Jersey - the Crown Dependencies and conflicts of interest
I have linked to a story on the Channel Islands TV station which in part says:A Jersey accountant jailed in 2007 for six years for money laundering has had his conviction quashed.
His defence council took his case to the Jersey Court Of Appeal but it was rejected. They then took it to the Privy Council - the highest court islanders can appeal to - where it was finally quashed.
The judge, Commissioner Sir Geoffrey Nice was branded 'sarcastic, mocking and patronising.' He interrupted Mr Michel 273 times as he was giving evidence. It's now expected to cost the Jersey tax payer millions of pounds. Mr Michel's defence lawyer says in retrospect, he should have objected more at the time.
Click for the video.
What I find interesting is the unquestioning reliance of the TV station on judicial decisions. There have always been biased judges.
What is most important to hear is the solicitors explaining how he didn't want to challenge the judge in case he upset the judge.
This is one of the unusual conflicts of interest that people don't initially spot in the legal process. To appeal a decision upset the judge. Hence there is some resistance to doing this because lawyers want the goodwill of the judiciary to make a living.
It is interesting contrasting the subtle negotiation of lawyers with the somewhat more robust approach of the Justice for Families support for Litigants in Person where the system is confronted face on.
Admittedly this results in me getting a lot of critism from particularly LJs Wall and Thorpe, but it has resulted in something like 10 cases going through the system to the European Court.
The difficulties in secret courts have lead to a culture of complacency. This is more visible as a culture in Jersey in all the courts. ALong with Stuart (the refugee in my flat) and his various cases I have evidence of a number of other egregious failures of the judicial and prosecutory system in Jersey.
The story is also on CHannel Online of Stuarts case where the journalist puts forward some poujadist nonsense against the arguments for the rule of law.
At least in the UK we have some journalists with some backbone and willingness to challenge the establishment. In the Channel Islands it appears missing from the media - who after all don't want to bit the hand that feeds them.
Much like lawyers and the judiciary really.