Are You an Off-Shore Client of Jersey?
Do Your Private Financial Affairs
Go Through Institutions Here?
Would you prefer that law-enforcement agencies didn’t take too close a look at the minutia of your taxation and financial arrangements?
Then it’s time to change jurisdictions.
As readers will have gathered, recent days have been spent in a very close analysis of various laws, such as the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence (Jersey) Law 2003.
It is that law which Bill Bailhache and his Police Force relied upon in arresting me, circumventing the established requirements to obtain search warrants, so they could ransack our home and steal a great deal of private information concerning my constituents.
Bailhache has, so far, made two assertions in relation to this case, namely that he “didn’t know about the Police action and wasn’t involved” – and in response to an e-mail from me – that in any event, “the action was lawful”.
Both of these assertions are manifestly complete rubbish and, frankly, an insult to the intelligence of the average person.
We’re supposed to believe that a massed Police raid on a senior member of the island’s parliament, the tenuous and desperate gamble of relying on the PPCE law, the total failure to obtain a search warrant, the arrest, and detention for 7 hours, of an opposition MP, the ransacking of the home he shares with another member of the Jersey parliament – and the theft of copious amounts of private, constituents’ material – was conducted on some random whim of the Police?
You’re reasonably intelligent, right?
Contemplate yourself – considering the magnitude, consequences and fall-out of such actions before they were undertaken.
What conclusion do you come to?
That such actions will have to be undertaken – can only be undertaken – with full knowledge, authorisation and co-operation from the very highest levels of Jersey’s corrupt and ethically bankrupt prosecution and judicial system.
Of itself, the very fact that they took the extreme risk of not obtaining a search warrant, shows that it was a political action, undertaken at the whim of the Bailhache Brothers. Obviously, if our police force felt the need to raid me, and pausing their more usual activities, such as beating up intoxicated children, taking bribes, and ensuring that child abusers don’t get charged – they’d have followed procedure and sought a warrant.
There is plainly a reason why no warrant was used – namely that the Bailhache Brothers and the rest of the crooks considered that it might add yet further evidence to the contention that the administration of justice in Jersey is broken and non-functional, if they or a Jurat granted a warrant – given they are all conflicted from any case involving me.
The oligarchs followed a chain of “reasoning” spectacularly disastrous in its ineptitude.
And explaining just why the criminal action against me is so potentially catastrophic will be my chief subject for today.
But before moving onto that subject, let us – in related considerations – just finish our contemplation of Bill Bailhache.
Certain facts are obvious and immutable.
The illegal raid had been contemplated and planned for a long time.
The particular moment of last Monday was very carefully chosen for several reasons.
The Police have obviously been wire-tapping the phones, and hacking the e-mails of my partner and I. These actions will have to have been authorised by Phil, Birt, Bill or his factotum, or other members of our totally conflicted judiciary.
They knew my partner would be away with her children, thus reducing the controversy from that which it would have been, had they raided and turned over the home with her and the children present.
They also knew the outraged reaction to this police-state stunt would be somewhat reduced because the Easter holidays having just begun, a lot of islanders would be away on holiday.
And – quite plainly – they had to choose a time which coincided with a period when the House of Commons wasn’t sitting – thus hoping to avoid the fall-out of the inevitable Early Day Motions. But those will still happen, of course.
The careful, political plotting which went into the criminal, banana republic type raid and search is glaringly obvious to anyone with a reasonable degree of intelligence.
Although at least two thirds of the island’s lawyers are terrified of the prospect of Barking Bill becoming a judge, some people used to regard him as possessing an elevated degree of intelligence – at least in comparison to his brother, Phil, who possesses the IQ of an artichoke. So we aren’t speaking of a particularly high benchmark here.
But even though most of Jersey’s lawyers, accountants, bankers and so-forth hate me – many of the more intelligent ones can see the risks and jeopardies which their businesses are confronted with as a result of having faintly deranged, politically motivated clowns in charge of Jersey’s prosecution and judicial apparatus.
