The Independent Jersey Care Inquiry on Friday (7 August) heard evidence from Mr Tony and Mrs Morag Jordan, about their time as staff at Haut de la Garenne.
Speaking via telephone link, Mr Jordan spoke about what it was like working as a Residential Child Care Officer between 1978 and 1984.
Prior to moving to Jersey, he had served in the Army, the Police Force in Gibraltar and moved back to Wales in 1974. In 1977 he moved to Jersey with a friend, obtained a job with the Channel Island Yacht Services and was invited to volunteer at HDLG, mainly taking the boys to play snooker or supervise them swimming.
He met his future wife, Morag Kidd, through attending Youth Service functions. She was working as a residential member of staff at HDLG and told him they were looking for more staff. He said he applied on the off-chance even though he had no qualifications - and was surprised when invited for an interview and appointed as Residential Child Care Officer.
Taking him through his witness statement, Inquiry Counsel Patrick Sadd, asked Mr Jordan to describe the systems in place at the time, how the home was managed and how he contributed to the care of the children.
He explained how he would discipline the children and that he was never told his manner was inappropriate or that he'd crossed the line. He always believed it was with the Superintendent, Jim Thomson's blessing.
He stated he never received any training, but took the lead from colleagues who had been there longer. When HDLG closed, the couple decided to leave Jersey as it was too expensive to buy a house. Mr Jordan said he continued working with children and undertook a course in Social Services, which he described as “illuminating” and that looking back they could have done a lot more for the children.
Mr Sadd asked Mr Jordan about his trial and conviction in 2010 on eight counts of assault of children at HDLG. He was acquitted on four further counts. Mr Jordan maintained, as he did at the time, that the assaults did not happen and that he was wrongly convicted. He refuted being a bully.
He said he and his wife felt they had been scapegoated and let down by the States who he believed had a lot of questions to answer and perhaps had wanted to cover up other offences they did not want in the public domain. He also cited the Police investigation, how the Press had obtained the original report which named the Jordans, how the case was proceeded with, the way the trial was conducted and that their Advocate did not represent them effectively.
Mrs Jordan gave her evidence via a video link and spoke about her time working at HDLG as a Residential Care Worker at HDLG over a 14-year period from 1970.
After gaining a NNEB nursing qualification, she worked with young children at a local nursery in Dundee, Scotland. On returning from a holiday with her parents in Jersey, she saw an advert in Nursery World magazine and decided to apply for the position. She was offered the job at HDLG on October 1970.She said she was not given any guidelines or handed any policy booklets that set out what was expected of her as a member of staff or what the home's policy was. She took the lead from colleagues around her. She said they were given no training whatsoever.
She described various members of staff and Child Care Officers, detailing the lack of communication. She also spoke about visitors and volunteers at the home and the use of detention rooms. She detailed how she dealt with the different kinds of children in terms of care, discipline and meeting their emotional needs. She also talked about dealing with bedwetting
She said she worked for three different Superintendents during her tenure and that things did not change much during that time.
She said she and her husband were really shocked by the allegations of abuse made by residents when they were arrested by the Police in 2009. She was convicted of eight counts and acquitted of 21. Mr Sadd gave her the opportunity to respond to each of them, as well as other allegations received by the Inquiry from former residents and former members of staff. She denied each of them.
Mrs Jordan said the prosecution was flawed and they wondered why they were the only ones prosecuted as their behaviour was no different to other members of staff. She told the Inquiry she had loved her job – even though it was not what she originally thought she was going to do – and she would do it all again.
Transcripts and supporting documents will be available in due course
Public Hearings resume 1000 on Tuesday 11 August. Please see Timetable for details