Deputy Russell Labey has hit out in the States at how the Historic Abuse Inquiry team is planning to release its long awaited report next month.
In a press release the panel has announced “interested parties and their legal representatives will be invited to St Paul’s Centre at 13:00 on 3 July and will have two hours to read the report before it goes public. Whilst they’re reading the report they wont be allowed to contact anyone including the media.”
The press release then goes on to explain that “at 15:00, St Paul’s will be open to the public and the media. There will be a statement from IJCI (Independent Jersey Care Inquiry) Chair, Frances Oldham QC. But the Panel will not be taking any questions or giving interviews. A pool arrangement – a shared deal - will be in place to provide video footage and photographs of the report’s launch and will be made available as soon as possible after the event.”
During this morning’s sitting the deputy asked the Chief Minister a series of emergency questions and pressured him to convince the panel to change its plans.
According to the deputy the release is being rushed, and he fears this will mean people will not have enough time to digest the findings. Deputy Mike Higgins believes the report could be 500 pages long, and Deputy Andrew Lewis talked of it stretching to 1,000s of pages.
Deputy Labey wants journalists to be able to join the 'interested parties' in ‘a lock in’ and says that should happen earlier in the day so there’s time to analyse the findings. He’s also critical of the panel for not answering questions. He believes this would help clarify points. The deputy told the house around £26m has been spent on the report.
The Chief Minister stressed the inquiry was totally independent and he doesn’t have any influence – nor should he – on how it is handled. He did say though that he’d pass members’ comments on, and that he would be calling a press conference to give his reaction to the report.
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