Monday, 14 January 2013

Ask No Questions........

Following the controversial decision of Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, to write a cheque to the tune of £10,000 to enable "Equality of Arms" to the three policemen involved in disciplinary proceedings concerning the bugging of convicted drug dealer Curtis Warren's gang member's car. Deputy Mike Higgins submitted an "urgent question" to be asked in the island's parliament.

For our overseas readers who might not understand how Jersey does "Democracy" it is worth explaining that any questions submitted to the island's parliament by a democratically elected politician has to be vetted and agreed by the Bailiff before they (questions) are "allowed" to be asked.

The Bailiff is unelected Head of the Judiciary and Chief Judge. So before a "democratically" elected member of the legislator can ask a question, in the parliament, it has to be "allowed" by the "unelected" Head of the Judiciary............Democracy a la Jersey.

The three Police Officers, who were severely criticised for their actions by the Supreme Court, faced a "secret" disciplinary Hearing and were cleared of any wrong doing. The Law Officers (judiciary), as a result of the police's disciplinary hearing have now been severely criticised themselves and in particular the Attorney General Tim Le Cocq.

Politicians wishing to ask questions have to submit their questions, no later than, midday on Thursday's before the State Sitting on the following Tuesday. However it was too late to lodge a question surrounding the £10,000 "Equality of Arms" cheque written by the Home Affairs Minister as it wasn't made public until after midday Thursday. So Deputy Higgins lodged what is known as an "urgent question."

The Deputy's question was aimed at Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand, who, prior to being elected, was himself a member of the Judiciary for some thirty years.......(coincidentally!)

The question submitted reads;

"Will the Minister justify to the States his decision to grant £10,000 to the defence of three police officers who were severely criticised for unlawful activity by the Privy Council on the grounds of Equality of Arms whilst denying similar support to the [former] Chief of Police Graham Power in his dispute and the States which fails to provide similar support to Public Servants facing disciplinary hearings"(END)

Regular readers and readers of our PREVIOUS POSTING will be aware that the Former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, was denied "Equality of Arms" by the same Home Affairs Minister.

The "urgent question" was submitted but the Bailiff (Head of Judiciary and unelected Chief Judge) disallowed it and here is his reasoning.

We apply a three-fold test to urgent questions. This question meets the first test in that is a matter of significant public interest and I assume for the moment – although I would need confirmation – that the second test is met, in that the matter has arisen since the deadline for oral questions. However I do not consider that the third aspect is met, namely that the matter is so urgent that it would be inappropriate to expect the member to wait till the next sitting to ask the question. The question can perfectly reasonably be asked at the next meeting. Leave is therefore refused.(END)

This set of events throws up a number of questions, none of which will be asked by the State Media, so is left to Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media).

Firstly we must question the ruling of the unelected Bailiff. "The question can perfectly reasonably be asked at the next meeting." We could argue that the ruling could be levelled at just about "any" urgent question and particularly if the judiciary didn't want it asked and is pretty flimsy considering it is preventing a "democratically" elected member of parliament attempting to hold the executive to account and thus serving the public.

We must then ask, seeing as though the judiciary has been so heavily criticised, as a result of the Police's disciplinary hearing, isn't the Bailiff heavily conflicted as his loyalties could lay with the Judiciary and might want to protect it/them or at least it could be viewed that way?

The over-arching questions are; how can it be in a supposed 21st century "democracy" that the unelected Judiciary have so much power over our "democratically" elected politicians? How many other urgent questions have been blocked by the unelected judiciary? How many written and oral questions have been blocked by the judiciary.......on flimsy grounds? How many propositions/amendments have been blocked by the unelected Judiciary? What impact has this had on our so-called "Democracy?" How can it be said that the politicians (Legislator) are running the island when it is decided by the unelected Judiciary as to what our Elected Members can, and can't ask?




