Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Skippy the Justice Kangaroo.
Well another day in the totally predictable Jersey Kangaroo Court re Attorney General v Stuart Syvret.
This is another one of these surreal episodes that you really must be there to appreciate and are extremely difficult to convey in words…….but we shall try our best.
Team Voice have been to a number of the Magistrates Hearings involving this case and this is why I say these are predictable and today was no exception. The first part was taken up by Advocate Baker submitting that there should be a media embargo on naming “Nurse X” that is to say (as far as I understand it) that “Nurse X” and his/her family deserve protection from the media.
This embargo or injunction or whatever it’s called was not contested by ANY of our “accredited” media, although the JEP wrote a letter to the Court which I found quite confusing but as far as I am aware the bottom line was they are not contesting it but might in the future
So it was left to Team Voice to do what any self respecting “Journalist” should do and argue against reporting restrictions being imposed on the basis of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (and also the Jersey Human Rights Act) and in accordance with Article 19 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Senator Syvret made similar arguments but predictably the Magistrate found in favour of Advocate Baker acting for the AG. So for the moment reporting restrictions have been imposed.
The fact that Team Voice was able to make a submission was in itself a small miracle since there appeared to be no notice anywhere in the media that there was to be this hearing on reporting restrictions! It was only by chance we were told of it by Senator Syvret during an e-mail exchange that morning.
Team Voice rapidly set about drafting a submission. We phoned the Magistrate’s Greffier so that we could e-mail the submission directly. After a succession of people refusing to give us their names and refusing to give us an e-mail address for the Greffe and hanging up the phone on us we had to turn up in court with our arguments. Although the Magistrate (predictably) found against us we felt compelled to make this stance to protect free expression.
So far as Senator Syvret’s case was concerned this is where the surrealist dimensions, déjà vu and perverse predictability comes in.
Yet again Senator Syvret was asking the prosecution to disclose evidence that would assist the court in the proper consideration of the abuse of process trial initiated by the Senator (or was it the Data Protection case?) But the prosecution argued that the evidence sought was not relevant to the case. Inevitably the Magistrate decided to have ANOTHER directions hearing at a future date to determine whether the evidence is relevant or not.
Senator Syvret has been here before. This is not the first time he has been refused evidence and the last time, if I recall correctly, the prosecution stated that the evidence sought was not relevant and the Magistrate agreed without even viewing the evidence!
To date the Magistrate has not found in favour of Senator Syvret on one single legal argument that we are aware of. Today appeared to be the last straw for the Senator, he could not see the point in having yet another argument where the outcome is already determined (to use his words).
We must encourage any readers to turn up to one of these court cases as they really have to be seen to be believed. If this is what passes for “Justice” in Jersey then we are all in the sh1t!
The Senator did walk out of the court today and claimed he would not return and will face arrest if necessary. We can not blame him for feeling such frustration but must also hope he is not playing directly into the hands of “The powers that be”.
Senator Syvret will be publishing a post on these proceedings in the next couple of days on his Blog and we are sure he’ll be able to shed more light on this debacle than we could.
Submitted by Team Voice.