As I’ve remarked previously, I speak with some lawyers, bankers and accountants, who don’t share my political views. But many cannot help themselves expressing to me what a total, bloody nightmare it is for them and Jersey’s finance industry in having such deeply eccentric and politicised individuals in charge of the island’s judicial systems.
Reputation is everything. And Jersey’s attempt to fend-off external attacks, pressure and competition have been largely based upon the notion that “we are a respectable society – unlike some of our banana republic off-shore competitors. You can come and do business with us, secure in the knowledge that your affairs will be properly protected by the effective rule of law.”
Bearing that ‘sales-pitch’ in mind, a banker who cheerfully tells me he would never vote for me, told me a couple of days ago, ‘not two weeks pass without the Bailhache Brothers, or some other senior establishment figures, making me cringe.’
And recent events have trained him sufficiently to be a serious competitor in a gurning competition.
Because he – and a silent, but terrified, majority of his money-men colleagues – contemplate the misapplication and abuse of the PPCE law, as used against me, and envisage the smoking ruins of their industry and livelihoods.
For what was so disastrous in the unlawful action taken against me on Monday – is the effective destruction of all the traditional safeguards and checks and balances involved in requiring the Police to obtain a search warrant from higher authorities.
Let us speak plainly; Jersey’s economy is, to all practical purposes, utterly dependent upon the off-shore finance industry.
And, yes, yes, we’re a legitimate and respectable finance centre.
But let us be honest – rare indeed will be the Jersey finance industry business that could declare, with absolute certainty, that they had no clients at all who the taxation and law-enforcement agencies of many other jurisdictions and – in this age of international regulatory agreements – the local Police, would not have a certain interest in.
Of course, I’m sure all our clients are perfectly legitimate and law-abiding and are, in no way, rampantly breaking the taxation laws of their respective countries.
But – we know, don’t we, just how mischievous and excessive the Police Force can be – especially when driven by increasingly empowered and over-zealous officials in places like the USA, Germany, France – etc, etc.
We know just how much they would love to be able to embark upon raids, searches and data seizures by way of ‘fishing-expeditions’.
But of course – Jersey, and its off-shore clients – are protected from such invasive and embarrassing actions through the traditional and strict requirement for the Police to obtain search warrants before undertaking any such raid.
If the events of last Monday were in any way faintly legitimate – suddenly the Jersey law enforcement apparatus has divested itself of all that terribly tiresome business of having to seek and justify obtaining a search warrant.
Imagine – you have some zealous cops in the leadership of the local force; their mates in UK Special Branch, or the FBI from over the Pond, decide that clients X, Y, Z might have been breaking their tax-laws by using Jersey’s finance industry. They have reason to believe that criminal activities may have been committed in the offices of Big World Bank Ltd, or Grifters International Charted Accountants LLP, or Legislature For Hire Advocates of Grenville Street.
These unreasonable law enforcement officers want to go on a ‘fishing-expedition’ – to dig out every little personal detail of the clients’ financial affairs. Before last Monday, in Jersey any such raid and seizure of computers and other records would have had to satisfy the high, procedural hurdle of going before the relevant authorities to obtain a search warrant.
But after the events of last Monday, consider: – the cops wish to raid your offices – and seize all the records of your USA clients; they don’t think they’d get a search warrant – so they wait for you to step out of the building – problem solved.
You have now been arrested just outside your offices, on suspicion of helping your clients to break the law. The cops have “reasonable grounds” for believing that evidence of that alleged crime is in the building you have just left.
They are now at perfect liberty to ransack the entire building, remove all computers and files – and then trawl through the minutiae of each of your clients’ affairs.
Puts a rather different perspective on the security and confidentiality of Jersey’s off-shore finance sector – doesn’t it?
If I were an overseas client whose financial affairs were transacted in Jersey – I would be on the phone – this very instant – ordering the immediate transfer of all my business affairs and any associated records out of Jersey – and into a jurisdiction with effective checks and balances.
So now, bankers, accountants and lawyers are frightened; their clients are frightened.
