In his piece entitled Beaten by the Birch, Channel TV reporter Adam Fowler took Dennis Bouchere to the Museum to see the actual bench he was strapped to when beaten as a lad.
Filmed as national press attention about Haut de la Garenne reached fever pitch, the report won Adam the top spot in the category for best human interest feature at this year’s ITV News Awards in London.
In the piece, Mr Bouchere explained how he had screamed in vain for mercy and had been released back onto the street covered in the blood after being birched. He received several lashes for stealing a car.
Adam explained that taking him into the Museum to see the punishment apparatus was a difficult, but cathartic experience.
‘It was the thing they strapped him to administer the birch,’ he said. ‘He welled up and it was very emotional. You could hear it in his voice. I think it was good for him to confront it.’
He added: ‘I was hoping to get him to open up on camera and give an honest account of what happened. I wanted to get it across in the best way I could and that’s what I did.’
Channel Television managing director broadcast Karen Rankine said that the report was a testimony to Adam’s tenacity and sensitivity.
‘He not only got a scoop, but he told it in a way that left the viewer better informed about the brutal penal system that once existed in Jersey,’ she said. ‘Adam has the ability to tell sensitive and emotive stories in a way that draws the viewer right into the heart of the issue. This was a powerful piece of television which conveyed the real brutality of birching and the attitude towards punishment at the time. We are delighted and proud that Channel Television was recognised with two nominations on the night and has scooped an award at such a high level of competition.’
Veteran reporter Eric Blakeley was also nominated for an award at the prestigious event.
His piece Betrayed to the Nazis represented more than 20 years of research into the story of the betrayal and subsequent deportation of Louisa Gould and her family to a concentration camp during the German occupation of the Channel Islands.
Louisa was accused of harbouring an escaped slave worker. She paid for her bravery with her death but no one has been able to identify her accusers. Eric’s programme sought to solve the mystery using a combination of tenacious journalism and modern detective work.