Monthly Archives: July 2009

LEGAL ADVICE FROM THE WEB: # 1

COMMUNALLY PROVIDED

LEGAL REPRESENTATION:

AN EXPERIMENT.

Can a Web-Based Community

Provide Effective Legal Advice?

Today I’m launching an experiment.

I’m asking readers to participate in an exercise in providing communal, web-based legal advice, support and guidance.

It may be a disaster – of course, but, nevertheless, I thought it would be fascinating to see whether the World Wide Web can enable and supply some robust legal support for an accused person.

For those who aren’t in-the-know – some basic background information.

Jersey is – to all practical purposes – a single-party state; a jurisdiction controlled by an entrenched oligarchy – people who control, with a grip of iron, all meaningful power in the island.

The legislature, the executive, the judiciary, the senior civil servants, the prosecution service, the police, most of the local media and all the significant employing businesses in the island – all are controlled by a broad coalition of the traditional ruling elites. Many of the individuals involved may hate each other – but – invariably – when the chips are down – they unite and ruthlessly abuse all power in defence of their lucrative status quo.

I have been one of the very few opponents of this entrenched stagnation throughout my political career; an opposition which has become both very serious and very difficult during the last two years – given my attempts to uncover and expose the Jersey Child Abuse Disaster. And such has been the nature of the threat this episode poses to the oligarchy’s business-as-usual plans – they’ve gone out of their way to try and oppress and crush me – even more so than during the preceding 18 years.

The apotheosis of this process occurred in early April – when, one morning, I stepped from the door of my home to retrieve my iPod from my car – and was suddenly surrounded – and arrested in the presence of ten cops – who had been waiting outside in four cars and an incident-van.

I was taken to the police station and held under lock and key for over seven hours whilst an army of cops conducted a total “fishing expedition”-type search of the premises.

Though I’ll explain some of the legal details and questions in later postings – to cut a long story short, I am now charged with four alleged criminal offences.

These are:

1: Failing to renew a driving licence after an automatic expiry date.

2: Failing to notify a change of the registration address for my car.

3: Allegedly disclosing controlled data on this blog.

4: The data in question not being formally registered as under my control.

Those are not the precise words, which we can examine in subsequent postings – but that’s the gist of it.

Obviously – the two alleged data protection law breaches are, by far, the more serious charges.

It was very obvious from the questioning I was subjected to when under arrest that I had been under surveillance for a long time – that a detailed ‘intelligence-gathering’ exercise had been undertaken – and that all my methods of communication had been tapped and monitored.

Therefore – just by way of one example – it is my legal contention that such surveillance and monitoring was unlawful – for several possible reasons – and thus any evidence so gathered is inadmissible. These are the kind of issues I’m hoping readers can help me with.

And I need that help – because Jersey does not provide a paid legal aid service – in direct contravention of the case-law of the European Convention on Human Rights – which requires that all people have effective – with the emphasis on the word, ‘effective’ – legal representation. Jersey’s system doesn’t get onto the radar-screen of being “effective legal representation”. But rectifying that will obviously be a longer-term project.

Whilst I have had some pro bono legal advice and support from a good Jersey lawyer, his practice is small – and it would not be reasonable to call on his limited resources to provide what would need to be extensive legal representation.

So – with your help – I’m largely representing myself.

As I said – don’t worry about the precise details at this stage – we’ll examine those in coming posts.

I’m writing today simply to set the scene – and launch the experiment.

By way of a start, I’ll put a few initial questions towards the end of this post – for which I’d be grateful for answers.

But, before getting to the questions, I should describe my thinking behind the idea for this exercise.

In laying out the design of this experiment – a design which could be flawed, and require modification – we have to think of, and acknowledge, the obvious limitations and risks involved.

So let’s run through some of the issues and risks which occur to me; no doubt readers will add others.

1: Sabotaging the experiment.

As we all know – web sites can receive all sorts of rubbish – much of it deliberately designed spin-doctoring, trolling and/or seemingly plausible misinformation.

We must, therefore, be on our guard against such attempts to sabotage the experiment.

I will attempt to vet out the more obvious examples of deliberately submitted utter rubbish – but not being a lawyer, I could get taken-in by something, such as an inappropriate or wrong reference to a legal principle, or the irrelevant citing of examples of case-law, or the use of jargon, etc.

So our experiment will require readers to consider in detail the comments that get published – and alert us to any demonstrable errors, or deliberate attempts to mislead, which may get through.

2: The sub judice rule.

I believe that we can largely remain within any such consideration, given that we are not dealing with a jury trial. It’s the magistrate initially, and when it gets sent up to the higher court, it will be one of Michael Birt’s judges, and two Jurats who will hear the case.

