The Administration of “Justice” in Jersey:
How it Works.
In my last, brief posting, I suggested several topics I might examine in the coming days. Three of those subjects are so closely related in their overlapping iterative causality, that I was tempted to deal with them all in one post; the three topics being –
The prosecution of two non-oligarchy members of the Jersey legislature.
Governmental reform in Jersey.
And ‘Groupthink’ as a psychological explanation for the stupidity, ignorance and folly we observe so frequently manifested by Jersey’s public administration.
But, I shall confine myself to the first of these three subjects; let us consider the prosecution of Deputies Geoff Southern and Shona Pitman.
Elections in Jersey occur in two phases; the last elections having taken place in October and November 2008.
The Jersey oligarchy has for many decades – centuries even – carefully inculcated a cultural hostility to the concept of organised politics. Indeed, so heavily propagandised are the Jersey population into believing that political parties would be the harbingers of anarchy and chaos – that even today the average Jersey voter regards political parties with suspicion.
The thinking reader will understand immediately both the motivation for, and consequences of, the anti-organised politics doctrine of the Jersey establishment.
Jersey has been a self-governing jurisdiction for over 800 years. Throughout that entire period, there has not been an occasion when the traditional ruling elites of the day did not have control over the island. Some might say that the Nazi Occupation during WWII represents the sole time when the Jersey oligarchy didn’t have control. Yes – but, frankly, even then things seemed to rub along quite nicely for the local oligarchy who remained comfortably in power before, during and after the Nazi Occupation.
As Norman Le Brocq pointed out to me – the Channel Islands being the only jurisdictions to be fully occupied by the Nazis throughout all of Europe in which the collaborative local leaders remained comfortably in power after occupation – rather than being subjected to a much-deserved purge. And I’ll mention at this point, the Guiton Group – the Jersey company that owned the island’s only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post. The Rag spent the occupation years cheerfully and profitably churning out Nazi propaganda. The relevance of this point? Wheels within wheels. The Jersey Way. I’ll explain the connections later.
The Jersey establishment’s remarkable – and unique – capacity for survival, post-Nazis, should speak volumes to you in respect of just how entrenched our oligarchy is.
Effectively and functionally, Jersey is a de facto single-party state.
And the covert Jersey Establishment Party want to damn well make sure it stays that way. By pretending to not be a political party – and fostering the suspicion of organised politics – the island’s oligarchy are never opposed by an organised opposition.
There have, from time-to-time, been attempts to establish political parties, but such is the hostility towards such organisations by the oligarchy and its media, that the nascent parties always struggle. Nevertheless – we have one non-establishment political party presently operating in the island; the Jersey Democratic Alliance.
And to the undisguised terror of the oligarchy, they haven’t faded away. In the last elections they fielded 5 candidates – four of who were successful.
You won’t be surprised to discover that the two Deputies prosecuted are JDA members.
And if you’re familiar with what passes for ‘democracy’ in Jersey – you’ll be even less surprised to learn that the clause under which they were prosecuted was – quite extraordinarily – rushed into place – halfway through the elections – for the sole and express purpose of obstructing the JDA and other candidates who may draw on working class support.
This mind-boggling assault upon the basics of democracy was a desperate and panicked attempt at gerrymandering the Jersey elections by minimising the already very low voter turn-out in working-class areas – and obstructing efforts by non-establishment candidates to enfranchise voters by helping them register to vote.
The Jersey oligarchy thought, “We have a problem here. These JDA types are working hard to try and increase voter participation in working-class areas. Oh dear – we can’t have that! More damn proles in the chamber!! Don’t worry – we’ll simply make it a criminal offence for candidates or their team to assist voters to even apply for a postal vote. That’ll sort them out!”
The crypto-fascistic law failed in its prime objective – namely keeping working-class votes down to a sufficiently low degree to prevent pleb representatives from getting elected.
However, it fulfilled its secondary function in enabling the Stalinist show-trial of two JDA Deputies – and the consequent peddling of lies and propaganda against them to the effect that they had, somehow, engaged in ballot fraud.
The “offence” committed by the two Deputies was, in fact, to assist people in their district to apply for a postal vote. Just that.
Nothing to do with actual ballots – just enabling the elderly, the infirm, over-worked parents, and those who don’t have English as a first language – to apply to be able to cast their vote by post.
Voter turn-out in Jersey is extremely low – especially in the densely populated working-class areas. It is these districts which also have the highest densities of elderly, the infirm, those whose work demands make it difficult for them to go to a polling station and those who are not native English speakers.
The Jersey oligarchy frequently pays lip-service to the need to increase voter participation. But yet – when it comes to people making an effort to enable the otherwise disenfranchised to vote – suddenly it’s a terrible menace.
‘Yes’, say the Jersey establishment, ‘we want more people to vote – but they’ve got to be the ‘right kind’ of people – not these dreadful stroppy oiks – who might want the rich in Jersey to start shouldering a proportionate part of the tax burden.’
So – the Jersey oligarchy – in all its shameless ignorance, arrogance and inadequacy – rushed in – half-way through the elections – a law so brazenly anti-democratic as to have no known equivalent in any Commonwealth country.
