Misleading report based on opinion, not facts, say JLA

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Ben Shenton said the report, which was commissioned by the States and carried out by Captain Chad Murray, was a ‘good example of how not to undertake an investigation’ and was largely based on opinion rather than fact.

The association commissioned its own independent investigation, compiled by former forensic analyst Keith Perchard, which it says is an ‘evidence-based’ report into the saga.

In the coming weeks the States are due to debate propositions calling for the government to formally endorse the independent service, and to launch a committee of inquiry into the dispute.

In a statement, Mr Shenton said: ‘The Jersey Lifeboat Association has produced an evidence-based report stating the facts, whereas the “Chad Murray opinion” is a good example of how not to undertake an investigation.

‘It gives the impression that the first thing written was the conclusion. The public just want to know the truth and this is just an annoying diversion designed to mislead.

‘I wish the government would stop playing these stupid games and start displaying some professional maturity and integrity. They seem petrified of a proper committee of inquiry – why is that?’

Mr Perchard’s report outlines RNLI protocols and states that ‘a unit commander, such as the coxswain, may launch prior to obtaining authority for the purpose of life-saving’.

It goes on to state that on 6 April Glen Mallen, the RNLI’s regional life-saving manager for the south-east, informed the crew that he had personally dismissed Mr Hibbs.

‘The grounds for Mr Hibbs’ dismissal were not given to the crew but Mr Mallen is said to have said words to the effect that Andy Hibbs was a risk to life and public safety and unfit to be a coxswain. The news was received with shock and dismay by all present,’ the report says.

It adds that as the crew believed Mr Hibbs had been exonerated following the ‘self-launching’ investigation, this ‘summary dismissal without explanation called for unequivocal condemnation’.

The report says that the crew’s decision to stand down was ‘unanimous’.

Mr Perchard also outlines Mr Hibbs’ attempts to gain both information about the allegations made against him and the full terms of reference of the investigation. According to the report, Mr Hibbs says these were initially refused, although he later received a heavily redacted copy of the RNLI report.

The report found that Mr Hibb’s decision to self-launch did not have any ‘negative impact on the RNLI’. It also disclosed that ‘evidence through conversations with RNLI management and email examples all mention that Andy Hibbs’ competency on a lifeboat is second to none’.

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