Sunday, 24 March 2013


'The Jersey Way'. What is it? I mean... according to the local Establishment it doesn't even exist. Just, co-incidentally, as the Jersey 'Establishment' itself also does not exist...

The reasons for this denial are many fold. Yet perhaps the most telling is the simple fact that if one doggedly denies somethings very existence then it becomes all the more difficult to make any criticism stick. After all how do you begin to engage with or challenge someone when they refuse point-blank to even acknowledge there is an issue to explore?

But for this article rather than focus on the actual people and workings of the local Establishment generally let's just spend a little time considering one intrinsic block within the rotten edifice of how this 'Jersey Way' tends to manifest: the 'Jersey Way' mindset. 

For at the bottom line this is at the heart of everything that is a barrier to finally developing a full and transparent democracy in our island: a democracy where 'equality' and 'justice' does not depend on the depth of your pocket or usefulness to those desperate to hang on to their 'right' of holding power. 

The Dean...

As a beginning let's just consider the current saga of the Dean of Jersey. The fact is that this sorry episode need not ever have happened at all. Indeed, even with what HAS happened we could already be a whole lot further along the road to setting things right.

Most important of all, of course, this would mean locating the poor, badly let down young woman - the victim - at the heart of all of this. Locating her to apologise for what has happened to her; ensuring that she is safe, OK and has the painful barb of being criminalised and driven out of our island so unjustly removed.

Lastly, by then demonstrating to her that all of those involved in her betrayal really are going to learn from what went wrong; learn and where appropriate be held accountable.

We are your betters and our reputation must not be tarnished...

Yet this is where 'the Jersey Way' comes in. Those who adhere to its mantra just cannot ever accept that they are ever wholly in the wrong; even less so that any amongst the proles should be able to hold them to account. To suggest that this pathetic and highly damaging outlook is tied up entirely with the issue of so-called 'class' would risk over simplifying it. It is likewise not even simply about wealth.

That these are regularly both huge contributory factors are, of course, beyond argument. Yet in my opinion analysis suggests that most significant of all in developing this sociological 'illness' in the modern world is the holding of power simply by means of position; and the compounding factor of there being no adequate or easily accessible means  for lesser mortals to hold such people to account.

The Dean - who I have absolutely nothing whatsoever against - is clearly in the wrong. He has, to use the words of one of my constituents, 'screwed up'. let's face it: we all do at times in our life. You might then think that as a 'man of God' he would be all for sticking his hand up, saying sorry and taking the flak.

Maybe to be fair after the past week or two he now genuinely wants to do this? Yet still in kicks 'the Jersey Way' and so all of those other carriers of the  virus in the island have to puff our their chests; dust off their best tweeds, shiny shoes and (probably seldom read) bibles and shout indignantly from the rooftops that the Dean is actually the victim here.

It stinks. It is repulsive. It shouldn't happen. Yet until Jersey finally joins the 21st Century and recognises that accountability must apply to all; and is actually the best way of building and protecting international reputation there is it will continue to happen. And if we have to have this forced upon us from outside because there aren't enough people in Jersey with the Testicular Fortitude to bring this about themselves then so be it.

Examples of 'the Jersey Way' are everywhere...

The Dean is just the latest example. But just look around you and if only you are prepared to look past the spin there are other instances everywhere. Just consider the long and cruel battle to finally batter down resistance to securing a fully independent Committee of Inquiry into the abuse at Haut de la Garenne and other institutions. The Jersey Way - arrogant and complicit people fighting indignantly and viciously not to run the risk of accountability. As to the true victims - some with decades of suffering on their shoulders already - sod them! 'The Jersey Way' doesn't want to know and doesn't care.

Secret courts...

Look at the secret courts being conducted under our very noses - conducted under the threatening spectre of 'super-injunctions' with fines or even imprisonment dare anyone speak out about it - to silence a former 'anti-establishment' politician, Stuart Syvret,  on the Internet. Silenced when push comes to shove primarily because what he was saying was damaging to the Establishment's perception of Jersey's 'image'. 

Yet hang on a minute...isn't it a fact that one of the people being afforded taxpayers money - your and my money and thousands of pounds of it - to silence the former Senator for his Internet writings is actually the island's biggest and most cowardly cyber-thug? A convicted criminal. Someone quite happy to threaten that innocent people will be murdered!

Ah, what champions of righteousness our Establishment are! No double-standards here then, eh Attorney General? Its the crime isn't it - not who did it...

Never mind the pain my failures have caused - I'M important...

