bank involved apparently reported it to the FIU who referred it to the law officers, who came back with 'It's not in the public interest to prosecute.'

Open and transparent government..I don't think so.

Concerned 2

There are some serious claims here and it is very easy to hide and make such claims.

But if you can support such claims, one should put it in the hands of the correct people, and if it is against people in authority and you do not have confidence in doing so, go the Bailiff's Office and ask for advice.

If you continue to hide and use such sites to make these claims you are as bad as those who you are making these claims against as, you are not allowing everyone to become aware of what is being done, by people in authority who we are supposed to trust.

One could say you are doing a deal with them behind closed doors!

A.J.

It's unlikely to bother those who were involved in the decision making, as the compensation did'nt come from the place it would have had any affect, ie: their own pockets!

Always a sobering thought.

markB

So when the States do their end of year accounts how do they hide something like this?..... do they put it down under “Bent deals and dodgy dealings”

nikkers

Just the other day Finch was threatening noisy people in court with jail for cheering their pal being released, a joke of a person.Those involved should all be prosecuted,they will not be though as the cops all huddle up shoulder to shoulder when they screw things up. Shame for the minority of the force who are good at their jobs.i suspect mrspinthepantry has it right.

PB FALLA

I have no doubt the finance industry are behind this episode,there have been many similar raids over the last decade,mainly kept quiet from the public,now the total cost of all the other blundered raids would be nice to know

Kick the finance out and

Give The Islands Back To The Locals

Bring back the good old days before its to late

pb falla

Well what a shambles yet again,i have no doubt the finance industry are the problem behind this case,there have been many similar raids around the islands in the last 10 years on small business and private individuals who didnt have the money to fight back against this nept police force and goverment departments mainkly the gfsc,how much have all these raids cost?

Its time to kick the finance out and get end the false economy and false dreams

Back to the good old days,bring it on

Some say they have gone forever,lets hope not

bob

I presume you were drunk when you wrot ethis piece of nonsense at 4am

pb falla

No you presume wrong

AGAIN

hahahahahh

my god, that is all i can say about this post! Total lunacy!

pb falla

Because you have the blinkers on

I have the facts, so i know that there have been many similar raids which have come up with nothing

Basically

The gfsc and police are a shambles

bob

This quote from an NHS whistle blower talking about gagging orders ums it up: "This is wider than just unlawful compromise agreements. This is a culture that's driven by the top. This is a culture of fear, a culture of oppression - of information that's either going to embarrass a civil servant or embarrass a minister"

Island Wide Voting

bob

Something else Mr Rice has imported into the island then

Citizen Ken

Guernsey is a police state.

Taxpayer

Who is accountable for this mess!

Surely heads should role, civil servants should be accountable for their actions much like the private sector!

Jack

Just give all the cops a gun and send them out on mopeds like they do in Spain, instead of using our rapid response vehicles as police cars. Then we can recoup something by selling them of to Greater Manchester or Moscow Constabularies, rather than wearing them out. Explanation needed why old persons doors have been broken down and shady financial settlements made. It must make any law abiding person think twice before coming to Guernsey. Mr Rice has been given too much spending money!

islander

We in GUERNSEY are not part of Great Britain,United Kingdom or the E U but only crown dependancy of the United Kingdom.

We in Guernsey are relying more on UK laws when it comes to policing our island.English Officer controlling law and order and border controls.

Allowed to wear anti-terrorism uniforms on our streets.

Allowed to drive around in armoured vehicles.

Allowed forced entry into misin-formed evidence into property.

Witholding errors of their misjudgment and cost.

GUERNSEY must not be bullied into UK submission

Johno

islander

Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately the more the top level jobs go to UK imports ie: Enviroment, Heritage Dept (she is a nightmare!)Police Dept, HSSD, Enviromental Health etc etc the more we will bring in UK style legislation, laws etc.

Personaly I find it insulting that we seem unable to promote within the island. Are we really all that useless?

I seem to recall we managed very well before thank you very much.

Await the accusations of xenophobia!

Interested

You're right -all of the top states go to uk imports - locals aren't even considered

Guernsey Fudge

One of the most disturbing facts about this case is the 'accidentally erased' telephone call.

Are any of our newly elected deputies who promised a new order, and got voted in with the promise of 'Open and Government' going to have the guts to raise their heads above the parapet on this one ?

Call for an Independent and Open Public Inquiry, or resign en mass so we can get some common sense restored before there is a huge reaction of the voting public.

JamieC

Yes. I can't believe that it was not digitally recorded automatically along with the many calls to/from the Police station every day.

So why did THIS one get deleted?

Do they have no back-up facilities?

Couldn't it be retrieved?

As for the Deputies - well they may have believed that before election, but they hadn't reckoned on the Guernsey Civil Service for whom transparency / daylight is evidently a horror.

PB FALLA

guernsey polics,goverment and gfsc are about as transparent as a black bin bag

Whst a shambolic trio

HOLD YOUR HEAD IN SHAME