Policeman who blew the whistle
Mr Gradwell was brought in after the retirement of the deputy chief officer of the States police, Lenny Harper, to try to make sense of an inquiry which had dragged Jersey’s good name through the mud but had resulted in few prosecutions and no evidence whatsoever of the high-level conspiracies and cover-ups that some still continue to insist must have been at the heart of the matter. What his inquiries revealed clearly conflicted with the standards that he believed should characterise a properly conducted investigation into alleged crimes of the most serious nature.
Wrongly, he reached the conclusion that the botched business should receive the oxygen of publicity at the earliest possible moment. That he should have waited until the official report into the whole matter could be published is beyond question.
However, if Mr Gradwell’s timing was at fault as far as the dissemination of information was concerned, the findings of his inquiry remain as sound as they ever were. Criticism of his unprofessional handling of the information he gathered does not undermine the conclusions he was forced to draw from what he discovered relating to the chaotic search at Haut de la Garenne and to the resources that had been poured into the case. He quite correctly identified the frantic pursuit of forensic evidence that was never there and the profligate expenditure of public funds that ensued in that fruitless effort.
|Gradwell & the tooth fairy tats|
We might call Mr Gradwell a whistle-blower, though, it must be said, one who could have envisaged the legitimate means of publishing information which the public deserved to hear without resorting to whistle-blowing. If he deserves that label, it is ironic that those who are keenest to attack his approach and his findings are very eager to uphold the general principle of whistle-blowing – provided that it suits their agenda and their entrenched interpretation of the whole Haut de la Garenne debacle.