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Sunday, 10 March 2013

JERSEY & THE ABUSE OF JUSTICE: WHEN WILL THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR FINALLY REIN IN THE COWBOYS?

'Jersey's legal system is, in its entirety, fundamentally incompatible with the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom ('the Convention'). The attitude of Jersey's authorities, in relation to the non-compliance in the Island with the Convention is one of calculated defiance'.

JERSEY - THE ISLAND  DEMOCRACY & JUSTICE FORGOT...

Powerful words indeed; damning words. Just me again - that bolshie, anti-Establishment rebel rouser taking another shot at Jersey's  powerful elite? Well, no actually. The above quotation is from one of Jersey's finest lawyers: certainly the best and most courageous practising today.

His name is Advocate Philip Sinel. And his words, taken from his submission to the Carswell Inquiry, are 'bang on the money'. I know - with my wife, Deputy Shona Pitman I have experienced both barrels from a system that would be a disgrace to a developing country; let alone one of the half-dozen most affluent jurisdictions on earth.

Justice is meant to be for all within a community, isn't it. Yet in Jersey this just isn't the case. For within a jurisdiction both wholly captured by finance, and long hijacked by a morally bankrupt, clique of individuals with far more more money than ability 'justice' has nothing to do with right and wrong anymore: it is all about manipulating and maintaining power.

Those ordinary people who dare 'rock the Establishment boat' will find the 'justice' system turned on them until they are either silenced, join the club, or are utterly crushed. Of course, these people should be able to turn to the UK Ministry of Justice to protect them from such abuses. The only trouble is the Ministry of Justice evidently couldn't give a damn. It could intervene. It SHOULD intervene. But it doesn't. And so it allows the abuses of process to go on: go on as they have for decade upon decade.

Over the next month or so Deputy Mike Higgins and myself - possibly Deputy Montfort Tadier too - will be endeavouring to collate a catalogue of appalling and hugely diverse cases that show just how out of control Jersey 'justice' is. We then intend to put these to the Lieutenant-Governor.

More about all of this nearer the time. But for now let me just offer a further instalment of my own experience of how even those with the comparative platform of a political voice can fall victim to the failings - some will say 'machinations' of the Jersey Law Office...

JERSEY MIGHT BE SMALL BUT THAT IS NO EXCUSE TO BLATANTLY FLOUT ARTICLE 6 OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS...

Let's just consider the comparatively straight-forward issue of the essentiality of avoiding Conflicts of Interest when judges and jurats are sitting on court cases i.e. ensuring that no one rules or decides on evidence in a case where they may, or may even be perceived to have a relationship with either plaintiff or defendant. The fundamental importance and clarity of this concept has never been better summed up then by the late and legendary Lord Denning.

"The court does not look at the mind of justice itself or at the mind of the chairman of the tribunal, or whoever it may be who sits in a judicial capacity. It does not look to see if there was a real likelihood that he would, or did, in fact favour one side at the expense of the other.

The Court looks at the impression that would be given to other people. Even if he was impartial as could be, nevertheless, if the right minded-persons would think that, in the circumstances there was a real likelihood of bias on his part, then he should not sit. And if he does so, then, his decision cannot stand..."

All very straight-forward. Yet in Jersey as we were to discover - at best applied only inconsistently; at worst completely ignored. Indeed, our case for defamation against the Jersey Evening Post and the estate agent Broadlands highlight both perfectly.

On the one hand the Bailiff' and Deputy Bailiff 'recused' themselves from presiding over our case simply because of our political 'relationship'. As I have said before - all well and good though the fact is I would not partake of diner with either man if they were the last individuals on earth.

Yet when we came to jurats - and remember only TWO sat on our case with the Jersey syetm denying us an independent jury of ordinary people - having the most crucial role of actually deciding on evidence and fact the senior of the two jurats, John Le Breton failed to recuse himself despite clearly being conflicted beyond all argument.

He had been a personal friend of a senior director of one of the defendants for many years.

Jurat Le Breton socialised with the defendant's director. He even went to diner at the director's home and the director his. He was also even a close personal friend of the director's spouse. And he also knew full well that his friend was a director of this defendant in the case.