My understanding – and please correct me if I’m wrong – is that the judiciary customarily argue that judges – who are “experts” in what they do – are not open to influence or prejudice to the same degree as a lay-person juror. Is that right?

However – in any event – it is only me who is responsible for what gets published on this site – so no risk accrues to my readers. And I take the view that they can do me for contempt of court if they wish; I’ll just add it to my grounds for taking things all the way to Strasbourg.

Given the Jersey oligarchy have pro-actively refused to furnish me with paid – thus effective – legal aid, of my choosing, I’m fully justified in seeking communal legal advice.

3: Jersey laws vs. the laws of other jurisdictions.

Obviously – there will be some differences between the legislation of Jersey and that of, say, the USA, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, France etc – and even the United Kingdom.

I will need to be conscious of those differences – and check-out any specific guidance or references offered for compatibility and relevance with Jersey laws.

However – in respectable, democratic countries, the great majority of basic legal principles, and the objectives of modern statute law, are frequently very similar. So comparisons with the Jersey situation will still be very useful, in at least two ways.

Firstly, some novel arguments or principles which could be run in a Jersey court may come to light.

Secondly, simply as an intellectual exercise it will be very interesting indeed to compare laws and their interpretations in Jersey – with accepted practice in other modern democracies.

It is also worth bearing in mind that whilst Jersey has its own laws – the great majority of the island’s modern legislation is simply copied and pasted from the UK equivalent – so there will be strong similarities with UK law.

It is also to be hoped at least one or two Jersey lawyers may join our experiment – who will then be able to point out to us any incompatibilities between the suggestions of readers from other jurisdictions, and Jersey law.

4: Legal privilege and confidentiality.

Though the Jersey oligarchy are strenuously attempting to resist 95% of my requests for disclosure of evidence to the defence side – for the very obvious reason that much of what I’m seeking would be immensely embarrassing and damaging to them – I do hope to, eventually, obtain certain disclosures.

Much of this material will have to be regarded as confidential – as will any legally privileged communications between the prosecution and defence and the court administration.

However, without breaking that confidentiality, I’m reasonably confident that I can distill down the evidence to a few generalised, fundamental points, which I can then put to you – my ‘collective lawyer’ – for your advice and guidance.

And, again, I must make the point that as I have been denied effective legal representation – in direct defiance of the European Convention on Human Rights – and I’m only a carpenter – I have a right to look somewhere for my legal guidance.

5: Showing one’s hand.

It may be argued that by communally discussing and constructing a case for the defence in this very public manner – we allow the prosecution to see what cards we hold – and thus enable them to prepare counter-arguments.

Two thoughts occur to me.

Firstly, as far as I’m aware – and correct me if I’m wrong – it is a basic principle of criminal trials that both prosecution and defence disclose to each other their evidence and their basic arguments in any event.

If that is so, then I’d have to share my case with the oligarchy come what may.

Secondly – if there were any useful arguments, devices or manoeuvres which could, legitimately, be retained from the prosecution side – readers can e-mail them to me in confidence at st.syvret@gmail.com.

6: Quality of advice may be poor.

Well, yes, that’s a possibility – but on the other hand – it could be extremely good – especially when one considers what will, hopefully, be a multi-input case.

In this experiment – the legal guidance and advice from readers – and their comments and observations on such advice – will act as an intrinsic peer-review; a kind of quality-control mechanism.

Well – that’s the hypothesis – and this is an experiment – so we can but try.

So those are my initial thoughts. The methodology of the experiment will run something like this –

I will publish the input and comments from readers (with the usual caveats) and hopefully, we can have a dialogue concerning the observations made.

After a few days, I will publish the next post in the series, in which I will up-date readers, try to encapsulate where we’ve got to in forming our case so far – and stating what I think we need to look at next.

In asking for input from readers, whilst personal experiences could be useful if directly analogous to the charges and situation I face – I think we should try to steer clear of too many recountings of the, no doubt, many bad personal experiences people have had at the hands of the law.

The kind of contribution which would be really helpful would be if readers could draw this blog and this experiment to the attention of any lawyers they know – and ask them to contribute.

Or – you may be a lawyer, in which case – let us know your thoughts.

Or – you may simply be able to do some useful research – and let us have your ideas.

So – does this idea – this experiment – interest readers?

Is the methodology I posit suitable?

Have I missed any important points?

And – to begin the legal questions – can readers share with us any initial legal understanding they may have of the underlying principles of “disclosure” – the process whereby the prosecution has to disclose to the defence side evidence which may help the defence – or undermine the prosecution case?