No safeguards against random abuses of police power to search premises and remove “evidence”? No absolute requirement to obtain a search warrant?!?
So, you rush, in a cold sweat and wide-eyed, to grab a copy of the PPCE law – and feverishly thumb through it until you alight upon, say, Part 3, Powers of Entry, Search and Seizure.
Phew! – Panic over. Lots of good, solid, safeguards there, in Articles 15 to 18.
But hold on. You read and re-read Articles 19 and 20 – and suddenly it all gets very nebulous again. You can’t help but run through your mind various circumstances in which the police could contrive to use these Articles to carry out a search and seize of your premises.
Quickly flick back to Part 1, Interpretation, and Articles 3, 4, 5 & 6. Surely these paragraphs must protect your data base of tax-efficiency seeking clients? And on the face of it, the definitions of ‘serious offence’, ‘prohibited article’, ‘items subject to legal privilege’, ‘excluded material’, ‘special procedure material’ and journalistic material, do appear to place some pretty robust protection around certain types of sensitive information.
So what’s all the fuss about, then, you say, turning to Article 29 – the provision relied upon by Barking Bill and his storm-troopers to arrest me and search my home. At first glance, Article 29 does appear to grant those powers to the police.
But read Article 29 very closely – and try and find where it incorporates the safeguards to protect certain information as described in the Interpretation of Articles 3 – 6? There is no reference to these safeguards.
So if the police wished to raid and search your business premises – using the device of Article 29 – all of that private, client data, excluded material, legally privileged information, journalistic information etc, can be seized and taken by them – in utter disregard of any protections available to you and your clients.
You might think, ‘that can’t be so, surely? The raid on Syvret didn’t involve the taking of that type of protected data?’
Oh yes it did.
Lots of it. Vast quantities of information supplied to me in confidence by my constituents. Information gathered in connection with my work as a Senator.
At a stroke, the police utterly circumvented all the well-established legal requirements to obtain a search warrant – and circumvented the additional protections afforded to certain kinds of sensitive data.
In the comically implausible statement issued by Bill Bailhache this week – in which he denied any knowledge of the raid – he made this fascinating comment:
“Everyone is equal before the law, and Senator Syvret is no different from the rest of us.”
Indeed. And that being the case, the law as applied and used against me last Monday must also apply to any person or business, as long as the cops can contrive similar circumstances. Not a remotely difficult thing to do.
But that does assume, of course, that the action taken against me and my constituents was lawful.
I, and those advising me, do not think it was a lawful action. But of course, the oligarchy do.
So – what’s it to be then?
You see – no matter which way you cut it – the Jersey oligarchy now has an epic nightmare on its hands.
Either – the actions taken against me last Monday were unlawful – in which case Jersey has a prosecution system, judiciary and police force, entirely out of control and conducting itself with reckless lawlessness – even to the extent of interfering with politicians and their constituents’ private information.
A breakdown in the rule of law and good governance.
Or – as Barking Bill would have us believe – the action taken against me was lawful.
In which case Article 29 of the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence Law can now be used to raid and ransack any offices, homes or other premises in which the police “have reasonable grounds for believing that there is evidence on the premises” – entirely without a search warrant – through the simple expedient of waiting outside the door of, say, that accountancy firm you run, and arresting you.
The Jersey oligarchy cannot have it both ways.
Either the action taken against me and my constituents under Article 29 was criminal, of itself.
Or it was lawful – and Article 29 can therefore be used to arrest and search the premises of anyone – any place – anytime.
Personally, I can see we’ve taken a large stride down the path towards a lawless state following the events of last Monday.
But such considerations would not usually matter to the money-men, many of whom will think that if a law is abused and applied against uppity plebs, well, what’s the problem with that?
But I would strongly advise them to think about the implications of what has happened – and be afraid.
Be very afraid.
To reduce that famous slogan of the International Brigades down to a level which might just chime with those of influence in Jersey: –
“If you tolerate this – your banking clients will be next.”