Stuart Syvret Secret Court Case on State Radio.

Further to our EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with former Jersey politician and Health Minister Stuart Syvret concerning the secret court case/super-injunction, BBC Jersey broadcast an edited interview with him this morning on the radio.

The question BBC was asking its listeners was "In the interests of free speech should we be allowed to say anything we like online?"

We have a few others such as;

"Has the Data Protection Law been abused in a secret court case? 

Why did these four proxies not use libel/defamation laws in order to publicly clear their names? 

If justice must be SEEN to be done why was this, taxpayer funded, court case in secret? 

What ramifications could this very dangerous precedent have for journalism across the board, so-called "accredited" and so-called "non accredited journalists alike?

Who brought these very unlikely bedfellows together and what was the motivation?

Is everybody treated equally by the law/Data Protection Office when attempting to make complaints?

How much did this secret court case really cost the taxpayer?

Below is the recording of this morning's broadcast on State Radio. Deputy Trevor Pitman was also live in the studio which will be published on TJW later this evening.

VFC credit the BBC for the recording below.

On the Buses: It’s a Liberty!

Time Tables
It is now over six months since Liberty Bus took over from Connex, and they were supposed to have a hundred days period of grace for sorting out problems, but that was extended by Deputy Kevin Lewis, Minister at Transport and Technical Services – the politician responsible for accepting them as the operators, and now seems to have been discarded altogether. Here is a criticism from one of my correspondents, Adam Gardiner:
"We are still getting convoys - timetables are up the creek. It is most marked in St. Aubin where after a 30 minute hiatus (between 10.30-11pm) we got both a 15 and 12 travelling eastbound arriving together - made worse by the fact that the bus stops in St. Aubin can only accommodate 1 bus at a time. The result is the second bus just sat in the road blocking all other traffic. This was compounded by the further fact that the last 12 terminates Corbière and travels back to town - empty - passing through St. Aubin - lights out, 'NOT IN SERVICE'! If nothing else hopelessly inefficient but you can imagine the affect that has on passengers waiting at the bus stop - in the rain!"
He also noted an incident on a Friday (and not the first) when a passenger "was turfed off at Corbière as the service terminated there (X12) Yet nowhere on the graphic timetable does it indicate that and the bus in any event carries on its journey as if it were in service. Someone explain please? They were nonetheless left to walk home. Although it was not dark and raining on this occasion, it is still unacceptable. It is a PUBLIC bus service, not a service to suit either drivers or LibertyBus."
And he goes on to comment that on the Bank Holiday Monday:
"LibertyBus are just operating Sunday services which considering it's a Bank Holiday is barmy. While there is no commuter traffic, at this time of year we have our biggest influx of visitors. It's nuts! Compare that with other forms of 'public transport'. Do aeroplanes, ferries and trains run to reduced services at weekends and particularly Sundays? No. By and large they actually increase them. Why. Because it's a time of peak demand."
"The result is, we have passengers arriving at the airport, but all we can offer them is a long wait for an infrequent and limited service; and at the harbour NO buses at all - that at any time."
Now part of that may be to do with drivers, but clearly part of it has to do with management. I remember contacting the manager of Jersey Bus in the old days about the loop around Corbière, and as I wanted to pick up the bus stop near to the corner where the Prison is, and the bus was not returning, I was told that it was perfectly acceptable to be picked up there for the through journey to St Helier. Clearly commonsense was applied to the bus routes. How the buses operated around the Corbière loop should be a matter for the management to decide. Liberty bus has said it is they, rather than the bus drivers, who are in charge, so why don't they make it clear what their buses are doing.
The position with regard to bank holidays is very obvious. To put on extra services, means paying drivers overtime rates. That again means that it is a management decision, and not one the bus drivers have any control over, any more than they can decide on the time tables, even when that leads (as stated above) to buses being forced to block the road St Aubin. That's also a transport matter, and the Minister, Deputy Kevin Lewis should put pressure on the management to ensure it doesn't happen.
And the bus stop at the Harbour was also discontinued when LibertyBus took over, providing a wonderful insight for tourists as to how much they matter as they come out of the Harbour Terminus and see a sign telling them there are no bus services, and they'll have to walk to town, or incur the expense of a taxi. Deputy Kevin Lewis seems to have buried his head in the sand on this one as well.
Radio Question Time
Meanwhile, Reg Langlois gave this story on Facebook:
"A story I heard today from a couple who were travelling out west, on a bus, last Wednesday 21.8.13 They were horrified when he started using his phone as he was driving along, and when he had finished his call, he started rummaging though the cash box alongside of him...... pity they didn't take his picture."
