Monday, 15 July 2013
PRESS RELEASE; CHALLENGE TO A JUDICIAL SYSTEM NOT-FIT-FOR-PURPOSE
Below I reproduce a press release issued to all local media, both 'accredited' and professional, regarding the latest battle to finally secure the justice of a fully European Convention on Human Rights Article 6 compliant judicial system in Jersey. attached is also an interview we recorded for the excellent Voiceforchildren blog.
As the press release makes quite clear - it might be Deputy Shona Pitman and I who are standing up doing the fighting in this case; but our battle is on the behalf of everyone who has, or is being betrayed by a 'justice' system currently wholly unfit for purpose.
Justice should be for all - not dependent on who you are or how deep your pockets might be. In Jersey this is sadly not yet the case. Yet together we can ensure that ultimately it WILL be!
DEPUTIES SHONA & TREVOR PITMAN
APPLICATION TO APPEAL OUT OF TIME DUE TO JURAT'S CONFLICT OF INTEREST
15TH JULY 2013 (Embargoed until 11am)
CHALLENGE TO A JUDICIAL SYSTEM NOT-FIT-FOR-PURPOSE
Deputies Shona & Trevor Pitman have today announced that they have lodged an application to Appeal out of Time as Litigants in Person against the decision by the Inferior Number of the Royal Court (a judge and just two local jurats) to dismiss their defamation case against the Jersey Evening Post and 1st Jersey Limited: the estate agent, Broadlands; this resulting from the infamous ‘4 x the salary, darling!’ advert published in the newspaper.
The Deputies told the media: ‘We have taken this decision in the light of evidence coming to light that the senior Jurat on the case, John Le Breton, had a very serious Conflict of Interest; rendering the Inferior Number incompliant with Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights This being that he has an evidenced, longstanding relationship, both social and working, over many years with a director of the Jersey Evening Post’s owners – yet chose not to reveal this nor recuse himself as required.
The grave seriousness of this failing is further highlighted, stated Deputy Shona Pitman, by the fact that, in contrast, both the Bailiff and Deputy Bailiff did recuse themselves from sitting on the case simply because of the public perception of potential bias due to their ‘political relationship’ with the two Deputies as States Members. ‘Under the Conflict of Interest rules both Crown Officers were right to recuse themselves; even though neither one of us has ever socialised with either judge in private; let alone visited either Crown Officer’s home to do so. Jurat Le Breton, however, did both with a director of a defendant company in the case. It is simply unacceptable.’
Yet the above conflict of interest is not the only concern regarding Jurat Le Breton that the Deputies have had brought to their attention by members of the public since the conclusion of their court case. In managing to obtain a copy of the government suppressed 1999 Stephen Sharp Report into horrific child abuse at Victoria College; the Deputies say that it became apparent that Le Breton actually had an evidenced history of refusing to consider evidence in making judgements. This relates to the case against a former friend and teaching colleague, the predatory paedophile Andrew Jervis-Dykes who plied young boys with alcohol on boat trips before sexually abusing them – even videoing abuse..
Deputy Trevor Pitman said: ‘That a man is allowed to be put forward to become a Jurat by a former President of the Education Committee – a States Member and Constable who was actually on the Victoria College Board of Governors at the time of Jervis-Dykes’ appalling abuse – and subsequently allowed to sit by two successive Bailiffs for a period of 14 years is quite horrifying. Let us not forget here, weighing up evidence is the cornerstone of a jurat’s role. Yet John Le Breton not only refused to look at evidence against this paedophile he then made it his business to actually write to authorities in Jervis-Dykes’ defence. This support included arguing that the paedophile had in fact ‘served the College in an outstandingly competent and conscientious way’; and even claiming that if the police did not prosecute there may be ‘no case (for Jervis-Dykes) to answer’!
The Pitmans state that having no money left to further engage a lawyer following a three year long legal battle they have, with the support of a dozen concerned political figures and justice campaigners, instead brought the revelations to every relevant justice authority in an attempt to get what they state is a clear and serious miscarriage of justice rectified.
‘We have written outlining what has come to light since the court case concluded to the Bailiff, the Island’s Chief Minister, the UK Justice Minister (Lord McNally), and even last month, the Lieutenant-Governor who is the Queen’s representative on the Island. With the exception of Lord McNally – who we were blocked from meeting by the Chief Minister’s Office – we have even met with all of these individuals. All have in effect made excuses as to why they can do nothing no matter what the evidence. Indeed, in the case of UK Justice Minister, Lord McNally he incredibly simply offered to refer us back to the Bailiff – the very individual who allowed this to happen by his failure to ensure that Jurat Le Breton complied with the rules on Conflict of Interest and recused himself.’
‘It is because of all of this,’ concluded Deputy Trevor Pitman, ‘that we are now left with no option but to attempt to challenge this as Litigants in Person. Neither of us are legally trained and the strain of having to now do this – coming as it does after years of fighting for justice and on top of our political work – will be huge. Yet we have no option. To not do so means financial ruin – which is possibly what some involved would like. It is not lost on either of us that as public figures we actually have some degree of a platform to try and challenge this huge injustice – something most ordinary people do not.
Justice simply should not be down to whether one has deep pockets or be dependent upon who an individual is; whether they have ‘rocked the political boat’ or not. Of course, since making public what has gone on behind the scenes in our case we now know that we are far from being alone in suffering such abuse of the justice system.
It is quite clear that a Mistrial should be called in our case as it has not been compliant with Article 6 (the right to a fair trial) of the European Convention on Human Rights. I am learning of more people suffering serious legal abuses on an almost weekly basis. In fighting for justice ourselves we hope we are also giving hope to all others utterly betrayed by a justice system that is meant to protect everyone but which does not. We will endeavour to help anyone else we can. Indeed, we will fight all the way to Strasbourg if necessary until Jersey gets its judicial system in order’.
Deputies Trevor & Shona Pitman For information/interviews contact: 07797 824243 or (011534) 863436