I ask this – though it is a theme we’ll return to again and again – because the Jersey oligarchy are strenuously resisting the disclosures sought by me, instead claiming that it’s up to the prosecution to decide what is – or is not – of relevance to the charges they have brought.

In the next post in this series – I’ll be addressing readers in-put – and giving some more detail – for example, quoting the charges precisely, and explaining what my – non-legal and non-expert – assessment of the situation is.

Thanks.

Stuart.

THE PEASANTS REVOLT

THE POWERLESS CHALLENGE POWER

The Weak and Vulnerable

Strike Back at the Heart of Darkness.

“It’s more than rain that falls on our parade today
It’s more than thunder, it’s more than thunder
And it’s more than a bad dream now that I’m sober
Nothing but woe-begotten grey skies now.”

‘More Than Rain’

Tom Waits.

Those typically bleak-to-the-point-of-being-funny words from a song by my favourite musician, Tom Waits, pulsed through my mind in the brief moments of silence in between our shouted protests – which – oh so “rudely” – crashed into one of the Jersey oligarchy’s great plastic pageants this morning.

With all the “politeness” of a savage beating from Al McGuire –

With all the “appropriateness” of a bottle of Dettol poured down a child’s throat by Jane McGuire –

With all the “discretion” of a right-hook to the head of a 14 year-old, administered by Tom McKeon –

With all the “confiscating” of innocence – as inflicted on vulnerable children by the States of Jersey for decades –

With all the “respectability” of a broken arm inflicted by Mario Lundy –

With all the “responsibility” of Francis Hamon, telling a headmaster – ‘whilst they play a game of squash’ – to ignore complaints of child abuse –

With all the “compassion” of Jurat John Le Breton – trying to intimidate child victims of abuse into withdrawing their complaints – by humiliating them in front of their parents –

With all the “decency” of the Dean, openly forbidding his clergy to offer support to abuse victims – and protecting an abusing church warden couple –

With all the “kindness” of a traditional Catholic battering from Mrs. Bonner –

With all the “consideration” of a deliberately detached glucose drip – with a bung inserted in the end –

The survivors struck-back.

Today Michael Birt – former Jersey Attorney General – was sworn-in as the replacement ‘Bailiff’ – the hopelessly conflicted post of head of judiciary, and speaker of the island’s parliament.

“Politeness – uber alles” – may as well be the motto of the Jersey oligarchy.

To quote John Bale, “Though it be a foul lie; set it a good face.”

No matter what wretched atrocities are committed – and tolerated – and pro-actively hidden – by Jersey’s “Great And Good” – it simply isn’t “The Jersey Way” to speak the truth about them.

So – no matter the betrayed children – the destroyed lives – the suicides – the human wreckage – the perversions of justice – the massed-ranks of Jersey’s “polite” gradually accreted upon the States building this morning – to engage in a orgiastic ceremony of Groupthink – by which they attempted to deflect reality by wearing fancy-dress – and parading to impress the peasants and the plebs.

About 15 of us gathered in the Royal Square to begin some small protest against both Birt as an individual, and against the stagnant and defective “justice” apparatus in Jersey. And as the “polite” gradually arrived the smugness was palpable. Many of the lawyers in particular openly laughed at the survivors as they filtered into the building.

But we proles well and truly rained on their parade.

Our protest was so strong – heartfelt – and loud – that it was audible throughout the building during their delusory exercise in self-congratulation.

But such vulgarity hasn’t – hitherto – happened in Jersey during these “great” events. The expected procedure is for the adoring masses to turn-out and tug their forelocks in deference to their social “superiors”.

The culture-shock was palpable.

Eventually – realising we weren’t going to go away – the assembled “dignitaries” – amongst their number, lawyers, politicians, judiciary, jurats, estate agents and journalists – blinking and wide-eyed with shock – exited the building in preparation for their parade to the Town Church – where they’d hear a sermon – to the effect of how wonderful they all were – and what a load of scummy rabble we were – from Bob Key.

And as this toxic amalgam spewed forth like some vast, advancing slime-mould I was struck by the sense we were witnessing a step-change – a tipping-point – in Jersey political culture.

I looked across the assembled faces and just couldn’t help noticing that so much of the hauteur, the contempt, the confidence, the sense of invulnerability as displayed as they entered the building – had drained away.

Though a number of them tried to put on a brave face – rictus grins – and embarrassed attempts to applaud Birt and his entourage – one got the strong impression that even these entrenched oligarchs may have finally – in the year 2009 – caught their first glimpses of advancing reality.

