Monday, 31 May 2010

Police Investigation Gaffes

Once is a lapse or a mistake, three times is indicative of a deeper ill or inefficiency pervading the Royal Gibraltar Police ("RGP") and prosecuting authority, the Attorney General ("AG") and his Chambers.  For those who think that the recent acquittal of Alfred Porro is an isolated case of a police officer being charged, tried and acquitted, think again.  He is the third in relatively quick succession.

If the RGP cannot get investigations that involve there own right, what chance do the rest of us have?  I do not mean other than those three police officers have been found innocent and are innocent, yet they have had to endure the stress and embarrassment of having to face charges and a public trial.  Does the general public have to fear the same or worse shoddy investigations and the stressful and embarrassment of the consequences?

In my book and in light of the comments made by the judge, what is unforgivable also is the seemingly bad decision to prosecute taken by the AG. He is responsible for taking the decision to prosecute. He is, thus, a final safeguard to prevent the RGP from pursuing an unfair and oppressive prosecution.

The judge, in the case against Mr Porro, said that the prosecution case had relied on "... weak and tenuous ..." circumstantial evidence,  that there was " ... insufficient evidence ..."  and, when it seems that the prosecution tried to bolster up a failing prosecution by seeking to introduce a written statement, that the statement " .... will not make a weak case stronger ...".  Surely the AG should have assessed all of this and not pursued the prosecution?  Why did he not?  Is there a systemic problem in the AG's Chambers?  Could that be the reason for such a low conviction rate?  These and more are all questions that need to be answered by the Government.  The Government is ultimately responsible for any failures in the criminal legal system.  Will the Government do anything about these events and if so what, how, when and who will be responsible for doing so?

To boot the RGP issue a press release from which I quote:

"Every investigation that is undertaken follows a rigorous pathway both in terms of investigative process and the quality and depth of the evidence available to substantiate a charge." 

REALLY? and then:

"The ultimate decision whether to prosecute in a particular case is not taken  in isolation ... but rather following exhaustive and lengthy consultations with the Attorney General's Chambers whose decision ultimately it is whether a case should or not be presented before a Court of Law for final determination. ... the process ... concluded that there was indeed sufficient evidence to substantiate a charge ..."

TRANSLATION: it wasn't me, copper, it was the AG. The RGP do mitigate a little for the AG (thank god for small mercies) and say in relation to the AG's decision to prosecute "... A decision with which the [RGP] was and continues to be in agreement with."

Then, in relation to a proposed full inspection of the RGP by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, an RGP spokesman said that the inspection is completely unrelated to the collapse of the case against Mr Porro. So, can someone explain to me how that inspection is going to do what we are told it is intended for, which , in brief, is that it will result in an objective, statistically reliable and authoritative report highlighting strengths and any perceived weaknesses in the RGP and will “place pressure on those forces falling below average in aspects of policing, to raise their game.”?

Perhaps, in context, the spokesman meant that the decision to have an inspection was taken before the acquittal of Mr Porro. Hopefully, my interpretation is correct, so the inspection and report will include an analysis of the failure of the three prosecutions of police officers (but more importantly, in view of the serious nature of the charges, the case against Mr Porro)  and the effect on morale amongst the more junior ranks in the RGP and any implications to the general public.


  1. Does anyone know what Alfred Porro really meant when he sweetly told GBC for the Commissioner of Police's ears that "the dog never bites the hand that feeds it"?

    Can the Commissioner of Police assure this community, instead of issuing hyperbolic press releases, that the missing cocaine (10kg plus) and the cannabis (50kg) were not circulated in Gibraltar and consumed locally?

    Should the Governor not appoint an independent Commission of Inquiry directed to determine: the standard and extent of the investigation, the delays, the decision to prosecute, the evidence given during the trial, the RGP's press statement, the decision to destroy the drugs, the likely destination of the missing drugs, who is/are responsible for this sandalous blooper, etc???

  2. I wonder if this 'inefficacies' by those responsible would be equal to bringing the RGP into disrepute? If so, should there not be an investigation? Resignation?
    In my estimation the RGP did not enjoy 'best ratings' in the public eye, the appalling failure in this latest case, I guess, only confirms the general public fears, systemic or otherwise.

  3. There are a number of issues re prosecutions.

    My experience of seeing police officers being prosecuted was that the public gallery in the Supreme Court would contain a significant number of off-duty police officers who seemed to pay close attention to the jury. Whether this happened in the most recent case, I cannot say.

