Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Jersey abuses of justice: A big issue in the BIG ISSUE

The new article I reproduce below has kindly been authorised for publication on the Bald Truth Jersey by journalist and author Mark Metcalf and the editor of the UK magazine 'Big Issue in the North'. Featured in this week's edition this excellent article is the latest in the ever-growing awareness outside our Island as to the inexcusable abuses of Jersey's justice system that our Establishment has allowed to go on for far too many years. Thankfully, due to citizens' media both in Jersey and beyond; along with true investigative journalists like Mark Metcalf there will soon be no place left to hide for those who believe justice is purely the preserve of the wealthy and the well connected. Respect to each and every one of you out there fighting for justice, transparency and democracy. Our ultimate success is assured.

Keep the Faith - Trevor

With the kind permission of The Big Issue in the North:

Abuse inquiry ‘complacent’

An MP has accused the government of “complacency” over child abuse allegations on Jersey.

Birmingham Yardley MP John Hemming backs Jersey Parliament members Shona and Trevor Pitman, who want the government to “ensure good governance by investigating evidence of the breakdown of law within the island’s justice system”.  

The Jersey child abuse scandal first surfaced in 2007 when social worker Simon Bellwood was sacked after complaining that children as young as 11 were routinely locked up for 24 hours in solitary confinement at the Greenfields secure unit. International attention followed when the ensuing wider police investigation moved into Haut de la Garenne, a children’s home from 1900 to 1986. 

Some 192 victims and 151 abusers were identified by the police investigation and seven people were successfully prosecuted.  

An inquiry into child abuse on the island will begin this year and should include why media personality Jimmy Savile visited Haut de la Garenne. Savile dropped legal proceedings in 2008 against the Sun after the paper’s claim that he had visited the home was proven to be true when a photograph showed him surrounded by boys there. Savile had been investigated on an allegation of indecent abuse at the home in the 1970s but no charges had been pressed. 

Leah McGrath Goodman, an American investigative journalist who has friends on Jersey, was unconvinced that the original police investigation had uncovered all the facts but was prevented from investigating the facts when she was banned from the UK and refused a visa to visit Jersey.

Goodman has a clean criminal and immigration record. In response Lib Dem MP Hemming tabled an early day motion and asked immigration minister Mark Harper to intervene. Trevor Pitman, who represents the Parish of St Helier, started an online petition to quash the first ban against a journalist visiting the UK in the last decade.

It took 500 days before Goodman was, in January, given clearance to travel here. Hemming said he was “pleased but “believes people have been very complacent about a journalist who wished to investigate Haut de la Garenne
being banned”.

Pitman and his wife’s letter to the justice minister Lord McNally asking him to “ensure good governance” has drawn a muted response. Lib Dem peer McNally replied: “Jersey has its own justice system so we can’t really interfere.”

Jersey is a British Crown dependency whose laws require royal assent from the Privy Council judicial committee, whose members are advised by the Lord Chancellor, currently Chris Grayling MP. It is rare for the British government to interfere with the judicial process in a Crown dependency but in 2007 the Lord Chancellor did refuse to present reforms to the constitution of Sark to the Privy Council.

The Pitmans have expressed their concerns on many occasions about child abuse. They believe “evidence against abusers has inexplicably not been pursued by the island’s Law Office”. The couple sought damages for defamation against the island’s only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post, over a cartoon they alleged accused them of entering politics to increase their salaries. Before the constitution of Sark to the Privy Council.

The Pitmans have expressed their concerns on many occasions about child abuse. They believe “evidence against abusers has inexplicably not been pursued by the island’s Law Office”. 

The couple sought damages for defamation against the island’s only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post, over a cartoon they alleged accused them of entering politics to increase their salaries. Before he was elected in 2008, Trevor Pitman was a youth worker and claims to have taken a £5,000 a year pay cut and lost his pension to fulfil his new role.

The senior judge in the Pitmans’ case was John Lyndon Le Breton, who is a personal friend of the Evening Post’s director and a former viceprincipal of Victoria College. This was an exclusive feepaying secondary school at the centre of a child abuse scandal in which paedophile Andrew Jervis-Dykes was given a four-year sentence in 1999 for indecent assaults on teenagers.