Our chanting, whistles, drumming on the bins – was more than thunder.

It was something more than rain which fell on their parade.

Though they’ll have been toasting one another with Champaign and wine all day – in an effort to blot-out our vulgar intrusion into their fantasies – it will be more than a bad dream when they’re sober.

Today – after more than eight hundred years of unopposed and abused power – the culture of deference was finally put to the sword.

As far as Jersey’s oligarchy are concerned – it is, metaphorically, “nothing but woe-begotten grey skies now.”

For the rest of us – it’s a bright new dawn.

Today – people who have been powerless, ignored, abused, regarded as irrelevant and betrayed by the States of Jersey – struck at the heart of the posturing plastic fakery of the island’s power-apparatus.

And did so with all the subtlety of a Lenny Harper memo – or the tact and diplomacy of a Stuart Syvret e-mail.

As a formerly powerless abuse survivor remarked to me at the end of the protest –

“God – that was good.”

Stuart.

WILLIAM BAILHACHE’S PROSECUTION SERVICE:

KEEPING JERSEY’S OLIGARCHY SAFE.

Stuart Syvret to be Arrested and Charged

For Publishing the Truth.

Eleven Child Rapists and Batterers

To be let-off.

Just a very brief posting – and sadly it might be my last for some time – as I have just learnt that I’m required at Police Headquarters at 5.00 pm this afternoon where I will be arrested and charged with supposed breaches of the Data Protection Law.

I don’t know if I’ll receive unconditional bail – if not, they’ll keep in the slammer overnight – if not longer.

I’m going to try and get there around 4.50 to speak to some of the media if you feel like coming along to watch.

Just to place my supposed gross criminality in context – I’m going to be arrested and charged – one day after Bill Bailhache – Jersey’s Attorney General – announces – without apparent embarrassment – that 11 of the accused child rapists, child batterers and concealers of child abuse are not to be charged and the cases against them dropped.

And to think – some people still labour under the delusion that the administration of justice and proper rule of law actually works in Jersey.

Though, having said that – you just couldn’t pay for stupidity of this grade.

Ironically – as far as I’m aware – as the police have never given me formal notification of any change in circumstances – Bill Bailhache, Emma Martins, Bill Ogley – and a number of similar Jersey oligarchs, remain under criminal investigation for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and misconduct in a public office.

Oh well – pretty handy I guess – being in charge of prosecution decisions – when you’re under investigation.

Right – now what I need are two States members who will go and have a private, secret meeting with Bill Bailhache – and ask him to drop the charges – and there you go!

Sorted.

I mean, if it’s good enough for Roy Boschat to get away with bribing cops – following Deputy Egre and Senator Ferguson going to ask Bailhache to let him off – then it’s good enough for me.

Remember – we’re all equal before the law!

Let me leave you with this observation, made by Harry S. Truman:

“My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse – or a politician. And to tell the truth – there’s hardly any difference.”

I’m just going outside now. I may be some time.

Stuart.

JERSEY ABUSE SURVIVORS BETRAYED

AGAIN.

Historic Abuse Investigation

To be Ended.

Once Again the Survivors

Are the Last to Know.

Just a very, very brief posting – as my time has been – and will be – today consumed with speaking to Jersey abuse survivors – and trying to think of some positive words that can be said.

Said in the face of the stark, brutalising – yet inevitable fact that the Jersey oligarchy has done it once again.

Misused and abused their monopoly of power – in order to protect themselves – and betray the weak.

The historic abuse inquiry is to be formally announced as “over” – by Gradwell, Warcup and their puppet-master, Bill Bailhache.

Many victims of abuse – and many other people who have made formal complaints to the police – like me, for example – have not even had the vague courtesy of being kept-in-the-loop.

Survivors out there have been labouring under the delusion that the crimes committed against them were still under investigation – that the still living people who abused them – and those who concealed that abuse – were going to face justice.

Instead – as was easily gauged from the ethical and intellectual bankruptcy of Warcup and Gradwell – as evinced in their wholly unprecedented PR, spin-doctored press-conference – in which they did their best to trash all of the prior police work – they’ve decided that it can all be wrapped-up now.

These two men have plainly thrown aside whatever professional and intellectual credibility they may have once possessed – back in the distant, early years of their careers.

I doubt very much whatever paltry reward they’ve received – for becoming a part of the cover-up apparatus – approaches adequate compensation for having destroyed their souls – and reputations.

Because know this – the memory of this horrifying, decades-old history of foul and monstrous abuse – and the memory of those who contributed to the concealing of that abuse – is not going away; will never be hidden – will never be forgotten about.

So this is not the end.