    Secondly, there is the problem of the Attorney-General's chambers. With one or two exceptions, the standard of Crown Counsel is not high, and indeed the Attorney General himself is not held in particularly high regard. Again, with one or two exceptions, prosecution counsel have appeared to tend to approach their task with an excess of zeal and a perception that they are the representatives of the police, rather than of the public interest.

    Then there is the public perception of the RGP. Whatever politicians may say (and anyone's ability to comment is restricted by the law of defamation), the verdicts of juries show that the RGP do not enjoy a high level of trust from the public. People can either ignore that fact, basing themselves on the inability to prove specific examples of conduct meriting distrust, or they can accept the evidence of verdicts.

    Then there is the incentive offered by the costs system in Gibraltar. Put simply, neither the police nor the prosecutors have anything riding on their judgement as to whether or not to brign a prosecution, because if the prosecution fails, the defendant will still have to pay the costs of defenfing him or herself (it is usually a him). This can run into many thousands of pounds. It is simply unfair that people should be able to be prosecuted at the whim of the police or the Attorney General's chambers (subject only to a minimal test in the magistrates' court, the running of which itself involves significant expense) without those responsible having to meet (from their budgets rather than their individual pockets) the expense to which their errors of judgement put the innocent.


    Line: 0.10 g (adulterated @ 50% - could be higher)

    10kg: 10,000 g

    100, 000 lines

    In 3 years: 33, 333 per year

    Daily: 91 lines per day

    A minimum of 18 individuals consuming daily (7 days a week) - 5 lines per day (very unlikely).


    Spliff: 0.5g

    50 kg: 50, 000

    In 3 years: 166, 666 per year

    Daily 457 spliffs per day

    A minimum of 90 individuals consuming daily (7 days a week) - 5 spliffs per day (very unlikely).

    The inquiry suggested here should also determine the scale and extent of drugs consumption in Gibraltar in the interests of public health and to identify the extent of and financial benefits of this pernicious trade to local drug traffickers at all levels?



  5. Fred says:

    Robert, you again raise an issue which concerns me and a great many others in the community.

    Unfortunately for the RGP there is a perception in the community 'que a veces hay mas golfos y chorizos' in the RGP than out of it. Whilst undoubtedly unfair on the coppers who try to do a good job it is a perception that the RGP has not been able to rid itself off.

    There is some information out there that some officers may have a keen interest in the drug trade for less than legitimate purposes. The secnario described goes along the lines of taking drugs off low level pushers for personal consumption or sale. Is there any basis to this story? I do not not know, but it has gained strength in the wake of the dismissal of one police officer recently.

    My main concern is that all these goings on provide levers for the FCO should they wish to use them at a time when Mr Caruana is trying to assert his authority as Cheif Minister on security issues.

    The RGP must at the very least publish details of all internal investigations to reassure the public.

    And I am afraid that the Police Authority does not engender any confidence either as it is peopled by 'establishment' types.

  6. To Anon 31/5/10 @ 01.28

    It is the Government of Gibraltar that has the power under section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act 1888 and not the Governor.

  7. This case does nothing to bolster the fragile reputation of the RGP.60 kilos of drugs went missing and if Porro didn't take them who did??

    I doubt that even the bravest of thieves would attempt to break in to RGP HQ and therefore the answer is obvious.Per head of the population we have more Police Officers than anywhere else in the world. I would humbly suggest that quality, rather than quantity, would be the best policy.

  8. Any inquiry would be seen a white-wash and achieve little if the same old faces are appointed or, if those who are hand-picked for the "job" are seen as "safe" for the benefit of wider political interests.

    Any attempt to limit the remit, for wider political interests, of any inquiry would be seen as the sure sign of political suppression and curtailment.

    The public's welfare is at stake here and gambling with it is not now on the cards.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with Anon 11:01.

    Who took the decision to prosecute this case, was it the AG himself?

    This was always going to be a difficult and high profile case.
    Where was the AG? Why didn't he prosecute the case himself.
    Maybe he knew it was a poisoned chalice!

    If there was no one experienced enough in the AG's chambers why didn't he
    farm it out to a local QC or other senior and experienced lawyer?
    I remember the CM himself prosecuting when he was in private practice.

    They took on a junior for the trial so why not a QC too?

    The whole affair stinks.

  10. I am a defence counsel who has taken the defence of over 2 defendants in the Supreme Court and I can tell you that the AG himself will send his Crown Counsel to prosecute even when his own Crown Counsel are telling him that there is no case to answer. Food for thought who is controlling the prosections in Gibraltar...Commissioner Wink or Ricky Rhoda GG (Girl Guide)

  11. Fred says:

    Ahu como esta el patio... go easy guys for fear that in rage we cause damage rather than reform and openness.