Colleagues of Jervis-Dykes refused to co-operate with the police and Le Breton wrote in support of him, saying he was “outstandingly competent and conscientious and if he had to resign his college post he should be allowed to do so with some dignity”.

Le Breton, who subsequently sat on other child abuse cases, has now retired.

The Pitmans lost their case and have decided not to appeal, claiming they cannot afford further costs of £30,000. 

Instead they have sought the support of Lord McNally on grounds that “the ordinary citizen who rocks the  establishment on Jersey has no hope of justice”.

Hemming is disappointed his party colleague has not supported the Pitmans. He said: “I think the UK government is complacent about Jersey’s problems. Cases do need to be taken to the Privy Council, but this requires government

The Pitmans intend speaking to the Queen’s representative on Jersey and are seeking to get their message out internationally in the hope that the “UK government will be embarrassed enough to help bring about desperately needed
reform in a justice system that is not fit for purpose”.

Lord McNally did not respond to a request for comment.


MARK METCALF was born in County Durham in 1959 and now lives in West Yorkshire with his wife Ruth and young son Charlie.
A former industrial, and later community and youth, worker Mark now works as a freelance journalist, particularly for The Big Issue in the North magazine and the various publications of the trade union, Unite. Mark regularly contributes to Tribune magazine.
In 2012 Mark started editing the Yorkshire and Humber TUC Newsletter ‘Clocking On” and in 2013 he is working with the Manchester United Disabled Supporters Association on a booklet.
Mark is becoming a prolific writer of football books with ten published in the last four years, and three due out in 2012-13.

To see a pdf copy of the original article The Big Issue in the North Please click here to go to the Big Issue Article which takes you to the article which is stored on my website. 


  1. This is what happens when the JEP refuse to report yours and shona's side of the story. Time to start by-passing the local media and start going national.

  2. Good to see word of the travesty of Jersey justice spreading. No wonder the JEP want to sweep this under the carpet.

    The key questions here are who - surely the Bailiff - was so negligent that he allowed a jurat with a clear conflict to sit?

    Secondly, what must the motives of the jurat to sit when he clearly was confliced have been? Whichever way you look at it this is all a disgrace.

  3. One can only hope more people start to take corruption issues on this island to the national media because the local media have been covering it all up for years. Well done Trevor and Shona - not forgetting John Hemming MP.

  4. A good piece by Mark Metcalf.

    Nice to see a journalist not ducking naming names. What a difference to our cowardly Jersey journos. Your case is solid as a rock. You cannot have jurats presiding over cases where friends are defendants. End of story.

    Nice to also hear on the radio today that regardless of Bailhaches rant about retaining power in his beloved courts hands common sense prevailed. Well done Deputy Young.

    Are people finally seeing through Bailhache at last?

  5. Looks as though Deputy Young is turning out to be the best of the latest recruits.

  6. Yes it is a surprise with Deputy Young ex boss of planning, but even more of a pleasant uplift is Mike Higgins also an ex civil servant who like the Pitmans and a hand full of others asks the questions that need to be asked checks and balances is so very important in a Government that does not have competing parties.

    Has anyone read the remit of the Comptroller and Auditor General by the way. To insure the public of the island get value money of the departments of the States.

    Is there any wonder that many months after Chris Swinson who was very highly regarded
    resigned, a deafening silence has continued about his replacement , so far there is no replacement.

    This could be for a couple of reasons, firstly Mr Swinson resigned and as he was highly respected also working for the UK Government, why would any high ranking auditor want to enter the vipers pit. The second possibility is that they have not found a professional that is desperate enough to keep there mouth closed and do as they are told. It is only a matter of time as they increase the remuneration and pension to snare a respectable sounding ticks all the boxes name.

    After all they have managed it with the WEB and the Jersey Development Company.

    How much was Stephen Izatt paid to cut and run ? Still a big secret, says it all.

  7. Trevor.

    Bob Key suspension and a recognised FORMULA