Thursday, 28 March 2019

If there is a UK General Election bet in an Assembly election in Bridgend.

So where does former First Minister Carwyn Jones now stand after
the High Court ruled he unlawfully interfered with the independent Carl Sargeant inquiry?

Wales Online report that,...
....Lord Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Swift upheld a legal challenge by Mr Sargeant's widow to the way the rules had been set for the inquiry - which would have denied the family's lawyers the right to cross-examine witnesses.

Carwyn Jones told WalesOnline that while the decision is "disappointing", his main priority is protecting the complainants in the case.
The inquiry, led by senior barrister Paul Bowen QC, has been on hold pending the outcome of Mrs Sargeant's legal challenge.
The rules for the inquiry into Mr Jones' actions after sacking Mr Sargeant as Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children four days before his death will now have to be reviewed.
Mr Sargeant is believed to have taken his own life at his home in Connah's Quay in November 2017 while facing unspecified allegations of sexual harassment.

His family have said he was not told the details of what he was accused of and was unable to properly defend himself.
In their ruling, the judges said it was "unfair" that Carwyn Jones had announced that the inquiry would be independent but then tried to have control of the process.
They said
:“It would – in layman’s terms – be unfair for the First Minister both to retain the political capital of the announcement that the work necessary to establish the Investigation would be undertaken independently from his office, and to retain the power to decide what the arrangements for the investigation should be."
They said that because Mr Jones had put out a press statement saying that the inquiry would be done "separately from his office", it was unlawful that the civil servant setting up the inquiry, Permanent Secretary Dame Shan Morgan, "had her hands tied" by the First Minister.
They said:
"In our view, because of the 10th November 2017 Press Statement, it was also unlawful for him to do this. On this ground alone, we allow the Claimant’s application for judicial review."They concluded: "We consider that the alterations made to the OP [operational protocol for the inquiry] at that time should be quashed."This will affect paragraphs 30 and 32 of the Operational Protocol. We will receive submissions from Counsel as to the precise nature of the relief that should be ordered."
At a hearing in Cardiff in January, the family's barrister Lesley Thomas QC had argued that Mr Jones was "involved in setting the operational protocol in a clear breach of natural justice and was acting as a judge in his own court".
Cathryn McGahey QC, representing Mr Jones, had said the former first minister's actions were entirely lawful and that he was responsible for setting the parameters of the investigation by law.
In their ruling, the judges said that had Mr Jones not claimed to be allowing the terms of the inquiry to be set independently of his office, there would have been no legal problem with the way the inquiry was set up.
They said that hearing evidence in private - and for there to be no cross-examination - was not in itself unfair to Mrs Sargeant or any other of the participants in the inquiry.

As always it is difficult  for we lay people to completely follow legal rulings but it seems that the is ruling is clear and that it was unfair for Carwyn Jones to claim the inquiry was Independent and then  to retain the power to decide what the arrangements for the investigation should be.

Mr Jones reputation has been severely damaged if he hadn't already stepped down as First Minster, he would surely face calls for him to do so.

But he is continuing as an AM until the 2021 election, if the predictions that there will be a UK General Election sooner or later come later , whats the chance that there will be a byelection for the Bridgend Assembly seat on the same day?

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