Child Porn?

The circumstances surrounding the departure of Jeremy Colman were strange when first announced, but are becoming stranger. Using a workplace laptop to download pornography is certainly a serious enough disciplinary matter in any organization, and especially a public organization ... but if downloading pornography itself were an offence, then probably half the male population would be guilty of it.

Therefore the news that he has been arrested was rather more sinister, and the Evening Standard in London has today made the specific allegation that he has been arrested for possessing indecent images of children.

     Spending watchdog arrested over child porn

If this is indeed true, then he deserves all that the law can throw at him. However the risk is that by looking only at this man's personal conduct, we might overlook the situation in the Wales Audit Office itself. This is a much more important matter for Wales as a whole.

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The WAO would appear to be rife with internal difficulties, as reported here, and when the story first broke it appeared to me that the pornography was the straw that broke the camel's back, a convenient pretext to get rid of the head of one of the "factions" within the management structure. But we must not simply assume that because Jeremy Colman himself has gone, everything in the WAO will now be alright. His personal predilections may well—I say that because nothing has yet been proved—be despicable, but that would not necessarily mean that the ideas of his faction in the senior management structure of the WAO are similarly discredited.

I would hope that the Assembly, and in particular the Public Accounts Committee, take this opportunity to do more that simply replace the person at the top. We need to step back and take a long hard look at the way this body is structured and how it does its work.

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9 comments:

James D said...

The clue was in the phrase "indecent images". This does not appear in many places in Acts of Parliament.

Siônnyn said...

According to LJonathan Morgan, he asked to be " Relieved of his position" - A strange formulation - is it code for something? Most people would have resigned for "family" or "health" reasons. Does it imply that there is to be a payout of some sort?

I don't know about the immediate allegations, but it sounds from the BBC report as though he should have been sacked years ago.

MH said...

Well done James, it seems you're right. There's no mention of "indecent images" unless followed by "of children" or "of a person under 18". But the link is slightly wrong, it should be this.

MH said...

Siôn, I don't know enough (at least not yet) about the WAO to be able to say that the problems it clearly has were a result of him being in charge. It might equally be that he was trying to change an existing culture of bad management and was being opposed.

I fear that it will be all too convenient to use one person's individual situation as an excuse not to look deeper into the problems of the organization as a whole.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand.....an obviously bright bloke downloading indecent images is bad enough.....but on a work computer. It doesn't add up unless it's as I once heard that some of these people have some kind of desire to get caught. Doesn't make sense to me.

James D said...

Oops -- there's a good instance of the need for paying attention when copying and pasting!

Anonymous said...

Bearing in mind the difficulties between Coleman and his managers it is not inconceivable that someone could have downloaded the pornography. Exactly how secure are computers and single user log ons? Just being controversial not saying this is what happened but guess what my defence would be!

Penddu said...

I do not know what he has done and I wont speculate - but some things are clear -

If he has downloaded porn on to a work laptop he can expect the sack.

If he has downloaded childporn anywhere he can expect prosecution and jail.

But IF he has downloaded 'normal' porn - the sort that can be bought at a number of stores in Cardiff - then he should not expect prosecution. Just the ridicule of his friends and the wrath of his wife

Siônnyn said...

MH - "The International Peer Review, published in October 2009, found unhealthy tensions between senior managers, perceptions of nepotism in decisions over allocation of staff to projects, and significant issues of trust and industrial relations."

He was the top man, and had been in situ for 4 years. If he was unable to sort things out in that time, then it was never going to happen under his regime.

If he lacked the power to knock heads and sack people, it was down to him to demand those powers or resign.

I actually find what I have just read about the state of the WAO far more outrageous and scandalous than any sordid, grubby little habits the man may (or may not) have indulged in.

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