    Anon 14:26, you make two good points. Firstly, that no right thinking theif would break into New Mole House to nick the stuff. I would add that this is not the first time that things go missing - do people remember that a certain Assistant Commissioner was locked up?

    Secondly, about the quality over quantity debate, which I agree with - we are terribly over policed with very little to show for it and the calibre of individuals is mediocre at best.

    The critical question that the policy needs to answer is whther the loss of the drugs was the result of one persons actions, or whther others involved in a conspiracy?

    "the dog never bites the hand that feeds it"... I do not think it takes a lot to work out that this was intended as a warning that more "trapos sucios" will emerge if pressure is applied.

  12. The AG does not attend Court when he thinks he's going to lose (not that prosecutors should think in terms of winning or losing in any event). There are a couple of able people in his chambers, but others have too much zeal and too little ability.

  13. The critical question that the policy needs to answer is whther the loss of the drugs was the result of one persons actions, or whther others involved in a conspiracy?

    And if the loss of the drugs was the result of more than one persons actions this is a very serious issue and a thorough investigation should be condcuted.


  14. how sure can we be that drugs were missing at all?

    Having not followed this case in any detail I don't know the facts, but I do wonder - is this a case where the police might have got it wrong first time round?

    I love that calculation of anon at 12.13.
    If those drugs were taken it really demonstrates just how serious this case is. It seems to me that Gibraltar is awash with concaine - much more so in the last few years - was this theft a possible source?

    (Gib has always been awash with Cannabis)

    What would our drugs co-ordinator say?

  15. Spot on Robert.
    A while ago a young RGP officer said to me that "every person who goes to court is guilty". Sometime later one of our crown counsel said something similar. it is this "conviction at all costs" attitude which is prevalent both in the RGP and the AG's chambers.
    Forgive the cliche, but in Gibraltar it is really a case of persecution not prosecution.

  16. And I have also heard the police say many a time "tu harle charging y que se la apa~nen en las cortes".

  17. Ladies and Gents

    The problem lies in the doctrine of public interest. As we all know prosecutors ought to apply firstly the evidential test and then if there is sufficient evidence apply the public interest test. In Gibraltar they apply the public interest first and then the evidential test. Hence the Porro fiasco.

    Crown counsels are under the direction of the AG. They are public servants and should not be critised. In all sets we have the capable and incapable.

  18. Fred says:

    Anon 21:36, I like your first paragraph, hits the nail on the head, but opens a can of worms at the same time: what exactly is the public interest test in Gibraltar?

    One could argue that the public interest test in Gibraltar rests on a poisonous bed of prejudice, bias, hypocrisy, ignorance and self-interest.

    There's capable, incapable and grossly-effing-incompetent.

  19. I am retired and take an active interest in the criminal cases. I regularly read the newspaper reports on current cases and convictions and sometimes go to court to listen into high profile cases. These I then discuss with two good friend of mine (one who happens to be a retired police officer).

    We have discussed the issues highlighted in this blog. I have come to the conclusion that this article is sensationalist and rather poorly researched article too, which would not be expected of such a prominent lawyer such as Mr Robert Vasquez QC.

    To start of with lets look at these 3 failed prosecutions. As I understand from following one and told by my friend of the other the situation is this:

    Case A: was one where the evidence was overwhelming and one of the police officers concerned in the assault put his hand up and accepted what they had done. The other took a chance with the jury...guess what he was found not guilty. The judge made comments saying that the verdict was unbelivable. Therefore no critisim can be levied at the police as the evidence was very strong.

    Case B: Again strong evidence and actually the officer waqs NOT found to be innocent as suggested. Simply the case was dropped because the star witness left Gibraltar and was not coming to court.

    Now that leaves us with Porro. The judge said that the case was weak---Not that there was no evidence. I would have thought that not all cases are as clear. This is why some are said to be guilty in court and others not. The court is the final arbitrar of this and ruled accordingly. So then it must be that a decision has to be made by the authorities the first place in hard and some can be border line.

    Perhaps where there is evidence say when someone rapes your daughter or steals in your house some of you guys would be more comfortable if the Police did nothing at all on the basis that the case is not full proof.

    I am sure I will get a backlash and legal mumbo jumbo as to the level of evidence needed, justice etc etc etc but the cold fact must be that there must have been evidence to present to the court.

