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Harper: Abuser jailed for two years, but States lawyers didn’t want him charged

Harper: Abuser jailed for two years, but States lawyers didn’t want him charged

Thursday 14 January 2016

Harper: Abuser jailed for two years, but States lawyers didn’t want him charged


Prosecutors didn’t initially want to charge a child abuser who was eventually jailed for two years for indecently assaulting young girls at Haut de la Garenne, former Deputy Police Chief Lenny Harper has claimed at the abuse inquiry.

In his second day of evidence at the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, the former head of the historic abuse investigation said that there had been a dispute over whether there was enough evidence to justify the charges against Gordon Wateridge, who was later jailed for sex abuse.

And reference was also made to Mr Harper’s written statement to the inquiry, in which he confirmed that he never heard any allegations against notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile, or former Prime Minister Edward Heath.

The inquiry was shown an email by Advocates Stephen Baker and Cyril Whelan, who had been advising the Attorney General on prosecutions, in which they said that their“strong advice” was not to charge Wateridge when he was arrested, because an acquittal would have been disastrous for the inquiry.

Mr Harper said that the decision to charge Wateridge was the right one, a view that he said was borne out by his conviction and prison sentence. He added that at the time, the case against him had been the strongest one that the police had.

“Wateridge would never have been charged if it was not for me ignoring the Attorney General’s instructions,” said Mr Harper, in his statement.

Elsewhere, he also confirmed that neither Savile nor Ted Heath were part of the police investigation while he was in charge of it from its beginning to the middle of 2008.

He said: “I would also like to confirm that during the investigation into child abuse on the Island of Jersey I received no allegations against Jimmy Savile or Sir Edward Heath. I understand that both of those have subsequently been linked to the Island of Jersey. I do however know that Edward Heath was a frequent to the Island and a member of the boating community.”

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