Guernsey Press

Doctor accuses St Pier of being reckless, unfair and irresponsible

A DOCTOR has slammed the findings of a year-long investigation which cleared Deputy Gavin St Pier of abusing parliamentary privilege when he named her in a speech in the States Assembly.

Medical Specialist Group chairman Steve Evans. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 32544387)

A panel of politicians voted by a 3-2 majority to throw out the allegation.

It said that Deputy St Pier’s controversial speech criticising safeguarding services and naming Dr Sandie Bohin could not possibly have abused parliamentary privilege because he genuinely believed he was acting in the public interest.

Dr Bohin said yesterday that she could not understand the panel’s verdict.

‘Deputy St Pier named me in a wholly misleading manner and I consider his doing so was reckless, irresponsible and fundamentally wrong,’ she said.

‘I remain utterly devastated by Deputy St Pier’s reckless actions, which have caused me both personal distress and harm, but more importantly have harmed the services which work so hard to protect vulnerable children on the island.’

States members have immunity from prosecution over anything said in the Assembly. However, they can be sanctioned by their peers if they are found to have abused this privilege.

Deputies John Gollop, Peter Roffey and Lyndon Trott found in favour of Deputy St Pier but Deputies Peter Ferbrache and David De Lisle dissented and believed there was an abuse of privilege – a stance described as ‘rational’ by Dr Bohin.

‘I was also pleased to note that, while the panel did not find Deputy St Pier had abused his privilege, they did indicate that they did not endorse his tactics, recorded that his actions had caused real upset and distress, and that they may not have acted in the same way,’ said Dr Bohin.

Medical Specialist Group chairman Steve Evans profoundly disagreed with the panel’s verdict.

‘If one member of the panel had voted differently, the outcome would have been different,’ said Dr Evans.

‘Deputy St Pier could have made his concerns known without naming any individual doctor.

‘Had he done so, there would have been no complaint.

‘We fully respect that deputies are entitled to raise issues of public importance.

‘The problem here is that Deputy St Pier went far beyond raising an issue of public importance and took the wholly unnecessary step of naming a specific doctor, Dr Bohin, and of doing so in the context of several very serious allegations.

‘Those allegations were misleading and fundamentally wrong in fact, for the reasons given and which are referenced in the [panel’s] report.

‘This was a reckless act and one which in our view was wholly unfair and irresponsible.’

Dr Evans accused the panel of setting a dangerous precedent.

When the verdict of the panel was released, Deputy St Pier said the case against him should have been dismissed months earlier and criticised the investigation for taking too long.

He has raised concerns about medical and safeguarding services.

Asked whether there was now a feud between Deputy St Pier and the MSG, Deputy Evans said: ‘I don’t want to guess what’s going on inside Deputy St Pier’s head.

‘As the MSG, we have a responsibility to support and stand up for our partners, associates and employees.’