And – it is not as though the madness stopped there.
It is widely known that at least four other candidates faced prima facie allegations of having broken the Elections Law, and at least two of these involved the same “offence” as that for which the two JDA Deputies were prosecuted.
How many of those four were charged?
Of the six candidates known to have credible allegations against them of breaking the Elections Law – only the two JDA members were prosecuted.
And – you’ll like this – the cops and Bill Bailhache even tried to stick the offences of one of these four others onto the rap-sheet against Deputy Southern. How’s that for the “rule of law”!
Shall we just remind ourselves of who runs Jersey’s prosecution service?
The Attorney General, William Bailhache.
The self-same oligarchy lynch-pin – who is terribly fond of bellowing “every one is equal before the law!” – but then goes on to rather spoil his case by only applying the law against uppity plebs – like the JDA members in the case of the Election Law, or me, in the case of alleged breaches of the Data Protection law.
We – it seems – must bear the full weight of Bill Bailhache’s – in-no-way-Political – decisions on prosecutions.
Meanwhile oligarchy politicians can routinely breach data protection laws, the election laws – and even take kick-backs for supporting land development proposals – with, apparent, immunity from the law.
And as for child abusers – forget it! Extradite child abusers from France back to Jersey? No chance – “not in the public interest”.
Child rapists now living in England? “Oh dear – we just couldn’t have them returned here and face trial – just think of all the bad publicity!”
No – instead, the law in all its Majesty in Jersey prefers only to prosecute these two non-establishment, working class candidates – and fine them the, frankly, insane sum of a total of £12,000.
That’s £12,000 – for doing things such as provide welcome assistance to a British ex-serviceman who would not otherwise have been able to vote.
The gentleman in question even wrote a statement to the court in mitigation for the accused Deputies – which I reproduce here, with his name removed.
“18th May 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
I, [name excised] would like to make the following statement in support of Deputy Shona Pitman’s court case, regarding her breach of the public Elections law.
I can confirm, as I did reluctantly with the Police, that Deputy Shona Pitman visited my home on the 2nd of November last year during the Deputies elections. Upon opening the door to the Deputy, I told her that I could not vote because I was going to be away on Election Day. She replied saying that I could vote by post and handed me an application form to fill in so that I could do this. However, I explained that I have restricted use of the hand that I write with and asked if she would fill it in for me. So the Deputy did so, and when she’d finished she went through the form with me to check everything was OK and I signed it.
The problem with my hand is that it has trapped nerves so I have great difficulty in writing with it. I was very grateful that Deputy Shona Pitman filled in the form, as firstly, I wouldn’t have known that I could vote by post and therefore wouldn’t have voted. Secondly, I don’t know that I would have been able to get someone else to fill the form in because I live by myself, and my family live in the UK and America and I did not know that I could go to the Parish hall to ask someone for assistance.
I was not happy to give a Police statement and felt that the Police questioning, over 3 interviews at my house were intrusive and a bit forceful at times. When I explained to them that I had difficulty writing because of the trapped nerves in my hand and how this happened, they asked me whether or not I could write with the other hand. They seemed to disregard what I had just said and it was none of their business!
Deputy Pitman did not coerce me in filling in the form or in voting for her or any of her colleagues. Had she put pressure on me in anyway, I would not be supporting her court case now. In fact, I was happy to see that she had bothered once again, to take the time to visit me during the elections as other than JDA candidates no other candidate visited me.
As an ex-Honorary Policeman and a veteran Green Jacket with the Special Forces who served my country for 9 years, I can not understand the injustice that the Deputy and her colleague Geoff Southern are being treated with in being taken to court. All she did was to assist somebody who needed some help and if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have known that I could exercise my right to vote and wouldn’t have done it at all. Surely this is a good thing.
Yours truly, [name excised]”
A British ex-serviceman – with a disability – being subjected to three intrusive, aggressive and intimidating police visits – because a candidate helped him to apply for a postal ballot – so he could exercise his democratic right to vote.
You couldn’t make it up.
The average person might imagine that out of sheer embarrassment and shame, the court would have administered some symbolic sentence on the two Deputies – taking into account the extremely powerful mitigation.
For example, the fact that both Deputies immediately pleaded guilty to the offences.
Or that the law in question was manifestly absurd and unworkable.
Or that, as is plain from the record of the debate, the States Assembly didn’t actually have a clue what it was doing.
Or that the law was defective – and rushed into place halfway through the election period.
Or that the law is plainly wholly incompatible with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Instead – fines totalling £12,000 were imposed on the two working class Deputies.
The vast majority of thinking, decent people will be appalled at such excesses.
I – however – was not surprised.
When I heard that one Advocate Julian Clyde-Smith was presiding over the case, as a Commissioner of the Royal Court, I knew exactly what to expect.
He is a production-line, identikit Jersey oligarch; ultra-conservative and as Right-wing as hell.
Indeed – so perfectly does he fit the template, the oligarchy have no-doubt got him lined-up to replace Bill and Phil in due course.
I have personal understanding of Advocate Clyde-Smith’s attitude to administering “appropriate” sentences to troublesome plebs.
He sentenced a 19 year-old constituent of mine to three years in jail for dealing ecstasy.
The boy was a victim of institutionalised abuse carried out against him over a sustained period by the States of Jersey.
This included keeping him locked-up in solitary confinement – at the age of 14 – for two months.
I’ll just state that again.
Solitary confinement – for two months.
Unsurprisingly, one month into this unlawful and abusive imprisonment, he had an emotional breakdown. The response of the States of Jersey was to send a councillor from the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service to ‘speak with him’ – for half-an-hour – once a week.
But, naturally, they still kept him in solitary for another month.
So – following a frankly contemptibly inadequate mitigation pleading from another Jersey Advocate – and the rabid judgment of Julian Clyde-Smith – this child – messed-up by the States of Jersey – got three years.
That case stands out in my mind because of the truly remarkable contrast with another sentencing carried out by Clyde-Smith two weeks later.
A “prominent local businessman” – who was guilty of conspiracy to import a yacht load of cocaine – was sentenced by Clyde-Smith to – wait for it – 270 hours ‘community service’.
Next time you hear the Jersey oligarchy, or their supporters, claim that “everyone is equal before the law”, or that the administration of justice in Jersey works perfectly well – just laugh in their faces.
Don’t let yourselves be taken for fools.
I mentioned earlier the remarkable resilience exhibited by the oligarchies of the Channel Islands – uniquely in occupied Europe – to any consequences or meaningful reform for the shabby conduct of the ruling elites under occupation. And how the Guiton Group, and its ‘newspaper’, the Jersey Evening Post, had carried on churning out Nazi propaganda during the war.
The various scions of the Guiton Group have ended up fabulously wealthy.
People like Frank Harrison Walker – former Chief Minister of Jersey.
And one Sally Le Brocq – nee Harrison – presently 1 of the 12 ‘Jurats’ of Jersey’s Royal Court. Jurats being a form of lay-judge – placed in Office by an electoral college of Jersey lawyers and politicians.
Jersey’s lawyers and politicians – doesn’t that just sound like a recipe for producing a balanced and objective judicial apparatus?
So when Advocate Clyde-Smith – adorned in the faintly comical fancy dress they like to wear to make an ‘impression’ on us plebs – entered the Royal Court to cast down damnation on the two Deputies – he was accompanied by two Jurats.
You know where this is going – don’t you?
Yep – one of the two Jurats was Sally – nee Harrison – Le Brocq. Cousin of Frank Walker – and multi-millionaire scion of the Guiton Group.
Not satisfied with this, frankly, laughable excuse for a judicial process – Clyde-Smith further trampled into the ground the principles of natural justice by constantly and repeatedly interrupting the lawyer who was making a mitigation plea on behalf of the two Deputies – thus ruining the presentation of their case.
“Yes, yes, but they broke the law!” he kept bellowing. An observation which would, perhaps, have been faintly credible – if the law in Jersey was actually applied fairly and impartially – as opposed to being used as a tool to keep the proles in-line.
But some people will take an unforgiving view of law-breaking. They will argue that the laws of the day should be obeyed – especially by politicians – as they make the laws.
Such a view does not withstand scrutiny when contrasted with the history of social change.
Many, many political leaders and reformers and ordinary members of the public have ignored ridiculous legislation. Think of the civil disobedience of the suffragettes – who frequently broke laws in their fight for the rights of women to vote.
Or those who fought against slavery.
What of Nelson Mandela – a great man who broke the laws of South-Africa because those laws were monstrous and disgraceful.
Or Rosa Parks – whose ‘criminal’ action in sitting in the “whites-only” part of the bus did so much to galvanise the civil rights movement in the USA.
The plain fact is that there is a fine and noble tradition of breaking manifestly absurd and unjust laws in acts of non-violent civil disobedience.
Consider the struggles of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King – both men who confronted the laws of the day – ridiculous, contemptible and absurd laws – and stood against them – because the laws were wrong – and the cause of these men had truth and decency on its side.
Just as enabling the poor and disenfranchised to be able to vote is the right and decent thing to do.
I do not know what, if any, further resistance will be undertaken by the two JDA members. All I can do is place myself in their position – which isn’t a fair thing to do, as they, quite rightly, must make their decisions themselves.
But, had it been me charged with these offences, I would, most certainly, appeal the sentence – and take it through the judicial Committee of the Privy Council all the way to Strasbourg if necessary; and I would undertake this resistance in parallel with some of my voters who would have been disenfranchised had I not helped them to apply for a postal vote.
And, at this stage of my career – I wouldn’t pay the fine in any event – and would take the jail sentence.
Just as I will if convicted of any alleged data protection law infractions. As I recently remarked in a comment – frankly, a couple of years in La Moye nick would provide me with ample time to write my memoirs – in addition to the added advantages of being debarred from being a politician – and being able to spend the next couple of years in the company of far fewer liars and crooks than my present occupation requires.