On the contrary – we live in the 21st century – when those who were weak have now become strong.

The war simply moves into its next phase.

The abusers, those who have failed to prevent that abuse, those who have concealed that abuse, those who have contributed to the barbarism and criminality of the suppression of the truth – are going to be beaten.

Even those who have latterly joined them – like Mick and Dave.

This issue has not gone away.

It will never – ever – go away.

Those who have failed to do their duties in properly enforcing the law – and properly enforcing justice – know this.

Henceforth – you – each and everyone of you – will live the rest of your lives looking over your shoulders – for the approaching hand of justice.

One day – you will be in the dock – standing along side the child abusers you’ve supported and concealed.

It may take two – or five – or ten years – but this conspiracy by the powerful and wealthy against the week and vulnerable will be exposed – and it will be beaten.

There is no hiding place.

There is no rest.

Those who have participated in the betrayal of the survivors during the last two years – are now in the same team as child rapists, psychotic torturers, murderers and abusers.

One day – justice will catch up with you.

Stuart.

JUSTICE FOR JERSEY

Access to real justice for everyone.

Time to let your voice be heard

A PUBLIC PROTEST
SATURDAY 4TH JULY
12.00 NOON
PEOPLES PARK

Have you ever been let down by Jersey lawyers?

Charged too much – for incompetent service?

Have you ever had to call upon legal aid – only to find the standard of representation provided to you abysmal?

Have you been the victim of a crime – only to find the standards of Jersey’s prosecution service hopeless?

Have you had to go to court in civil proceedings – and found the standard of the judging to be atrocious?

Do you feel you’ve been failed by the Family Division of Jersey’s courts?

Have you ever got the feeling that those who are “well-connected” have received favourable legal treatment?

Do you ever get the impression that the administration of justice in Jersey is contaminated by politics?

Do you believe that we should be protected by a genuinely objective and impartial judiciary – that has no unhealthy overlap with the States?

Do you believe that the people of Jersey should be able to access an effective and properly funded legal aid system?

Do you believe that the good administration of justice has to be a fundamental feature of any civilised society?

IF YOUR ANSWER TO ANY OF THE QUESTIONS ABOVE IS “YES” – THEN COME AND JOIN THE PUBLIC PROTEST

SATURDAY 4TH JULY
12.00 NOON
PEOPLE’S PARK.

Many people will have been dismayed at the failures of Jersey’s prosecution system and its courts to bring child abusers to face justice.

The well-connected – the wealthy – and the powerful seem to get away with their crimes – and their failures to do their duty in protecting children – whilst the victims of these terrible crimes are marginalised and ignored.

It was these considerations which originally motivated the organisers of this public protest movement.

But the more we have explored the issues – the clearer it has become to us that the entire administration of justice in Jersey is hopelessly defective – in many different ways.

It isn’t only abuse survivors who have been failed and betrayed by the Jersey judicial system; people from all walks of life have been let down – in many different ways – time and again.

So whilst initiated by child protection failures, the protest which will be taking place this Saturday will be expressing much broader concerns.

A cross-section of our community will be launching a campaign for genuine, affordable, objective and accessible justice – justice for all – not only the well-connected and the wealthy.

A Protest for Justice on Saturday 4th July 2009 had been planed on behalf of victims of child abuse – both past and present. This protest was in response to the Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute former States employees against whom there is overwhelming evidence that they were responsible for child abuse.

The failure to prosecute has come as a great blow to the victims who will now never see justice. We cannot accept the Attorney General taking to himself the powers to be judge and jury – as well as prosecutor. We believe that it is in the public’s interest that the guilt or innocence of an accused person should be decided by an impartial court – not one person, such as the Attorney General, making the decision – behind closed doors – in his office.

But as we have learned more, spoken with other people, examined the issues in greater detail, and shared experiences – we have come to the conclusion that the administration of justice in Jersey – as presently structured and run – has far greater failings than those which are apparent in the child protection issues.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the entire administration of justice in Jersey is defective.

Which is why we have decided that the protest this Saturday will be the beginning of a campaign for the good, affordable and objective administration of justice in Jersey.

Justice for all.

We invite anyone who has personal experiences of the inadequacies of justice in Jersey – in whatever context – to join us this Saturday – where we will begin a campaign for the fair, affordable and impartial rule of law.

We will march to the Royal Square, where one of the protest organisers, Carrie Modral, will address the gathering.

Also saying a few words will be Senator Stuart Syvret – who fully supports our campaign.

SATURDAY, 4TH JULY
12.00 NOON.
PEOPLE’S PARK TO ROYAL SQUARE

PLEASE JOIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE.