A Long Climb Begins.
In my youth, I used to climb mountains. Admittedly, it’s been some years since I awoke at 1.00 am – and meticulously armoured myself with the appropriate layers of clothing, plastic boots, crampons and equipment, grasped the ice-axes, switched on the head-torch – and set out into the minus 20 degrees darkness with a view to summiting in time for the sunrise.
I do want to take up climbing again. As I wrote in a blog post last year – it seems the ideal mid-life crises activity.
Well, it was either that – or acquiring a 170 horsepower motorcycle.
But the more hideous scars that pock-mark my body like a kind of memory made flesh, come from impacting against cars and various bits of street furniture at – err – possibly unlawful speeds. My lower left leg looks like someone’s taken a shotgun to it.
So, as attractive as the thought is – of getting something like a Triumph Speed-Triple – and doing two-mile wheelies along Victoria Avenue whilst listening to Motorcycle Emptiness on the iPod – I think avalanches, hypothermia and getting struck by lightning are probably the safer options.
Not to mention, of course, the fact I could do without yet more attentions from my law enforcement friends. Not that I’m advocating irresponsible road activity, you understand – it’s just that large, powerful motorcycles can inadvertently get out of control.
And, getting back into climbing has another profound advantage – in that it would require me to get fit – lose a stack of weight, build up my stamina and attempt to regain some upper-body strength.
Climbing is a bit like boxing in that respect – the more intensely you do it, and the fitter you get – the closer one comes to getting acquainted with death.
There’s also a great advantage to Jersey tax-payers in that my proposed mid-life crisis won’t be claimable on expenses – unlike Pollard’s guitar lessons.
But – back to mundane reality – I’m overweight, unfit, broke – and my time is totally consumed by having to fight several wars on various fronts.
Yet in today’s battles I can draw strength from my experiences with mountains – remembering the absolute focus and determination required. So whilst being a politician for the time being has reduced me to physical wreckage – I can embrace my present wars as a metaphor – a virtual mountain ascent – requiring the same commitment.
So – today, after the inevitable inertia – the oligarchy began their attempted prosecution of me. Metaphorically, for me – the first step on my bid for the summit.
Will I get there? Won’t I make it, and have to retreat? Shall I metaphorically ‘perish’ in the attempt?
I just don’t know. But like making an attempt on a mountain – I’m going to try, regardless.
What passes for a prosecution system in Jersey has determined that they need to cast aside and abandon such cases as those against child rapists – and those who have criminally concealed such foulness – and, instead must devote their time and resources to pursuing the really monstrous threats to society.
Like me – for allegedly forgetting to renew my driving licence and not registering a change of address.
Well – we’re all equal before the law. I, therefore, want to secure for myself the same rights as all people in Western Europe enjoy – particularly the right to a fair trial.
So that is the distant peak which I seek. One can occasionally capture a distant glimpse of it – beneath a lowering wretched sky – in brief moments when the clouds part. It is many miles away – with foot-hills, moraine, glaciers, bergschrunds, avalanche-zones and formidable rock-faces standing between my first step – and that distant summit.
A fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal.
Regular readers of this blog will recognise just what a desperate landscape stands between here and that established right.
Some people may wonder why I’m mounting such resistance in respect of what are, comparatively trivial alleged offences?
Because unless someone takes a stand against the manifestly incompetent, politicised farrago that is the administration of “justice” in Jersey – serious injustices will continue to be inflicted on other people.
I recently wrote about a young constituent of mine – a victim of institutionalised child abuse – torture, basically – at the hands of the States of Jersey.
He got sentenced to 3 years for dealing a bit of ecstasy.
The same judge – two weeks later – sentenced a well-connected local businessman to 270 hours community service – for conspiracy to import over £20,000 worth of cocaine.
That’s 270 hours community service – as opposed to the sentence the Crown was seeking – of 10 years in jail.
Another, more recent example of the ministrations of Jersey’s courts is to be seen in the sentencing of the JDA 2. These two non-oligarchy States members got prosecuted – for such heinous offences as helping a disabled British ex-serviceman to apply for a postal vote.
The sentence? A total of £12,000 in fines.
Those are just a few of the, frankly barking mad, extremist, politicisations, biases and incompetencies of Jersey’s banana-republic style judicial apparatus.
I don’t believe such a festering and invulnerable system can remain unchallenged if we want genuine, objective and impartial justice – applied equally to all – regardless of social standing or political views.
The Jersey oligarchy – having decided they want to rub my face in it – maximally persecute me for the heinous alleged crime of forgetting to renew my driving licence – have presented me with all the opportunity I needed to challenge the stagnant and festering shambles that passes for the administration of justice in Jersey.
That challenge began today with the first court appearance.
I won’t go into great detail in this posting – as I’ll keep you informed at each stage of the process – a long process, undoubtedly.
Suffice it to say that my first pleading to the court today was a recusal application. This is when a party to a court action argues that the judge, or some other component of the judicial apparatus involved in the case, is either actually biased – or runs the risk of appearing to be biased. In that case – the applicant asks that they ‘recuse’ themselves and step down.
Naturally – my recusal application was rejected – and equally naturally – I’m appealing that decision.
There was one amusing moment in the exchanges – when the magistrate in question – one Bridget Shaw – asked me to agree that I wasn’t objecting to her as an individual – rather my objection was to the Jersey court as an entity?
I replied that, actually, as it happened, yes – I was objecting to her personally, as well as generally objecting to the Jersey apparatus.
It just so happened that one of the items of evidence I had in support of my recusal application was one of Phil Bailhache’s many Political speeches.
Can we guess which one?
It was a Political speech he gave on the 30th June 2008 – in court – at the swearing-in of a new magistrate.
This is an extract of what he said on that occasion – and which I quoted in court today:
“You take up your post at a time when the judiciary and those in public office in the Island are, for better or for worse, under greater scrutiny than has been the case for some time. No-one can object, of course, to holding individual members of the judiciary to account for their judicial conduct or indeed for their conduct outside the court room. Indeed you have become, by virtue of your office, a member of the Jersey Judicial Association which last year adopted a Code of Ethics and Conduct setting out quite clearly what is expected of judges and magistrates in this Island. But wholesale attacks upon the judiciary and suggestions that they are collectively incapable of dealing with any outcomes of the current child abuse inquiry are ignorant and unwelcome, and I deplore them. Senior politicians, should know better than to attempt to subvert public confidence in our judicial institutions in pursuit of a personal agenda.”
Now – can we guess just who is the “deplorable senior politician” – who has had the temerity to make, supposedly, “ignorant and unwelcome” criticisms of Jersey’s judiciary?
That’s right – me.
Can we now guess which magistrate was being sworn-in on this occasion – and being subjected to this contaminating Political assertion from her boss?
This just isn’t difficult – is it?
At the conclusion of my recusal application, she adjourned for around 15 minutes to consider the pleading – and insisted on taking my human rights law-book with her.
Don’t the courts and the judges have these things readily available as a matter of course?
The fact she had to take the work on the relevant authorities from the defendant before being able to make her judgment would hardly lead one to feel imbued with confidence in the administration of justice in Jersey – even if one didn’t regard it with contempt already.
As I said – I’m appealing her refusal to recuse.
And when I come before the higher court – I’ll be making exactly the same recusal application in respect of them.
And when that application is rejected – again, a recusal application will be made before the court of appeal; a court appointed by – Phil Bailhache.
On and on – towards that metaphorical summit – the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg.
It is a long, strenuous and challenging route – but as with trying to climb a mountain – the metaphysical and existential journey is a reward in itself.
I’ll keep you up-dated.