23 comments:

  1. Some well made points in this blog. Well done. If the Minister for Home Affairs authorised defence legal costs capped at £10k in the interests of 'equality of arms' then can we assume that in order to achieve the said equality he also capped the prosecution costs at £10k and that rumours that he authorised prosecution legal costs of around £200k are untrue? Perhaps the Minister will take an early opportunity to clarify his position on this issue.

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  2. There has been many incidents were elected members of the states have been denied asking questions that affect the ruling elite/clique.

    You've only got to ask the likes of Syvret, Pitman, Taider etc.

    I dont understand how these unelected's can retain so much power in a democracy.

    This needs to be sorted, but will not as they have a strangle hold on them asembly

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  3. The first comment has raised my eye brows so I will be looking into this.

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  4. Indeed the first comment is an eyebrow raiser and if correct would fit Senator Le Marquand's perception of "Equality of Arms.

    Give the prosecution a bottomless pit of money while capping the defence to a meagre amount. In the case of Former Police Chief Graham Power QPM Give the prosecution £millions and not a penny to the defence of Mr. Power.

    For a former Magistrate Senator Le Marquand has a very obscure idea of "equality of Arms" or natural justice for that matter.

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  5. There is no reason/excuse for Birt not to let Deputy Higgins forbiden question on Graham Power through in two weeks time then?

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  6. The very idea Deputy Higgins or any elected member has to get permission from Birt or of the judiciary is the scandal here!

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  7. The way Sinel was talking on the radio today it sounds like the Police Officers could be bringing a civil case against the Law department.

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  8. Just spotted this interesting comment made by Stuart Syvret under his blog.

    'Hi Stella & apposite friends.

    You know, I thought you’d be interested in the title of Section Five of the Statement-of-Case against the Secretary of State for Justice, and the Privy Council.

    “The Four and the *****-**********: A Case-Study in the Corruption of Criminal and Civil Law-Enforcement in Jersey.”

    You know, I think it’s pretty splendid – even if I say so myself!

    I just love this stuff.

    I really do.

    It’s like being a witness at the decay and collapse of the Roman Empire.

    Stuart.'

    That's a bit like a cross-word clue, 5 letters and 10. can we fill in the missing words?

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  9. I shall be writing a letter to the Queen to ask how she allows an unelected Bailiff in Jersey to decide on what questions get asked. I will also compare like for like, I respect the Queen and if the Bailiff see's himself as a Queen figure then he should not be anywhere near any chamber, as the Queen is not allowed. It's a perfectly reasonable example. I will also ask the Queen why she allows this in Jersey and not in her country! as I said I respect her and I will expect a fair response, it's time for us all to look seriously at our legal and political system, seriously everyone, change is a fair point!

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  10. I hope the 3 Policemen do bring a civil case against the Crown, I do feel sorry for them. They were given authorisation by the Crown. And were put out to dry, I would be so angry if that happened to me. Fair is fair, I am so impressed by the intelligence of this site and I really do feel we are part of something that if we keep this up, change will happen. I also want to thank Voice for Children who are leading change, the very people who have suffered so much are a shining light to us all. Thank you for giving me the courage to write this, never thought I could. Bless you x x x

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  11. Instead of a Bailiff why don't we replace the job with an Independent Justice Minister? we could pay him the same salary, he would do more for the Island then what we have! Can you imagine, an Independent Justice Minister! wow! the word Independent, I can't keep writing it, it rings off the tongue! Independent, Independent...... keep saying it and eventually it will happen....

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  12. The 3 cops, thats police men, they are supposed to know what is lawful and whats not. Seems they are trying the failed nuremberg defence, I don't buy it nor should you.
    I have no liking for the law officers Dept. but this is the general level of competence of the police, they have no one else to blame as they have let themselves become the tools of lawyers. The lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank, and as evidenced yet again by Birt's refusal to let an elected member ask his question they run the show. The question is how long are we going to allow this situation to continue?

    cyril

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  13. FYI Trevor Pitmans latest link on the sidebar is not working.

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  14. The cross word clue that says, '“The Four and the *****-**********: A Case-Study in the Corruption of Criminal and Civil Law-Enforcement in Jersey.”'

    Could that be "super-injunction"?

    Just guessing. But if I'm right I'm booking the ticket for London. This is going to be an exciting year by the look of things.

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  15. Early retirement for 3 cops on "ill health" grounds coming up methinks due to "18 months of stress to them & their families" quote JEP.

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  16. How much will the A-G's department pay these guys off? Jersey justice is not fit for purpose.

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  17. Don't worry: the question will be asked this morning as a supplementary to mine (if the top judge and former Attorney General allows it!) The question in no. 4 on the order paper:

    Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade will ask the following question of the Minister for Home Affairs –
    “Will the Minister provide an estimate of the cost incurred by Department in respect of the surveillance, arrest, security and conviction of Curtis Warren and associates and the cost to date of the investigation and subsequent disciplinary action being pursued against three of the officers involved in the said case?”

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  18. Montfort.

    It also appears that Chief Minister, Ian Gorst, is trying to blame the Abuse Survivors for the delay in debating the Terms of Reference for the Committee Of Inquiry. The truth is that the blame lies squarely with Ian Gorst who has been ignoring e-mails from Abuse Survivors and interested parties.

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  19. Hi VFC.

    Just put up the Audio from this mornings States meeting, you know Questions without Answers.

    Question 13 was quite interesting if you know what I mean, some people who should of Known said they didn't put said I think a little more then they wanted, If you Know what I'm talking about of course.

    Have a Listen HERE

    TJW.

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  20. Very interesting to listen to Question 13 from the Jersey parliament meeting, thanks to TJW.

    So let's summarise what are now the known facts about that case.

    There are four individuals who, using tax-payers money, are taking legal action.

    According to the Jersey parliament debate, that legal action is being funded by Jersey's Data Protection Commissioner, Emma Martins.

    It is obvious from other public information that the action is being taken against former Senator and now independent journalist and children's rights campaigner Stuart Syvret.

    From what was said in the Jersey parliament, it is an injunction.

    From what the BBC Jersey commentator said, it is a super injunction.

    From what the Assistant Minister answering the question said, concerning secrecy, it is very plainly a super injunction.

    From what other members of the parliament said when asking questions, the action being taken against Stuart Syvret by Emma martins in the name of these four individuals is, in reality, a defamation case, and it appears as though she's abusing her office and public funds in what may be an act of politically oppressive discrimination.

    Jersey tax payers and their elected representatives are not allowed to know (a) the reasoning by which Emma Martins decided to pursue this repressive action against Stuart Syvret, or (b), how much tax-payers' money is being used.

    So, in a nutshell, we know that Stuart Syvret is, in fact, subjected to a super injunction, brought against him by the Jersey establishment, in the name of four proxy individuals, and it is being funded by huge amounts of public money, and it is all being done in secret.

    Seems to me two things leap out of all that. 1) the secrecy & point of the super injunction is now defeated and obsolete, so it should be made public, and 2) this is very, very dangerous anti democratic political oppression being conducted by Jersey's political judiciary, in secret.

    Is there anyone, apart from maybe a couple of dozen people, in your population who cares about freedom and democracy?

    If this was happening in the UK (public money being spent, to suppress free speech, when the individuals should be taking out a private defamation action) and it being done in secret, and it was, as is obvious in this case really about silencing criticisms of the government, it would bring down the government.

    Maybe Jersey people just don't care about the sacrifices made to win WWII?

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  21. Re: Comment at 15 January 2013 19:23

    That is a very important comment. The misuse of the Data Protection Act and covert tax-payer funding of a politically motivated, blatantly punitive Super-Injunction should bring down any democratic government. No WWII heroes suffered or fought to uphold the feudalistic values of the vindictive and censorious Bailhache Dynasty.

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  22. Scum Bag Ian Gorst gags victims after PROMISING that victims would NOT BE GAGGED!!!.

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