    There is also a comment about "low conviction rate". This is very interesting because I hear of lots of cases being convicted and read all about people getting jail sentences in the chronicle and talk about the prison being full. So my questions are this-

    - What statistics support this statement of low conviction

    -Does it take into account guilty pleas where the police have gathered good evidence

    -How does it compare with other countries to say that it is in fact low

    -How many of these failed cases can be said have failed because of the evidence rather than because witness did not want to come or because the jury did not wish to take on the responsibility because we are in a small society.

    You see it is okay critisising one case but quite another making sweeping statements. I guess that I will now get a lot of complicated reasoning and justifications in a legal way but no statistics backing up the throw away comments made by the blogger.

  20. Why do we have such a large number of fat police men?

  21. Anonymous at 22.06:

    I respect your views but continue to hold mine.

    I have no intention to resorting to "legal mumbo jumbo" save that your resort to this argument and to your personalised criticisms of me alone tell a story.

    And as to accuracy and poor research ... I am not a Q.C. so who does not do his research properly?

    I am gladdened at the accuracy of my piece by the congratulations that i have received from many sources including other members of my profession and retired police officers.


    well if the comunitty of gibraltar is not happy ,, we should start from the top , that drugs had probably been sold in gibraltar you just have to see 14 years old kidS sniffing coke ,there have never been so many cocane in gibraltar as this years how many people have been cought with this kind of drugs it is amasing , i say to my self will it be all the same stuff,,,,ALL TOGETHER WE CAN STOP THIS

  23. I have just discovered this blog tonight thanks to the report carried in tonights edition of CaruanaWatch on The CaruanaChannel.

    Congrats to Mr Vazquez! I am also happy to read some of the comments and glad that the blog has such a following. I wish the blog continued growth!

    At least I now know where to come on when I feel alone in the wider world of CaruanaLandia. It seems that despite PCs thinking that there are very few Gibraltarians with half a brain in Gibraltar, there are quite a few of us about! And this from someone who has voted GSD since 1996.

    By the way, if I may, GIBRALTAR WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE! Its time to relase PC of his duties! And does no-one else feel insulted every time PC goes on Newswatch with his postures and patronising tone and answers!

  24. having followed this blogspot since its inception i can only have praises for it. it is both refreshing and objective in the way it approaches what should be very important matters for the electorate. it is surprising though that this evenings edition of CBC's (caruana broadcasting corporation) newswatch has been allowed to refer to LLW's blogspot!! could we be seeing the effects of King at the helm of the corporation and its renewed independence?? food for thought......

  25. Dear Robert

    I saw this blog on Caruana Watch this evening and it reassuring that there are people out there like you who put their views and poltical convictions before their own interest without fear of reprisals.

    Are Queens Counsel representative of the Queen and therefore part of the establishment in Gibraltar?

    Why has David Dumas QC, James Neish QC, Alfred Vasquez QC and the QCs come out and commented on this fiasco?

  26. Hi All-

    Thank you for your continued support. I knew this blog would cause more controversy than any other that I have written before. It will probably also cause additional adverse comment to appear in the press following publication in the Chronic and the interviews that I gave on TV and radio. This makes me happy to the extreme, first because the debate is widening and second because this blog has received more publicity than I could have hoped for.

    I trust that it all brings good because that is its intention. Fostering free speech and debate is what I am after. It is sadly lacking otherwise.

  27. Donde esta la llave matalire lire lero
    donde esta la llava matalire lire ron pin pon.

  28. Congratulations Mr. Vasquez.

    If you are not a QC, then you should be one: ability, courage and leadership in "the silence of lambs" city.

    Will the last person to leave Gibraltar please switch off the lights!

  29. Hi Anonymous at 23.11:

    Thank you , no I am not a QC, but that is another story of being outspoken!

  30. Huge difference with bleating in the "silence of the lambs" city and calling a spade a bloody shovel?

  31. "The cocaine seized by Customs was unusual in that it was of very high purity and therefore relatively easy to trace, though police enquiries in Spain ultimately came to nothing" (CHRONIC 30.4.2008).

    TO ANON 31 May 2010 12:13 - The figure for potential consumers of the missing cocaine is higher.

