Wednesday, 27 February 2013
UK Government Are Asked To Intervene.
Two Jersey politicians have released a Press Statement (below) asking for the UK to fulfil its constitutional obligation and restore the Rule of Law and good governance in the Crown Dependency of Jersey.
Below the Press Release is an in-depth, and exclusive, interview with the two politicians, Deputies Shona and Trevor Pitman, who have experienced, first hand, the cost, both financial and emotional, of attempting to obtain justice in Jersey.
Jersey Corruption: UK Government fails constitutional obligations
on ‘good governance’
Two Members of Jersey’s Parliament have today called for the UK government – which has overall responsibility to ensure ‘good governance’ in the Channel Islands - to urgently investigate what they describe as the ‘spiralling evidence of the wide-spread breakdown of law within the island’s justice system.’
Child Abuse Scandal
The Deputies say that ‘justice in the island’ (which came under the global spotlight with the unfolding of the ‘institutional’ child abuse scandal in 2008) ‘is being betrayed by a mixture of top level incompetence, corruption and intimidation. Much of this being a direct reaction from those in the island’s Establishment desperate to bury any dissenting opposition to getting to the truth about decades of child abuse cover-ups.’
‘Far from ensuring justice for the people of Jersey our Law Office has become the tool of choice for the clique at the apex of power to try to silence and, if necessary, drive from office or ruin those who dare challenge the established order; or persist in fighting the cause of the ever-growing number of people coming forward to complain of corruption; whether relating to child abuse or abuse of the legal process.’
This has already seen the former Chief of Police (the initiating officer of the child abuse investigations), Mr. Graham Power QPM forced from office by an illegal suspension that failed to result in any disciplinary charges. It has also seen a former Health Minister, at the centre of revelations about the abuse, ousted; and currently being silenced by a blatant misuse of the Data Protection Law within ‘top secret’ Royal Court hearings – all being paid for out of the tax coffers. Files and records relating to children abused within the Jersey care system have conveniently ‘gone missing’ from within both the Police system and government departments. Evidenced cases against abusers have inexplicably not been pursued by the island’s Law Office.
Banning of US Journalist
This manipulation of justice has even seen the contrived banning of a respected US journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, from the island once it became apparent she was researching child abuse cover-ups and the island links to Jimmy Savile. A ban only lifted following the intervention of UK MP John Hemming and an international petition campaign initiated by Deputy Trevor Pitman himself. Trevor Pitman states that along with two other political ‘backbench’ colleagues the number of complaints alleging corruption received from members of the public has reached deeply disturbing proportions in recent months.
Legal System - Corruption
These complaints have included alleged tampering with court transcripts; destruction of and refusal to look at evidence; inconsistency in sentencing; and even perjury and collusion between lawyers. The recently leaked "BARTON REPORT" of a disciplinary hearing involving police at the centre of the illegal bugging allegations in the ‘Drug Baron’ Curtis Warren case even revealed claims of falsified and unsigned statements being presented instead of original documents.
Yet the Deputies say the cold, hard evidence of the justice system being in desperate need of external investigation; and the depth of the obstacles facing victims of the cover-ups was only brought home to them after they pursued the island’s only, and hugely influential, pro-establishment newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post to court for defamation along with one of its millionaire clients. The newspaper and its estate agent client Broadlands had mocked the couple after Trevor Pitman’s election, falsely claiming they had increased their salary four-fold by entering politics when in reality they had taken a drop in income of thousands.
Jurat Supports Paedophile in Previous Job as Vice-Principle
‘It was shocking enough given the evidence that we then found ourselves losing the case,’ say the Deputies; ‘we subsequently then discovered that the Senior Jurat (lay judge) John Le Breton had been allowed by the Bailiff’s Office to sit in judgement of the case even though he was a personal friend of the newspaper’s longest-serving Director; the two regularly socialising together and even going to dinner at each other’s home. All of this being evidenced’.
An even bigger shock for the Deputies was the subsequent leaking of a government suppressed report (the 1999 Sharp Report) into another horrific child abuse scandal at the island’s Victoria College (an exclusive ‘fee-paying’ secondary school). The report revealed that John Le Breton, as Vice Principle had refused to look at evidence against a friend and colleague, the predatory paedophile, Andrew Jervis-Dykes.
He instead wrote in support of him claiming amongst other things that: Jervis-Dykes had served the College in an ‘outstandingly competent and conscientious way’; that unless police decided to prosecute, the abuse would be seen as ‘an unsubstantiated allegation’. Le Breton even appealed for the paedophile to be allowed to stay on at the school and if he had to resign be allowed to do so with ‘some dignity’. Incredibly Le Breton was put forward for the Jurat role by a politician who was both on the College’s Board of Governors at the time and a former president of the government’s Education Committee!’
The Deputies add, ‘when you bring this to the attention of the Chief Minister, Bailiff (Head of Judiciary and Legislature) and Deputy Bailiff, where both Crown Officers just happen to also be friends of the Jurat in question - you are told: ‘if you don’t like it – appeal’. The Crown Officers know full well, that the above information not only came to light after our case and has implications far beyond this alone; but that it would necessitate at least another £30,000: monies that most ordinary people do not have.
Jurat Le Breton was allowed to sit by two successive Bailiff’s for a period of 14 years – including sitting on some child abuse cases until retiring just after the Pitman’s’ case. ‘This demonstrates just how unfit for purpose Jersey’s system of election and monitoring of Jurats is’, says Deputy Shona Pitman, adding ‘how in the 21st Century can Jurats be elected in secret by only politicians and lawyers – many of whom will regularly be friends of those proposed?’
UK Justice Minister fails obligations of good governance
Yet even with the backing of around a dozen equally appalled fellow politicians and prominent justice campaigners, the Deputies say that the injustice they have been dealt is as yet failing to be adequately dealt with as it should by the UK justice Ministry. ‘The evidence in our case is overwhelming,’ say the Deputies, ‘just as it is in many other cases. Yet even when presented with all of the details (as outlined above) and letters of support from other concerned public figures, the excuse from Lord McNally has been that as “Jersey has its own justice system we can’t really interfere’’ (see enclosed correspondence).
‘Most absurd of all perhaps’, add the Deputies, ‘is that ‘the Justice Minister instead offers to ‘forward our concerns’ to the Bailiff – the very individual who has allowed all of this to happen! What this shows is the deeply troubling attitude to justice from those holding power within the justice system here and the UK Minister responsible for ‘good governance’ in a small and apparently ‘insignificant’ jurisdiction’.
‘At the bottom line’, conclude the Deputies, ‘if these failings are allowed to continue, if successive Bailiffs and other Crown Officers can allow an individual who refused to look at evidence against a predatory paedophile yet supported him – to sit as a Jurat for 14 years; including on subsequent cases of abuse what hope, we ask, have the victims of Jimmy Savile and the Haut de la Garenne child abuse scandal of getting justice here? What hope has any ordinary citizen who rocks the Establishment boat? The answer must be a resounding none. It is time the UK government stepped up to the plate and fulfilled its obligations. Should they not do so then it can only be concluded that Westminster must be complicit in all of this.’ Full story: www.thebaldtruthjerseyblogspot.com
For further information contact: Deputy Trevor Pitman 07797 824243/ (01534) 863436
Deputy Shona Pitman 07797 778561(END)
This Press Statement has been issued to the island's State Media and Bloggers (Jersey's only independent media) It remains to be seen what, if any coverage or investigation, it receives other than that from the independent Bloggers.