Donna pointed out that it could be a radio message:
"But you see Reg, you repeat their story, with no evidence and this is part of the problem with the public perception of the bus drivers. I recently had an elderly lady sitting next to me on the bus complaining about the driver talking on his phone when we were driving, but he was in fact replying over his radio to a question from someone at the depot. I also had an elderly client at work who asked "Can you help me Donna, when you've finished playing on your gameboy?" and I was actually using an electronic ordering machine!! The bus drivers at the moment are public enemy number 1 due to the media hype and people doing exactly what you have done with your post and I don't think they deserve this at all."
Annette Du Heaume replied: "Did the couple bother to report this supposed incident to Liberty bus? Doesn't sound like it as there have been no disciplinaries regarding a situation like this recently ( hubby is a bus driver). Also just to point out that with the cameras and microphones monitoring everything the drivers do, there is very little chance of the driver taking the risk.
Jill asked:.."Were these passengers sure he was actually on a mobile (I suggested a phone) or not just talking 'to base' as they often do? I also doubt that one would take the risk as they are well monitored".... would it have made any difference... being on a mobile or on a phone talking to "base" ?
Darren noted that: "Actually any hand held communication device which you hold in your hand whilst driving is illegal. Hence all States vehicles having mic buttons and microphone hands free for their radio system."
Donna noted that "Perhaps Libertybus should be informed of this local law then, as the drivers have to reach up for the microphone to reply when they are called over the radio."
This seems to be getting to the core issue. How do drivers communicate when called over the radio? Do they have to reach up to the microphone to reply? Is this legal? If it is legal, is it none the less, a safety hazard? It seems very likely that it is.
Turning Points
Reg Langlois commented on the buses taking up the road:
"A friend of mine had a narrow escape the other day when she was driving down the hill towards St Brelade Church when a bus appeared around a bend over the white line causing her to take avoiding action. She pulled over and hit the bank on the side of the road, bursting a tyre as she did so."
Annette Du Heaume replied: "
I know these buses cross the white line quite a lot, saying that, the new buses are a bugger to drive, they have really bad turning issues and the driver position and mirrors that stick out too far do make it harder to drive closer to the left hand side. In fact these buses were trialled by Connex back in 2006 and found to be unsuitable then says a lot really."
Apparently, according to a friend of mine, it is all to do with how the wheels are sited on the bus. With the Connex buses, the wheels were positioned a fair way back from the front and back of the bus, but with Liberty bus vehicles, they are right at the front and back.
The wheelbase of a vehicle equals the distance between its front and rear. This affects the turning circle on the bus. The turning path boundaries are determined by the outer trace of the outer front overhang and the path of the inner rear wheel.
As a commentator noted of the buses now in use in Jersey:
"The Optaire is 8 foot wide, closer to ten across the mirrors. They also have the most bloody awful view from the drivers cab, and the mirrors are obscured by the A posts. I have the misfortune to drive the things occasionally. The wheelbase , you will note the front wheels are ahead of the doors, make the turning circle larger as an aside, has anyone got seasick on the top deck yet? That happened quite frequently when our company first got a couple. They roll like a ship in a gale. But hey they are cheap!"
The Jersey versions are apparently a slimmer version of the UK versions, at 2.3m wide which is the Jersey limit. The UK model is 2.5m wide. But the problems with wheelbase mean that when navigating bends – and there are rather a lot in Jersey – it will go over the white line much more than the older buses in use because of the wheelbase and turning circle, regardless of the driver.
When Connex were bringing over double-deckers, Mike Jackson went on the route several times to check going round bends, overhangs etc, but has Kevin Lewis done this kind of practical exercise with Liberty bus regarding turning circles? Or was this just advice relied upon. I find it notable that one observation was that the Optaire was a cheap bus. I'd be interested to know how it compared to the Darts used by Connex, or the specially built buses of Jersey Bus. Did wheelbase, turning circle feature anywhere in the bus tender? If not, for an Island with small roads, why not? Another question, I think for Deputy Lewis.
I went on a number 15 double decker from St Aubin to Red Houses sitting on the upper deck, and it did indeed "roll like a ship in a gale" as it went round bends; it also clipped branches overhanging the road which, presumably because it did not damage the roof, was considered an occupational hazard. Do bus inspectors ever go out and check whether the overhang is too low, as the driver would be unaware of it, and if the branches went just a bit lower, serious damage and possible injury could ensure? 