  32. The extent to which rising demand for cocaine in non-U.S. markets has affected cocaine availability in the United States is unclear. Reporting from foreign public health officials indicates that cocaine use in many non-U.S. markets, especially in Europe, has increased over the past decade and that use continues to rise. Moreover, the declining value of the U.S. dollar provides a financial incentive for drug traffickers to sell cocaine in foreign markets where the wholesale price of cocaine is already much higher than in the United States. However, inconsistent reporting from foreign law enforcement agencies on cocaine seizures and drug movements makes it difficult to reliably assess the amount of cocaine that traffickers are sending to Europe and other non-U.S. markets annually. According to the IACM, the documented amount of cocaine moving to Europe declined between 2006 and 2007, but certain recent trends, such as an increase in Europe-bound cocaine transiting West Africa, imply a strong foreign cocaine market and that the decrease in documented transatlantic movement is a reflection of a lack of awareness of traffickers' changing tactics. As such, a rising demand for cocaine in non-U.S. markets, including South America, suggests that less cocaine is available for transport to the United States.

  33. What about Gibraltar?

    The UK has more cocaine users than any other European country, according to the UN's latest report on drugs.

    More than one million people regularly use the Class A drug in the UK - although Spain has more users per head.

    The World Drug Report for 2009

  34. Well done Mr Vasquez for your courage to speak out and put into public domain this matter...

    Believe it or not, i am totally apolitical but its incredible to see how us Gibraltarians (including myself) have to sign as anonymous on this blog for fear of losing my job and consequently not being able to pay my mortgage or feed my 3 kids, if not i would write my name in capitals with my telephone number just in case any Government minister wants to give me a call.

    I am embarassed of admitting this. We need more pople like Mr Vasquez and Mr Alecio (apprentice at dockyard) to speak the truth

  35. I shall only say one thing - whenever the hierarchy of the force are asked to provide comments to the local media, particularly on GBC - my body involutarily goes into cringe mode - I do believe that we have a good police force in terms of dedication and basic training but beyond this those that probably make the ultimate decisions probably fall short in some areas including communications skills.

  36. Re : Calculations of anon at 12.13.

    Most of the cocaine sold at street level is adulterated, often with relatively innocous substances (you don't want to kill your clients!), but one can expect that 'retail' cocaine purity to be as little as 20-30%. The cocaine in question, which I assume was of a very high purity at 'wholesale' level means that the missing 10 kilos can realistically translate into 50 kilos once it hits the street. (you can easily google all this info)

    Anon's 12.13 calculations are slightly out too. One gram gives an average of 3-5 lines so his figure of 100,000 lines can become 300,000 to 500,000 lines. Factor the aldulteration into that and we are talking of as much as 1.2 to 2.5 million lines. Surely more than just a blip on the local drug market. Even in the worst case scenario we are rather limited small town of 30,000 people.

    In terms of local retail value at £60 a gram (street level, already adulterated) this is £3,000,000!

    This would have shown up somehow?

    Food for thought.

  37. The suggestion that Crown Counsel should not be criticised (anon 1st June 21.36) is laughable. Of course they are under the direction of the AG. But there are one or two who do the job well, firmly but without zeal or sacrifice of personal judgement. If they can, so could the others.

    Prosecution is a question of the public interest. Too often Crown Counsel appear to believe themselves to represent the police, rather than the public interest (the two are quite separate, incidentally).

    A related question is whether prosecutions should be the responsibility of an independent DPP's office, rather than the same Crown Counsel and Attorney General who represent the govt in civil cases. But then one observes that the govt often does not have suficient confidence in the AG and Crown Counsel to conduct its civil cases, and so instructs private sector lawyers ...

    As for Robert not being a QC, yes, that is an injustice.


  38. To Anon at 12.50 today - I too have commented on Mr Vasquez's various blogs anonymously and each time I do it I get angry with myself for not having the courage to put my name to what I say. I also do not put my name out of fear of reprisals, not direct reprisals but the subtle ones which which we all know happen in Gib.

    Mr Vasquez I congratulate you on your courage and conviction. I hope one day I too will be able to say what I think openly.

  39. T anonymous at 12.50 and 15.34 today and others who have expressed similar views in the past:

    I feel deeply saddened to the point of shedding tears and also angry to the same point that people should feel like this in Gibraltar that has so proudly defended, against Franco's Spain, the freedoms espoused by Britain and enshrined in our Constitution.

    I hope that anyone who reads this blog (if indeed there are any) who are in the FCO, the Governor's establishment in Gibraltar, the Government, Opposition, other political parties or organisations take note of these sentiments and that something is done about it. Iapathy will take us to a biger democratic deficit.

    And to those who ask me why I stick my head above the parapet and say the things i do ... the answer is simple. I care profoundly about democracy and fear enormously the path that Gibral;tar is taking through fer and lack of freedom of speech, for whatever reason.