All of this is evidenced. The Jurat should have revealed all of this as is required of all judges and jurats, and if not automatically recusing himself voluntarily then be prevented from sitting by the Bailiff's Office. But neither happened. There  are no ifs or buts about this. It is fact.

Sickening enough in itself then. Yet when all of this finally came to light after the court case had finished incredibly both Jurat Le Breton and the Bailiff's Office both tried to play the seriousness of it all down. As they still do to this day. They even try to paint it as acceptable because Jersey is 'small' in size. The question that immediately raises itself in consequence simply has to be: why?

If mistakes are made - and let's be quite clear here we all make them at times - then immediately they are brought to ones attention you put them right. Though such an incredibly lax approach to justice could never really be excused given all of the stress and strain involved it could at lest be accepted once put right.

When such glaring travesties of justice are met with only arrogance and denial, however, the conclusion can only be that the motive for what happened to us - and has no doubt happened to unknown others - can only be suspected to be a whole lot more sinister. Are Shona and I alone in this view? Is it just 'sour grapes'?

Well, the Jersey Evening Post certainly may well want to try and convince its readers of that - after all they have consistently refused to let us tell the true facts. They even edited this rather significant and hugely telling FACT our of the press release article they published (we wonder why?) But alone in our identification of a clear and wholly unacceptable conflict of interest - one that completely renders the decision of the jurats unsafe - we are not.

And to this regard I reproduce a copy of the main letter of support given to the Justice Minister (in tandem with a second letter from us) signed by a sample cross-section of prominent Islanders just as horrified as we ourselves. Including political figures past and present to the 2 x Senators; 6 x Deputies and 1 x Constable who felt compelled to co-sign the below letter or write their own Shona and I again say a heartfelt 'thank you'. Just as we do to our fellow campaigners for justice who also signed in support*.

Your solidarity and recognition that such abuses of justice as outlaid above cannot be allowed to go unchecked a moment longer give us strength. Those who are happy to abuse the legal process may destroy us - indeed they are working flat out to do so. But they will never, ever be able to alter the fact that their actions are as reprehensible as they are incompatible with a democracy.

Eventually justice WILL prevail - both for us and for all the other wronged ordinary working people beginning to come forward. Wouldn't it be great if the Island's Representative of the Queen - the Lieutenant-Governor would now step up to the plate and play his part in doing what is right and just too...

Keep the Faith

Trevor


Letter to the UK Justice Minister


6th December 2012


Reference: Shona & Trevor Pitman’s court case


Dear Lord McNally


We write to you as both current and former Members of the States of Jersey Assembly; and, indeed a small number of ordinary members of the community to express our deep concern as to the flawed application of justice within the case of Deputies Shona and Trevor Pitman; heard by the Royal Court in April of this year.

The full details of Mr and Mrs Pitman’s concerns, both in regard to their own case and of a wider nature, are outlined at considerable depth within their own letter. There are indeed in our view many aspects of our island’s justice system, especially within the Jurat system, that need modifying in terms of adequate checks and balances. This being so, we nevertheless believe it sufficient here to state the following relating specifically to the Pitman’s case.

All individuals are entitled to a fair and just trial process; free of all and any perception of possible bias or conflict of interest. Just as both Judges and Jurats should not have any serious questions as to their past judgement or commitment to justice. It is apparent to all of us, however, that given the evidence relating to the Sharp Report into child abuse at Jersey’s Victoria College highlighted by Mr and Mrs Pitman in their letter, there are clearly such question marks relating to the senior Jurat in their case.

A further key aspect of ensuring a fair and just trial, must obviously also be that neither a Judge nor a Jurat should be able to sit on a case if he or she has any demonstrable relationship with any of the parties involved; be this with plaintiff or defendant. Those of us who are, or have been States Members can attest to politicians being very much aware of their obligations as public figures; one of these of course being that such duties are carried out within the realms of public perception.

Yet it is quite apparent from the information laid out by the Pitmans that this crucial process has not been adhered to within the appointment of Jurats to their case. In our collective view, it simply cannot be acceptable or safe that the Jurat in question, Mr John Le Breton, was allowed by the Bailiff’s Office to sit and pass judgement on this case.

