“let’s study the judgement”

The BBC report Secretary of State Peter Hain’s comments on the High Court judgement by Mr Justice Girvan, or rather as the BBC report states “The NI Secretary has rejected calls for the suspension of some of his top civil servants after they were criticised by a High Court judge.” According to the report Peter Hain said “I am not intending to suspend them at all, so let’s study the judgement, learn any lessons that need to be learned and respond accordingly”. That seems to suggest there will not be an attempt to appeal the judgement, but why should Hain suspend those civil servants for providing “partial, misleading and incorrect information” to the court? After all, as Mr Justice Girvan pointed out, the Secretary of State himself “approve[d] and sanction[ed] the swearing and filing of an affidavit” that “was ambiguous and failed to disclose all the relevant material pertaining to the appointment” and the judgement was that he, the Secretary of State, had “failed in his duty of candour to the court.”

  • willowfield

    I think the civil servants should be disciplined.

    What sort of an example to his staff has been set by Nigel Hamilton who lacked the courage and confidence unambiguously to tell the truth to the court?

    While Hamilton’s professional duty is to serve his ministers, that duty falls short of misleading a court in order to save a minister’s bacon.

    Hamilton also has duties of integrity and impartiality which are more important.

    If we want a civil service full of “yes-men”, Hamilton provides a good example.

  • Pete Baker


    I don’t disagree.. but..

    The question is who is to discipline the head of the NI Civil Service?

    And given that the court ruling was against the Secretary of State, who is to discipline him?

  • willowfield

    I’m not sure of the accountability relationships, but could Hamilton be disciplined by Sir Gus O’Donnell, head of the Home Civil Service?

    As regards the Secretary of State, I think he has two options: if he believes that he did not mislead the court, he should appeal. Otherwise, he should offer his resignation.

    Misleading a court really is a serious matter, in my view.

  • lib2016

    ‘Misleading a court really is a serious matter….’

    As serious as conniving at the murder of officers of the court, abusing the law and changing the rules of Public Enquiries as this and previous British administrations have done?

    Too late now for the British occupation to attain international respectability, I’m afraid. It’s long past time for their overdue strategic withdrawal here as they have done all around the world.

  • davy

    Hain’s response is a scandal. In any other part of these islands, a minister subjected to this sort of public censure from a judge would have pacjed his bags by now, never mind the civil servants. But then, it’s only Northern Ireland…

  • davy

    By the way, lib2016, I think the strategic withdrawals well under way.

  • Rubicon

    Lib – get a UI from this judgement and I’ll eat my hat and dance naked around Corn Market!

    It’s part of the job description for DR Ministers to screw up. There’s a Nov 24th deadline to meet – don’t make it and no imagined “Plan B” will square the circle of the NICS and the likes of Hamilton running the place.

    The DUP are not standing for election in the Republic of Ireland. SF can generate hope north of the border about this imagined Plan B – but – these hopes won’t be met. SF knows it too!

    Adams needs you guys to agree to a system of law and order that includes you. It has for years – but – a fig leaf is required. Can you forgive others for thinking your commitment is no more than a fig leaf?

    Sadly, even the commitment is absent – so too the intent to debate the matter at an Ardfheis. Why can’t SF debate this openly?

    Hitler had his Krystal Nacht – what do SF need?