  40. I too wish I could put my name to comments I make in your blog. Unfortunately I can't! I have already suffered greatly over the last few years for being outspoken and sticking to my guns. Unfortunately I need to earn, and in order to do so and remain in my Homeland, I am ashamed to say that I have to remain anonymous! A reflection of what Gibraltar has come to!

    I hope one day I can attach my name to any comments I make regardless of whether they are in favour or against any Government.

  41. anonymous.

    well the lack of puting your names down( i have to include myself )for fear of what ever you think your(our) governemnt could do to us,is a real shame for us all,this man alfred porro has been found inoccent by the judge,and has anyone stop to think and i quote your statement (yet they have had to endure the stress and embarrassment of having to face charges and a public trial) and now who pays his legal fees, what a shame!! yet again i'm sure Mr.porro will have to foot that bill himself.

  42. Dear Robert

    Many congratulations on your blog and the fact that you are brave enough to speak out against the GSD publicly, what a shame that so many people agree with you but are afraid to sign their name to it ( me included ) but as working class people the consequences of criticising Caruna are grave.

  43. Hi All

    Today the AG has chosen not to answer any of my blog but rather to treat me like a child. He has accused me of inaccuracy and being mischievous. I have written to the Chronic. I understand that it will publish my letter tomorrow. I hope GBC picks up on it as it has on the AG's comments to the Chronic.

    For those who read this blog here is my reply to the AG:

    "I do not intend to argue with H.M. Attorney General for Gibraltar on his accusation that I am being "inaccurate and somewhat mischievous." I will simply deny that that is the case and say that it is an odd and personalised reaction to objective criticism from me.

    I will simply quote statistics of conviction rates in England and Wales provided by Keir Starmer QC, Director of Public Prosecutions, at the 2009 Annual Conference of the association of Chief Officers:

    2006/2007- 348,700 cases charged- 269,800 convictions, a conviction rate of 77.4%.

    2007/2008- 357,800 cases charged- 289,000 convictions, a conviction rate of 80.7%.

    The figures speak for themselves.

    I also quote Keir Starmer QC "Whatever the crime the decision to charge a suspect is important to the alleged offender, the victim(s), any witnesses and the community ... The most important thing is that the right person is charged with the right offence at the right time".

  44. Dear Llanito World and Bloggers. Why do we see judges and prosecutors having lunch regularly?
    Does Keir Starmer QC and Lord Laws have lunch on a weekly basis?

  45. To anon 21.49 its called the non-separation (or fusion) of powers. That's how certain people exercise control. Shocking really.

  46. Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
    What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.
    And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
    But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
    Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
    Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
    But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
    Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
    For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
    And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
    He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
    And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
    He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
    He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
    He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
    And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

  47. Can somebody explain to me ...
    What are the requisites for a lawyer to be appointed, promoted, or just chosen to be QC ?
    What is a political silk? Thank you.

  48. Newklear said ...

    The title to this blog entry is very restrained. Given the extraordinary allegations made by Rawlinson, it would appear that this was more than just a gaffe. But then I wouldn’t want to prejudge as the RGP do in their statement – what were they thinking? At least it turns out the investigation will be carried out by the Met. But why am I still sceptical?

  49. Dennis lewis chipolina4 June 2010 at 11:50

    Congratulations on your Blog Robert.Not fearing any reprisals from any sector of our community I have posted my name as I have done with my previous comments on Facebook and I commented the same day as Mr Porro was found not guilty.I have accused the AG of misuse of public funds by allowing a case with very weak circumstantial evidence to go to court ,he must have known there was insufficient evidence to secure a conviction unless he was put under pressure by someone above.He has caused a whole family to suffer unecessarily for two and a half years and I would like to see this man go.perhaps a petition to call for his resignation would be an idea. Someone asked a question why do lawyers have lunch together well this is a common fact.Two days before Mr Porros case ended abruptly,I had information that that judges were not at all happy with the case.This was overheard at the Angry Friar where the case was being discussed by Ms Karen Prescott ,and Mr Dudley chief justice over a coffee and for all to hear.This is normal practice as I have worked at the said pub and have witnessed judges prosecutors defence counsels all together at a table having coffees as one happy family but worse of all discussing cases,not the proper venue to do so.And what will now happen when an officer who was witness in the case said when shown a statement that he had not signed that and was not his signature.Is purjury no longer viewed seriously?Will an investigation get to the roots of this or will it be another case of sweeping it under the carpet,as happened with the Sites Management case.After having followed the case closely I must say hats of to Ms Kubchand who did the best she could as prosecutor with the rubbish she was given to produce a case for the crown.Shame on the AG hiding in his office and not showing a face.