Want something a bit less current? Just cast your mind back to a wholly merited vote of no confidence brought by Deputy Shona Pitman against our former Attorney General and Bailiff - now 'poll-topping' Senator Sir Philip Bailhache. Political speeches wholly outside his mandate; the illegal banning from the States of a politician; a truly sickening abuse of his Liberation day speech to belittle the abuse of children in States institutions against some less than fully considered global journalism.

Worst of all, perhaps, his appalling failure when Attorney General in allowing the convicted paedophile, Roger Holland, to be sworn back in to the ranks of the Honorary Police. The direct consequence being more innocent young girls needlessly abused.

Make to mistake about it. Let not history be re-written: for this last failing Sir Philip Bailhache should have been sacked. He should have preempted that in fact and resigned. Yet whilst an Attorney General just a few miles across the water in the Isle of Man has recently been suspended here 'the Jersey Way' ensured that ours was not.

As for the vote of no confidence vote...just 3 brave votes amidst much cowardly and irrelevant waffling about the 'great tradition' of the role of Bailiff. 'The Jersey Way' in action once again.

Shouldn't a Bailiff be capable of acknowledging when he is wrong...

You see the examples of 'the Jersey Way' truly are endless. Yet to conclude this particular article let's jump right back up to the present again. Anyone doubting that 'the Jersey Way' is very much alive and kicking in 2013 really need look no further than the defamation case brought against the Jersey Evening Post and the estate agents Broadlands by Deputy Shona Pitman and I last year.

Judges and Jurats are REQUIRED to recuse themselves if they have any relationships - conflicts of interest - with either a plaintiff or defendant. This isn't a matter of choice or individual discretion to be adhered to or disregarded as individuals see fit. This MUST happen. Human Rights Article 6 enshrines this. The responsibility for ensuring this happens, however, is down to two people. The Jurat and the Bailiff via his Office.

The fact is there can be no excuse whatsoever for Jurat John Le Breton who happily sat on our case. He knew full well that he is an evidenced friend of a director of one of the defendants. He knew that he and this defendant company director even went to dinner at each others homes.

Indeed, as I have pointed out before: even without the deeply concerned people who came forward to advise us of this after the case; even without the dozen prominent Islanders, politicians past and present who wrote to complain of this to the UK Justice Minister Le Breton has been caught in his failings bang-to-rights. There should be some kind of serious sanction available. We should be able to prosecute him.

Yet putting this sickening and in my eyes wholly contemptible individual aside all of this wouldn't matter quite so much if our Bailiff, Sir Michael Birt would only be big enough to put his hands up and acknowledge that he and the Office he oversees got it horribly wrong in not ensuring all was as it should be - for any litigant.

The decision in our case simply cannot stand: it cannot be viewed as safe or just by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, you really would have to question why any defendant such as a newspaper would still be quite happy to try and benefit from such a evidenced blatant abuse of justice...

Let us just remind ourselves of the cast iron reality of this with the words of the late and legendary Lord Denning:

Conflict of Interest

"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..."

The fact is our Bailiff failed in his duty. He failed us. he failed justice. If he would only do the right thing and simply apologise for this and set in motion the action to correct this injustice it might yet be possible to see this as a ghastly, if certainly very painful, stressful mistake. But he has not. And so once again we see the 'the Jersey Way' in all of its sickening contempt for right, justice and democracy. 

The message once again...we are the Establishment. We are too big; too important - actually too damned cowardly if truth be told of course - to hold up our hands; admit we made a mistake and accept accountability. Even worse I suppose the further possibility must arise that perhaps he may have been quite happy to collude with Le Breton's breaching of Human Rights Article 6? You really would have to hope not. But what else can one conclude?

No matter how long it takes Justice must win out over 'the Jersey Way'...

And so sickening as that thought certainly is this is also the  essence of why those of us who do believe in justice over 'the Jersey Way' will keep on fighting. In a democracy justice simply must be for all. Those currently haranguing the Church of England for at last putting its house in order in a place that on this occassion just happens to be Jersey; and doing so at the risk of seeing the real female victim of of the Dean saga abandoned and forgotten all over again really ought to wake up and smell the coffee... 

Keep the Faith - Justice will win in the end.

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. 

Sunday, 17 March 2013


Another week ankle-deep in the cesspit of the Jersey 'justice' system...

Do you ever wonder why reliance on the 'mainstream media' (MSM) is declining the world over? Then just take a few minutes to analyse the political situation here in the UK Crown Dependency of Jersey.

