Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Ex minister in UK tax haven of Jersey to be jailed over blog

Britain's Guardian newspaper is carrying a chilling story about the sentencing of Jersey's former health minister Stuart Syvret to three months in prison, on account of statements he has made in a controversial blog that has angered many in the Jersey establishment over a number of years.
"According to John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, Syvret has been unfairly prosecuted for revealing information in the public interest, including evidence that a nurse on the island may have killed some of his patients."
We are not going to comment on the allegations themselves - we aren't sufficiently familiar with the story - but it is the astonishing judicial process used against Syvret that concerns us. This is far from the first time Syvret has tangled with the Jersey establishment, or that he has apparently been the victim of corrupt treatment by the judicial authorities. In 2009, just for example, UK parliamentarian John Hemming noted about Syvret:
"He was not allowed to adduce as evidence the case to which he referred on his web log, which is a public interest defence that he needed to reveal the failures of the judicial system in Jersey."
We have for a long time written about the conflicts of interest, corruption and abuse of due process in tax havens like Jersey, and this latest  case is no exception. The Guardian notes something that would be a national scandal in a normal democracy:
"None of the four individuals named has ever attempted to sue Syvret for defamation. Instead, the data protection commissioner in Jersey, Emma Martins, has prosecuted him under the Data Protection Act.

She argues, highly unusually, that Syvret is the "data controller" of his blog (a position usually held in a large corporation) and that he has no right to name and shame people on his blog, whether or not the information he reveals about them is correct."
Our emphasis added. Even though we are not familiar with the details of these allegations, we do have long experience and knowledge of this particular tax haven, and we are well aware of the regular abuses of power by its financially-dependent oligarchy. This is just another example.

In case you doubt what's been going on in Jersey, read (just for example) this statement by Jersey's former police chief. Which has, true to the 'captured' character of the place, never been aired in Jersey's mainstream media.

Update 2014: for more on the Finance Curse see here.


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