  50. PART I
    Dear Mr Vasquez:
    Firstly I wish to thank you for having the moral backbone and courage to bring this matter out.

    Secondly I would like to expand a number of points:
    1. I am one of those police officers who were acquitted by jury, actually the one the Mr Rhoda would prosecute again (today’s chronicle) and would actually loose once again against the jury.
    2. I am a sixth generation Police Officer, my family has served in the Royal Gibraltar Police since 1840, as is the second oldest “police families” in the Commonwealth. So policing and police work is in “my blood” so to speak.
    3. I medically retired from the force in 2006. My illness was not as the result of the case against my wife, her uncle and myself but as a result of a campaign of harassment orchestrated by a local family with “close links” to some members of the police and certain elements inside the police force where I was a persona “non-grata” because I basically was not a “yes” man. This harassment included circumstances of stalking (a myriad of complaints were made to police on this issue), being systematically harassed by senior management (in 20 years I had never been subject of disciplinary investigation and in the last year in the service they issued 6 disciplinary investigations against me.) Being removed from the 175th Anniversary parade and “my plate and chair” being taken away at the subsequent 175th Christmas Dance hosted by the Major because my wife and I had made a complaint against a senior officer for subjecting us to an illegal search warrants in my house for an offence that does not exist in Gibraltar for which the evidence for its execution was based on one witness account who alleged the incident happened when my wife and I were actually sitting with our lawyers and members of the House of Assembly, illegally searching my vehicles, moving me to dead end jobs.
    4. Returning to the Supreme Court case it was evident that the majority of witnesses that came to the stance were not believed by the jury. Some Police Officers that came to the stand said the truth of what they saw and perceived. Actually such was the evidence being presented by the prosecution witnesses that jury members intervened and questioned the witnesses themselves. The jury only took less than an hour to return a unanimous verdict of not guilty.The two main witnesses’ statements had inconsistencies.

  51. Part II
    5. I loved being a Police Officer, I think that the Police has an important role in society but unfortunately that role had been warped in the minds of those who are now in charge of this organisation and it is producing the wrong sort of culture within a force which had the opportunity to continue the good ethos introduced under the good, solid leadership of Mr Alan Castree but unfortunately it all went downhill after he left.
    6. To the Police Authority I would like to say that its job is NOT to agree with everything that the RGP say, nor go around selling its virtues. With a policy of “use the media for self glorification and not self mortification” the RGP sells itself enough – actually nobody believes them. The Police Authority should be concentrating on identifying their shortcomings and forcing those in charge to make changes to tackle them and then reporting honestly on these.

    7. In defence of the Attorney Generals chambers I must add the following: I have worked closely with some of them: Mr Kevin Warwick, Mr Johann Fernandez, Miss Karina Khubchands and Mrs Peralta. They have been excellent partners in the cases I have sought their involvement in, all difficult in nature and circumstances, they have worked closely with me and at times we have decided to drop cases and others we have prosecuted and successfully. Actually I do not recall a case that I have worked with them with which has not been either withdrawn of successfully prosecuted. I must admit I enjoyed this period in my police work although it was always frowned upon by those in higher places in the RGP who mentality is that they “know everything” and are “above everything”, actually a very counterproductive leadership attitude. A good leader wants to be criticised and seeks advice to come to an informed and knowledgeable decision.

    Kind Regards
    Richard Wood

  52. Fred says:

    In a previous posting a concerned citizen asked why we had so many fat policemen. Probably because they do not exercise and are keen on making themselves ill to get early retirement on medical grounds.

    The easy solution to this is a fitness test every quarter and a compulsary drugs test for good measure.

    These two simple measures would go some way towards restoring a degree of public confidence in the police and if the Commissioner has nothing to fear he would impose these ideas immediately. He should note that some believe that as much as a quarter of the RGP would fail a drugs test.

  53. Dennis lewis Chipolina5 June 2010 at 15:08

    I think in a place like Gibraltar (caruanalandia) conviction rates are not that important but what is important is WHO is convicted and moreso who even is charged and goes to court there are too many Arreglitos.

  54. Fred,

    Unfortunately you are right in that there are many overweight police officers on duty. But more importantly, unfit!