It is after all quite clear that the Jurat has a significant relationship over many years - one that has been both working and social - with an individual, who is a long-standing director of a company who own one of the defendants in the case: this being the local newspaper.

In our view, the inappropriateness of this serious conflict of interest is only further amplified by the fact that in stark contrast, both the Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff were ruled to be unable to preside on the grounds of their ‘political’ relationship with the plaintiffs. We are all able to confirm that neither Shona nor Trevor Pitman have, or have had, any social or friendship-based relationship with either Crown Officer whatsoever.

The inconsistency of this ruling set against the relationship with a director of the first defendant on the part of the senior Jurat could not we believe be more pronounced. We thus echo Mr and Mrs Pitman’s contention, that this involvement of Jurat Le Breton in their Royal Court case for defamation cannot be regarded as either safe or acceptable.

We further support the belief that such a miscarriage of justice being corrected must have another possible avenue of redress when individuals, any individuals, do not possess the significant wealth necessary to challenge this by means of a standard appeal. Indeed, the whole issue of the Jurat’s actions in refusing to look at evidence outlined with the Sharp Report only strengthen this deep concern.

As such we fully support Mr and Mrs Pitman’s call for a mistrial and request that you intervene as Justice Minister with regard to ruling this court decision as unsafe.


Note

*Along with publishing further correspondence including that from the Bailiff's Office; upon consent from the individuals I hope to also be able to indicate the identity of those who kindly suggested writing and/or signing the letters of support.

Of course, knowing that not all individuals may want to lay themselves as wide open to targeting by the Establishment as I am prepared to do any request for continued anonymity will be fully respected. The important thing was that these good people were willing to stand up with us to be counted in saying to the Justice Minister 'enough is enough' 

We will be forever grateful to them for that.


21 comments:

  1. Certainly puts a whole different perspective on the version the JEP gave us. No wonder they do not want us to know the truth Trevor. You haven't had justice in any shape or form.

    You must get out and make more people aware, give out leaflets or something. This can't stand it is a disgrace.Hang in there.

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  2. Please feel free to work in the position of the now suspended Dean on this.

    There are two parts to the issue in the report compiled by Winchester diocese. The first is a significant failure of process in dealing with a vulnerable adult. And that is bad, both for what happened and because it shows that the lessons about safeguarding are not being learned.

    But ultimately that is a problem that could be fixed, were it not for the second part of the issue - that the report lays out how the Dean set out to obstruct the review of his failure. And the mechanism he used? It was to assert that any review would compromise his position as the head of the Ecclesiastical Court.

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  3. Trevor.

    I was at a public meeting given by Lord Carswell where Advocate Sinel was also there as a member of the public. Sinel said words to the effect that Jersey has no "real" oversight from the UK. In Advocate Sinel's submission to Carswell he describes, as long as it is not embarrassing to the UK then the UK will not get involved.

    It might be worth your while publishing, what looked to be, nothing more than a shabby "template" letter you received from McNally in response to your letter?

    It is, IMO, high time somebody stepped in and restored the rule of law and good governance of this island and as you have stated the LG should be stepping up to the plate. In fact the LG's office should have stepped up to the plate a long time ago particularly when the Child Abuse cover up became so obvious.

    The LG has a duty to protect us from this regime and is paid handsomely to do so. Yet his , or his offices', silence has been deafening.......................Why?

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  4. 'They even try to paint it as acceptable because Jersey is 'small' in size.'

    Small in size, but does that give it free rein to be massive in corruption? In a word - no.

    The utmost respect to yourself, Shona and others who are taking this stance, long overdue in my opinion. The very, very best of luck to you.

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  5. This needs to be shown far and wide. Good luck with your struggle against Jersey corruption.

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  6. Something has been bothering me about Jurat Le Breton........

    extract from the (still officially secret) Sharp Report Page 23, Paragraph B35 : "On 5 August, Mr. Le Breton wrote to Advocate Falle. He said that the police did not as yet seem inclined to press charges and that there may indeed be no case to answer. He went on to say that Mr. Jarvis-Dykes had served the College in an outstandingly competent and conscientious way. He accepted that there was now evidence of misconduct on off island trips and that in his view this was now a resignation matter. He asked that Mr. Jervis-Dykes be allowed to leave with some dignity and suggested that the Governors consider a resignation from Christmas or Easter. He did not believe that his (Jervis-Dykes) continued presence teaching Maths and as Head of Maths would place anyone at risk. “In the absence of a police case, the resignation would be seen as an inevitable consequence of an intolerable situation caused by an unsubstantiated allegation.” (Mr. Le Breton had not taken up the Headmaster’s suggestion in June that he might view the videos ........."