Not just the fact that our MSM are largely quite happy to look the other way and even collude with a democratic deficit in terms of voting equality that would embarrass the average 'Banana Republic' Dictator. But the fact that we have a judicial system and attendant 'legal' industry that is set up to ensure justice is guaranteed only dependent on the depth of an individuals pockets; or according to their social standing i.e. being 'in the Establishment club'.

And that these people keep getting away with it is largely because it is only the victims of these unfit for purpose institutions who get to know the true painful facts. Why? Because those at the apex of our aforesaid mainstream media possess neither the morals nor Testicular Fortitude to expose what is going on. And that in a nutshell is why the audience and respect for so-called citizens' media in the island is growing with each passing year.

We (for I am proud to consider myself one of them) WILL undertake the required research. We WILL risk the illegal visit from the local Stasi. We WILL stand up against the inevitable hatchet job tagging us 'wreckers' and being 'anti-Jersey' that will always follow from the Establishment or its very same media mouthpieces.

By doing so we risk losing everything. A line in a forthcoming book says: 'there are none so bitter as Old Gods almost dead; none so desperate as those who see long years of power finally slipping through their fingers like sand'. Yet huge and draining as the risks are the truth is that to instead do nothing would ultimately lead to us losing a whole lot more: our pride; our integrity - our ability to simply look those who have been made victims and need our strength squarely in the eye.

This is why we 'freedom writers' continue to write and so fight. In the words of the legendary EZLN spokesman Subcommandante Marcos: 'our word is our weapon'. And trust me - we aren't about to cease hostilities until justice in Jersey finally prevails and those who pervert our institutions to their own ends are brought to book.

The examples of abuse within the 'justice' system just grow and grow

In a month or so a couple of us will be presenting a dossier to the Island's Lieutenant-Governor. The examples within are as diverse as they are shocking. That the details are laid out in all their full, appalling glory is essential. But just as an aperitif here's just a couple of recent examples of Jersey 'justice' to consider...

Do you think it is all above board to blackmail a prisoner on remand to the tune of: 'Plead guilty to the charge and we won't implicate your mother in your offence. But plead not'll find her facing charges of conspiracy and a guarantee of years in jail'?

Is it all simply par for the course to falsely arrest a person over a planning case so without substance that it wouldn't even stand up in North Korea? Just as bad - to then keep up the sick charade and ruin their reputation and livelihood in the process - incredibly with the collusion of the court simply because backing down would now certainly reveal the truth of what has gone on?

Do we really want to live under a 'justice' system where a magistrate is able to send a woman - a mother of young children - to prison for drink driving even when the States own analyst says she simply could not have been over the limit?

Can it honestly be acceptable that a lawyer can attempt to charge a person in the region of £50,000 worth of fees for work that he quite demonstrably never undertook? Can it really also be satisfactory that any sanctions to be applied for such fraud must be left entirely in the hands of his friends on the Jersey Law Society?

Well, call me a trouble-making Lefty rebel-rouser if you like but the answer to my mind is no, no, no and no!

All of the above is no more acceptable than our Bailiff's Office breaching all rules on conflict of interest by not ensuring a jurat  being an evidenced friend of a company director of a defendant did not sit in judgement of FACT in our defamation case. They are all wrongs; abuses which must be righted. And if doing so is contested and resisted then clearly one must conclude that they cannot even be genuine, if barely credible mistakes.They can only be something a whole lot more sinister...

I began this post with a line from the famous quote by German poet and playwright, Gunter Grass: 'the job of the citizen is to keep is mouth open'. And it is in this great tradition that Jersey's citizen media 'bloggers' are doing just that to expose and oppose such travesties of 'justice' that I highlight above. So to my noble 'comrades in arms' - the Ricos; VFCs; Toms; Stuarts; Sams; Montys and so many more - I say: take a bow. Your work is both brave and important beyond words.

And, just in case you should ever doubt yourselves or waiver under the strain and intimidation I'll end this short post with a literal translation of another that is equally incisive for you to hold on to. They are words from the the famous poet and philosopher Jose Marti - hero of the Cuban revolutionary war for Independence. 'He who uses the office he owes to the people against them is a thief'.'

Those who strut and preen in the regalia of the Jersey justice system - in all of its many guises - yet allow such travesties that I outline above to go un-rectified are nothing less. They are actually a whole lot worse. And we must fight them to the bitter end.

Keep the Faith - The darkness can't last forever...

Sunday, 10 March 2013


'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'.


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...


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


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.


*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.