No soft landing for Peter Hain

The legal representatives of the Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain, have had a busy day. Not only were they in the High Court to hear Mr Justice Deeny rule that Peter Hain had acted unlawfully in regard to the Billy Wright inquiry, but they were also in front of Mr Justice Girvan, who has already had his call for an inquiry into those misleading affidavits answered by the Attorney-General. This time Mr Justice Girvan was to rule on a request to quash the appointment of Bertha McDougall as Interim Victims Commissioner, an appointment he has already ruled was illegal and in breach of Peter Hain’s ministerial code of practice – a ruling that the Secretary of State has not challenged.According to the reports [not yet online] Mr Justice Girvan offered a compromise to the various parties represented in court. Namely that Mrs McDougall could publish her report but only under her own name as a private individual – not as the Interim Victims Commissioner.

The legal representatives for Mrs McDougall and the representative for the Secretary of State both agreed to that compromise. But the representative for Brenda Downes, who had taken the original case to court, declined the offered compromise saying that it would provide the Secretary of State with a soft landing that he was not entitled to – although they did suggest that the report could be incorporated into a future report by a properly appointed Victims Commissioner.

Mr Justice Girvan has reserved his judgement and it is expected that he will deliver his ruling on the matter in the New Year.

While I’m not keen on futuring in general, I would suggest that the fact that Mr Justice Girvan offered a compromise ahead of his ruling – to allow for the report to be published privately and not as an official Interim Victims Commissioner’s report – would appear to indicate that he is minded to rule in favour of Brenda Downes and quash the appointment of Mrs McDougall.

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  • joeCanuck

    It would seem so Pete.
    The compromise offered is hardly a compromise.
    I mean, any individual can publish anything they want – subject to libel laws of course. Is that what the compromise is all about? To protect her from possible libel charges?

  • Pete Baker

    From what I can recall from the reports, joe, it would be a compromise.. because otherwise the report would be shelved.

  • miss fitz

    This should be subject to a further public independent scrutiny. For one, how much has it cost to maintain the office of the Interim VC? This is a truly appalling state of affairs

  • Pete Baker

    miss fitz

    Mr Justice Girvan hasn’t, yet, made a ruling on this.

  • miss fitz

    No Pete, but we are talking nods, winks and blind horses

  • ingram

    Miss Fitz.

    100% accurate and a disgrace.

    The appointment of this lady was political gerrymandering at its worst. HMG must stop paying lip service to both the law and common sense.

    The lady may well be the best candidate but Hain is not the best judge of that.He is not elected by the NI public,the parties are and this job deserves cross community suport. Not a DUP nod and a wink.


  • Pete Baker

    I tend to agree, miss fitz, as I said in the original post.. it’s just a caution on the futuring front.

  • Crataegus

    I am sure we all wish Peter Hain a merry Christmas and a happy new year. Ho Ho Ho

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah.. Merry Christmas Mr Hain…

  • USA

    At this point Hain’s competence must come into question. Surely the mainstream media should be asking some serious questions of this man, so should the public.

  • Pete Baker

    You’d think so, wouldn’t you, USA..