    Unfortunately regular fitness tests are not imposed, however certain officers belonging to specific departments / units within the police MUST undergo regular fitness checks and THEY DO. Moreso, they also undertake regular psych tests. One must not forget that policing is after all a job, like any other. and like in any job in any industry, much of the onus is on the individual to take self pride and be at his best in his professional sphere. On the other hand, there are many officers who do keep themselves fit, in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of others when presented with physically demanding challenges.

    I do however agree that the Commish should introduce Fitness Training into Officer's schedules, or if this is to demanding on time, at least introduce fitess tests to ensure that the entire Force meet fitness standards. It seems only reasonable as the Commish has a duty of care to his workforce, and making sure they are adequately trained and fit could make a major differene when they are faced with threatening situations.

    The Drugs test would be a good thing. "True officers" should have nothing to fear. However, I really must disagree with the alarming suposition that a quarter of police officers would fail.

    Within the RGP there are genuine people who serve as officers because it is their vocation, and it is unfair to to make these type of unfounded comments. Moreso, the people who come up with those crazy stas about drug use within the RGP are mostly users, delinquents and / or angered relatives who have unfortunately had the RGP come into their lives through use of drugs. The unfortunate thing is that confidence in the RGP is not what it should be and the community at large seem to be only to keen to take these unfounded malicious statements as fact.

    What we should be doing as a community is supporting those genuine officers who every day go out there to make a real difference. Their morale also suffers at the many allegations made toward the Police and if the community "break" these officers by just deciding to take unfounded rumours as fact, then I fear we are heading toward greater peril!

  55. Fred says:

    Spartacus, I was merely pointing out what is said in the street at a time when the RGP's reputaion is probably at an all time low. I do not think that anyone would argue that there are no good police officers, or thatthe comments are probably an exaggeration.

    Regular fitness and drugs testing would simply go some way towards dispelling the malicious statements, and in the process getting rid of a couple of people that really should not be there. After all it is us who are paying for them.

    Come to think of it, perhaps Customs, Fire Service, etc should also have this imposed on them. I think the army people have both these things on a regular basis and it seems to work for them.

    By the way, they can train in their own time if they want to keep the job.

  56. Brilliant blog RV, but do I detect something of a climate of fear regarding having to sign in as "Anonymous"? Re all these comments about Crown Council, I had a close encounter with one of them once. This was the result…

    The Beautiful Lyre.

    Oh Sister Heavenly
    Where on earth should I begin?
    I could dwell right here for evermore
    In wonderment of the beauty of your skin
    Sparkling pools of innocence
    Reflect back from within your eyes
    I would never have guessed
    Not even for one second
    Your expertise in telling lies

    Followers of the Bible
    Understand commandment number nine
    In the presence of our lord
    You glanced down at the floor
    As you perpetrated the crime
    Truth is always the first casualty
    When people go to war
    It’s kill or be killed
    In the heat of the battle
    Always on the side of the law

    Oh Sister Heavenly
    Distraught when the cause becomes lost
    Magnanimity in defeat
    Is a lesson to be learned
    Without the incurrence of cost
    Music of the beautiful lyre
    Made from sycamore sadly rotten
    Was bound to result
    In a song out of tune
    And a show which will soon be forgotten

  57. Hi... I have just discovered this blogg and I must congratulate all involved in publicly discussing these issues.
    Having first hand experience with a number of the above mentioned issues, all that is reported and siad in court is neccesarily "the full truth". When a court eventually gets to court and defence council recieve the case dockets, i can assure you that in most cases their are a number of statements and certain evidence omitted in the final docket which would in most cases be of great benefit to the defence. I even go as far to say that in some cases these omitted witness statements and evidence would exonorate the accused.
    The RGP is their to investigate and collect ALL available evidence and then present this before the courts.They are not there to cherry pick what is suitable for their case and then present this to the AG and subsequently before the courts. I most cases, I suspect that the AG's chambers are not given a full picture as to what an investigation has uncovered.
    In respect to certain comments in relation to the a jury's verdict, this is the verdict, whether one likes it or not. It is not for us to question it. If the AG is unhappy with the verdict then he has the recourse of appealing the verdict!!! Why has this never occured? Is it a question of once bitten twice shy?
    The RGP have a very difficult role to play in today's society and I beleive that accountability is a great thing, but accountability is a two way street and it is usually the poort PC in the street who is held accountable for the short coming of higher management....
    The Porro case would be a great starting point for the pertinent authority to order an exhaustive inquiry into the "inner workings" of the RGP and as to how competent the higher ranks actually are to hold post!