If there is one thing that I have learnt in 5 years 'inside' Jersey politics it is that the more important to democracy and political transparency an issue is then the less likely it is to see most of the Great and the Good turn up to a meeting. This Monday's question and answer session held at the 'Societe Jersiaise' proved this disappointing phenomena to be true once again.
The States Assembly has 51 Members. Yet only 17 who had not had the benefit of a rumoured 80-odd pounds-per-head slap up meal at the Atlantic Hotel bothered to come along!
That there were no banana daiquiris or prawn cocktails really isn't any excuse...
Given that recent times have seen a staggering abuse of justice including manipulation of  the Data Protection Law about which no one could talk about upon threat of arrest - this resulting in 'top secret' court proceedings against a former politician.  The hijacking of the electoral reform process to cement inequality; not to forget exposes of Jurats happy to both disregard evidence against sickening paedophile friends and subsequently flout the rules to sit on cases where other mates were directly involved - when put under the spotlight this really can mean only one thing.
Most of  Jersey's elected representatives are either too scared to stand up for what should lie at the very core of every democracy in the world - or simply do not care a jot about justice in the first place So long, it would seem, as it doesn't impact on them personally. Frankly politicians falling into either category should be identified and hounded out of office before it is too late. In the first instance perhaps being forced to study the famous saying of Pastor Neimoller.
It would be embarrassing to raise any local justice issues with the Committee...
The order highlighted above, passed down from the apex of Gorst and Bailhache's Team Feudal, should have sent alarm bells ringing straightaway. Indeed, I actually sought out the 'ministerial aide' who had come out with this nonsense and pointed out the chances of my complying with this was on a par with Luis Suarez giving up snacking on defenders' arms.
Yet for all of these worries  I was still glad that I had gone along. Otherwise I would never have got to learn that, in voicing my concerns about the hard and undeniable facts that those who control Jersey 'justice' continue to sanction appalling abuses against those who are either not sufficiently wealthy; or dare rock the Establishment boat were not supported by the likes of Constables Juliette Gallichan and Phil Rondel.
Now no surprise when considering Constable Gallichan.  As she made quite clear only a few short weeks ago she was adamant that I definitely 'did not speak for her' in apologising to the tragic victim of abuse in the Dean suspension case, poor, vulnerable HG. But Constable Rondel? Whatever could have happened here? Only a couple of weeks ago he was telling me how he totally agreed that John Le Breton of Jervis-Dykes abuse case shame should NEVER have been allowed to become a Jurat (lay judge)*

Independence? No thank you!

Interestingly, Constable Rondel did speak at length about what he felt had been the bullying and unfair treatment of Jersey by the UK over the 'last 20 years'. A bit surprised by the 20 years statement many of us were. To most of us interested in justice the worst failing on the part of Westminster has been the policy of just turning a blind eye to abuses of justice and bad governance where they know they actually have an obligation to step in.

However, though having to qualify this with the observation that it was pretty foolish for any to set up and come to rely on an industry which was built on a tax loop-hole I do have some sympathy with Phil's views on Jersey's comparative singling out for action over LVCR.