    So Le Breton refused to look at the videos which rather substantiated the "unsubstantiated allegations" - WHY ?
    The normal human reaction would have been to view them
    - if not out of cursory to see what all the fuss was about
    - or to be better informed and hence better able to defend his friend or colleague
    - or to better assess the child protection issues at the school under his deputy headship

    But No, Le Breton refused to view the videos.
    One explanation might be that he did not need to view them because he had already seen them in a recreational capacity ????

    Le Breton may have hound this apparent refusal to view the videos convenient as he could could continue defending Jervis-Dykes and then be able to claim that it was done 'in all innocence' being unaware of the full facts.

    I suspect that it was not by chance that Jurat Le Breton was scheduled to judge so many important cases like yours and 'ambushed and deposed' police Chief ham Power's appeal.
    Breakdowns in justice and cover up of decades of child abuse disaster do not happen be chance. They happen by 'mutually dependant' people working together and promoting their friends and club members to take over or dominate an entire system.

    Jersey PIE ?????

    Jervis-Dykes is a convicted paedophile, in spite of Le Breton's best efforts
    How many got away ?

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  7. 'They even try to paint it as acceptable because Jersey is 'small' in size.'
    Surely that is precisely what makes it very much unacceptable?

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  8. Another informative posting from you Trevor, yourself and a few of your colleagues are doing an excellent job exposing the rot in Jersey.

    Home Affairs and The Jersey Police....Just a MINEFIELD OF NONSENSE

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  9. "Le Breton may have hound this apparent refusal to view the videos convenient as he could could continue defending Jervis-Dykes and then be able to claim that it was done 'in all innocence' being unaware of the full facts."

    The above reminds me of how nobody saw the so called "Met Interim Report" which was the basis of Warcups' letter that got Graham Power suspended. Andrew Lewsis never read it, nor did Ogley or ILM or the AG (well he might of) because when asked by Napier he never categorically said no, but that he did not recall seeing it, of course with some many people not seeing it, nobody knew that Warcup had omitted big caveats nor that key witnesses had yet to be interviewed.

    I wonder how may past cases have relied upon lack of evidence because someone did not bother or insist on reading something!!

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  10. An opinion about the CoOp scheme to demolish heritage buildings, if you don't mind publishing.... thank you Clever Trev :)

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  11. Trevor and Shona have shown immense courage in going up against the establishment particularly in light of what Stuart Syvret, Lenny Harper, Graham Power, Jon Day, Simon Bellwood and others have been put through. The LT Governor's office has been here all through this and simply watched it all happen as he will continue to watch the same happen to both Shona and Trevor unless people start to speak up against this tyranny. Corruption runs this island and we are to believe the Lt Governor knows nothing about it?

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  12. This is damning Deputy. You are completely right to fight this. How many other people may there be out there without a voice to protest? Sounds to me like you have bee set up.

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  13. Just to say thank you to all of the people who have been in touch through email. tex and phone call about both the justice issue and Public Sector terms and condidtions. Your views are all much appreciated.

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  14. Yes, the Advocate Sinel document is a brilliant deconstruction of what is being fobbed off to us as a 'justice' system. In need of complete external review.

    Oddly enough Chief Minister Gorst also admitted the need for independent review in a private meeting with Shona and myself. Wonder what happened to these views after he spoke to the Bailiff...

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  15. Anybody tried to leave a comment on (Sen) Philip Ozouf's revived blog?
    I have - but he does not seem keen to publish it. Previously he stopped me commenting as Tom Gruchy and his blog has been inactive for a year but now he claims to want to consult on his absurd MTFP and yet more savings on anything in sight.
    Any clues? Mike Dun asks.

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  16. Corruption in our courts, featuring our New Top Magistrate CAPT'N BRIDGET SHAW

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