Nov 04 2011

The imprisonment of Stuart Syvret

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

The Jersey politician Stuart Syvret, a former health minister, is a complex and controversial character, who has been involved in a running fight with the Jersey authorities for years. He’s called himself a political prisoner before – with some good reason, I think – and now he’s in prison again. It’s interesting to note that John Hemming MP has introduced this Early Day Motion in the UK parliament:

That this House notes the imprisonment of Stuart Syvret; believes that the public authorities of the island of Jersey do not operate in a manner compliant with the requirements of the European Commission of Human Rights(ECHR), there being overt and significant overlaps and contaminations between the legislature, executive and judiciary; further notes that Her Majesty’s subjects in Jersey are not protected by effective checks and balances, and that there has been the political repression of former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power and former Senator Stuart Syvret; further notes that, notwithstanding the responsibility the Secretary of State for Justice has for good governance and Convention Rights in Jersey, the island’s authorities are permitted to repress opposition activists, and that the Secretary of State for Justiceand Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor have failed to act; further notes that successive governments of the United Kingdom have committed this nation to securing real democratic freedoms and the rule of law in other jurisdictions, yet in the British enclave of Jersey on the United Kingdom’s very doorstep, ordinary powerless people are oppressed by an entrenched oligarchy; and calls on the Secretary of State for Justice to appoint an independent Commission similar to that which investigated corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands, to investigate the conduct of Jersey’s public administration and to urgently bring the protections of the ECHR to Her Majesty’s subjects in the island.

I’ve recently been in Jersey again, and when I get a spare moment, I will write about it. I need to write something for someone on the City of London Corporation first.

18 comments so far

Leigh LaFon 11th November, 2011 12.37 am

Unbelievable. Some day, the corruption Stuart has uncovered will bring down many government officials in Jersey, and perhaps, the UK.

David Rotherham 11th November, 2011 1.03 pm

Syvret has not been imprisoned for his political activities, though, but for multiple and calculated contempts of court. While he has taken up serious causes in the days when he was a politician himself, his puerile naughtiness since the end of his political career has tended to reflect discredit on those causes, to the despair of those whose commitment is to progressive politics rather than to Syvret himself.

Nick Shaxson 11th November, 2011 6.45 am

Yes, I’ve heard from various people, including some who I might have imagined would be on his side, that he doesn’t help himself with some of his positions, such as not doing his community service, and his being something of a lone wolf. This is one reason why I called him ‘complex and controversial.’ But at the end of the day, I come down on his side as someone who has fought hard against the Jersey establishment, at great cost to himself. I can’t think of anyone in Jersey who is as outspoken as he is.

anon. 11th November, 2011 5.42 pm

If you live in Jersey and support Syvret, then you’re unlikely to tell others that you support him. This is because of the fear. In Jersey if you want to get on and maintain your job and livelihood then speaking out against the establishment is a no no. Only very very very very brave people do that.

Nick Shaxson 11th November, 2011 6.53 am

Somebody called Barbara Richards posted a link with some statements about John Hemming which I felt could have been potentially libelous. I just don’t know enough about the Jersey child abuse case to know where the truth lies (which is one reason why I didn’t dig into it in Treasure Islands.) So I’m sorry, but I have decided not to publish your comments.

Barbara Richards 11th November, 2011 9.03 am

Thats ok, but at least will you read the links I have posted, thanks

Barbara Richards 11th November, 2011 9.06 am

Also, is there any chance you could go and visit Stuart in prison? I don’t know if you live near enough to St Brelade to do that, but I know that talking to him face to face would be a very rewarding experience for you, to aid your understanding of tax havens if nothing else.

Nick Shaxson 11th November, 2011 9.54 am

I spent quite some time talking to (and about) Stuart on a visit to Jersey in mid-October. I want to write about that trip when i get a moment. It made me think that I’d even been too kind to the Jersey establishment in Treasure Islands. I also saw him at the senatorial hustings at St. Saviour’s and he was indeed a very good speaker. Given by how many people stopped him on the street to congratulate him while we talked, he is clearly popular. But given the negative comments many people have made against him, he is also clearly highly controversial.

a person 11th November, 2011 12.55 am

Dave, it would have been more meaningful if the progressives supported him. He is the top progressive Jersey’s ever had. His ability is way above the rest put together. But instead of supporting him, they buckled in fear back in 2008. That fear lost us the chance to blow the establishment cover. He was let down. As for his naughtiness, he simply was cornered.

Skope 11th November, 2011 9.14 am

If someone treats you with contempt you are likely to reciprocate particularly if you are a stubborn Jerseyman like Syvret. The courts have treated him contemptibly by refusing reasonable disclosure of documents that prove that his arest and prosecution were unlawful – but they have leaked out. The prosecution completely changed their case 4 months into the trial and the court accepted this with hesitation or comment. The prosecution have failed to disclose new relevant information as it arose, particularly evidence that probably demonstrated that his release of personal data really did act in the public interest. And to cap it all the independent appeal judge eventually revealed that he had hobnobbed in his free time with the head of Jersey Prosecution Service prior to the trial.
The courts are only getting back what they serve.

Nick Shaxson 11th November, 2011 9.48 am

Somebody sent me a comment, but asked me not to post it. It was interesting, thanks.

Barbara Richards 11th November, 2011 10.22 am

I am Barbara Richards and my pen name is Zoompad, I am a published author. I wrote a book about my own experiences as a child and “fictionalised” it (to avoid being sued, I figured that if anyone wanted to sue me they would have to recognise themselves first! ) by changing all the names and writing it so it read like a novel. I don’t care about being sued now, as I can prove everything I have written. I didn’t have my Social Service and medical records at the time I wrote Tip and I do now. I also have other things, to prove that I am not a malicious and paranoid liar, or a “nutter”, as I have been accused of, many times, as can be read on my blog, as I have posted some of the horrible comments that have been left there by people who seem to have devoted their whole life to covering up child abuse.

Nick Shaxson 11th November, 2011 2.21 pm

Barbara, I was not having a go at you. I have decided to steer clear of Jersey child abuse issues since there are so many allegations and counter-allegations in this terrain that one would have to do a huge amount of research to be able to say something useful about it. My principal focus is on Jersey as a tax haven – and no doubt there are many connections to be made, but given my limited resources to conduct research I would just prefer to stay out of it, if that’s OK. No disrespect intended, either to you or to the issue at hand.

Barbara Richards 11th November, 2011 2.50 pm

Nicholas, I know you weren’t, and thanks for that. I just wanted you to know who I was, and what my position was on being sued for libel. Thank you for writing Treasure Islands though.

Barbara Richards 8th August, 2012 12.25 pm

The whole MG Rover saga stinks of corruption to me. I don’t think that statement can be construed as libel.

[…] and criminality in the Septic Isle, otherwise known as the part-British tax haven of Jersey. (Try here, here or here for some earlier juice, just for example.) This isn’t strictly a tax haven […]

[…] Read the “Life Offshore” chapter of Treasure Islands to get a flavour of it, (or see here, here, here and here and here – just for example.) And if you want to read something else […]

[…] Read the “Life Offshore” chapter of Treasure Islands to get a flavour of it, (or see here, here, here and here and here – just for example.) And if you want to read something else […]

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