Nevertheless, when the issue of 'independence' came up in the session the Constable and I part company. He expressed that it would be a good thing. Independence in my view would lead, within a decade or two, to financial and social ruin. It would also lead to political abuse of the 'justice' system on a truly terrifying scale due to the lack of ethics/morals on the part of those Establishment figures at the top who crave this unfettering of power desperately.

Indeed, I must say that I also found the Constable's expression of support for independence somewhat surprising given that both the 'Rondel Twins' in the States have expressed deep concerns about young James increasingly falling under the totalitarian spell of 'The Man Who Would Be King'.
Its our report - but you're paying for it all...
Another fact that had I not gone along I never would have known was that according to the Chairman, though the Committee was here to follow-up their 2010 report; the cost of everything involved was going to be down to the Jersey taxpayer.

No problem with that at all - so long as the Committee actually don't buy into the Gorst and Bailhache propaganda and do what they are meant to do: i.e. listen to the concerns of Jersey people and those handful of politicians, Shona Pitman, me, Mike Higgins and Montfort Tadier brave enough to tell the truth.
And I'm afraid this also means treating the appalling abuse of justice that continues to allow an unelected judge lord it as 'president' of the States with the same commitment to 21st century reform that Westminster has forced upon to Sark. The 'dual role' of the Jersey Bailiff, after all, as has been pointed out by eminent local lawyer, Philip Sinel is far, far worse.
What exactly had the Committee been fed at the Atlantic? (no pun intended!)
I posit the question because until the above facts were pointed out by Shona, we were initially getting the fob off that discarding the anachronism of the Bailiff was down to the people and the States. Non recognition or understanding seemed apparent of the insidious structuring of the generations old 'Jersey Way.
It was even suggested that the Committee had been given no examples where the two conflicting roles overlapped from justice into the political. Fortunately I was able to intervene and  use the recent example of a Bailiff quickly putting on his 'Head of the Legislature' hat to stop a personal statement strongly criticising him in his wearing of his other hat as 'Head of the Judiciary'.
The examples given to the Committee flowed after this with the pointing out of how the propaganda they had received from the likes of Gorst, Bailhache and co of there being no problematic overlap was errant and dangerous nonsense. The Chief Judge could stop an elected member speaking; he could block perfectly legitimate questions; he could let Ministers get away with stonewalling and waffling to ride out question time. Et cetera...
A light in the darkness...
Perhaps most encouraging of all was that eventually the Committee finally conceded that the plethora of hugely varied abuses of justice that Deputy Mike Higgins and I were now working on probably did fall within the UK Justice Select Committee's mandate.
Yes, even my and Shona's own attempted shafting via failures within the monitoring of the jurat system of which the Jersey Evening Pravda and Broadlands are keeping so manfully silent about in the hope of getting away with a beneficial ruling that would be laughed out of court in North Korea on Human Rights grounds.
The above recognition was actually voiced by the Rt. Hon. Elfyn Llwyd M.P. who a number of us agreed, though not talking as much as his colleagues actually seemed to have a better grasp of the subtle but hugely important issues at stake here. Which was probably just as well.
For Deputy Sean Power - though being at great pains to tell us that he totally respected yours truly, Shona, Mike Higgins and Montfort Tadier for the huge amount of work we do on behalf of people told the Committee that he felt in voicing our concerns about injustice we spoke for only 'a small number of people' who shared those views!
You can still have a say - make sure that you do!
Still, for all of that the session did end on a positive note. Under pressure from Shona the Committee's Chairman, Sir Alan Beith, did agree that submissions which had had a cut off date of the 10th May could now be sent to the Justice Select Committee right up until the 10th of July instead. Send them to this address:
If you care about justice and putting an end to Jersey's 'justice' system and our 'Law' Office instead using the legal apparatus to enforce political and economic oppression please make 30 minutes in your schedule to send them an e-mail. I haven't yet I confess. But busy as I always am, and as so many of you will be PLEASE ensure that you now do. Our future might depend on it...
Keep the Faith