Giske’s lawyers hard out against Labour regarding alerts
Trond Giske’s lawyers are very critical with how the Labour Party has dealt with the whistle blower cases against him without him being allowed to respond.
“Giske is on a sick leave and therefore has not been able to present his version. At an early stage, Giske had two meetings with the party leadership regarding the cases, but it was stated on several occasions that he would get a proper response before the party took a position. Later, as Giske’s lawyers, we have had a dialogue about the process with the Labour Party’s lawyers, but this has not in any way replaced Giske’s need for a response”, it is stated in a press release from the lawyers Christopher Hansteen and Frode Sulland.
Giske has told Labour (Ap) that he believes to be able to renounce key claims in some of the cases. This makes the absence of a response from Giske extra problematic, according to the lawyers.
Breach of right of defense
According to Hansteen and Sulland, Ap has broken a fundamental principle regarding the right to defense – that the accused should be able to provide his version.
“We are also critical of the fact that the Labour Party actually acts as investigator and judge in the cases, without possessing the independence necessary to act unhindered in both relationships”, the press release goes on.
Trond Giske has resigned as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party as a result of several warnings regarding his behaviour. The warnings are related to sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. Giske has regretted his behavior, but at the same time stated on Facebook that “groundless and fake alerts have been aired”. He rejects the allegations of sexual harassment.
NTB has been in contact with Giske’s press contact, Bård Flaarønning. He states that Giske is still on sick leave, and therefore he has no opportunity to comment on the case.
Støre: – Giske has had full access
– Trond Giske has had full access to all warnings against him and the opportunity to provide his version, says Labour Leader Jonas Gahr Støre.
– Our lawyer has shared all the information we have obtained with Giske’s lawyers, and Giske has in meeting provided his responses to the alerts, but he has not submitted any written input beyond what his lawyers have conveyed to our lawyer, Støre tells NTB.
The Party has concluded that Giske has violated the party’s policy regarding sexual harassment, but Støre will not disclose how many cases there is talk about.
He tells him that he has had meetings with Giske also after the former Deputy got a sick leave on December 22, 2017.
– We have given him the opportunity to provide his version both verbally and in writing. We have not received a written denial. Should he wish to eloberate on the issues, we are willing to receive that, the Party boss continues.
Important to conclude
Støre believes that Giske has had ample opportunity to provide his version.
– That is our belief, and we think it is also important for for the whistle blowers to conclude the cases. We have seen it as our responsibility to provide feedback to each of the alerters, and we have done so today.
Støre emphasizes that he is the one who has reached the conclusions.
– The Central Committee has asked me to draw the conclusions because it has been about a Deputy. I take responsibility for these conclusions and has been assisted by the Party Secretary, Assistant Party secretary and our lawyer.
Confident about the conclusions
Asked if there has been a lot of discussion between those who have worked on the issues in the party leadership on whether the cases should be referred to as sexual harassment and the severity of them, Støre answers:
– No, I have been quite confident about the conclusions. But it has been useful to have a discussion, as there have been several cases that could not be concluded in the same manner. In some cases, we believe it is a violation of our regulations, in other cases it is not.
The party has also received notifications regarding others, but Støre will not answer questions about the figures or who is involved.
– #Metoo causes the threshold to alert is lower, he notes.
He confirms that there are still notifications reaching the party.
Labour concludes that Trond Giske has violated the Party’s guidelines
The former Deputy, Trond Giske, has in several cases violated the party’s guidelines regarding sexual harassment, the Labour Party concludes.
It is apparent from a press release the Party issued Thursday afternoon.
– The party’s assessments are passed on to individual alerters and to Trond Giske. The Labor Party will not provide further comments on the individual alerts, for the sake of those concerned, it goes on.
It is further pointed out that Giske has already withdrawn from all positions in the Party and that there is therefore no further reaction by them.
According to the Labour Party, Giske has been informed of the contents of all the alerts.
– His lawyers have access to all material in the cases and have been in regular contact with the Party’s lawyer, the press release states.
Furthermore, it is stated that the Labour Party, for the sake of the involved, will not provide further comments on the individual notifications.
– It is expected that our representatives behaves in a manner that is consistent with our core values and our guidelines as how we believe that women and men are to be met in our organization. This responsibility rests heavily on our top representatives, it is stressed.
Giske has apologized about his behaviour.
The prominent Labour politician who has several periods behind him as Cabinet Minister in various ministries has been on sick leave since Christmas. He has also resigned as a financial spokesperson. That post is now taken over by Rigmor Aasrud.
Giske is elected to the Parliament (Stortinget) from Sør-Trøndelag and is thus entitled to attend the meeting when the Labour Party’s country council meets for an extraordinary meeting at Gardermoen on Monday.
Labour has received alerts that involve other people than Trond Giske. Since mid-December, more than 20 alerts have been received. Labour reports in a press release that there have been alerts and inquiries regarding unwanted sexual attention. The party does not disclose who these warnings are concernings or what they is their actual nature.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today