Saturday, August 16, 2008

Will the High Court Intervene in the Haut de la Garenne Abuse Scandal

This past week, Jersey Senator Stuart Syvret and UK MP John Hemming began action in High Court against Lord Chancellor Jack Straw and Minister for Justice Michael Wills. Syvret and Hemming want Straw and Mill to intervene in the Haut de la Garenne child abuse investigation in Jersey.

They want independent prosecutors to handle the abuse inquiry because of fears that victims are not coming forward due to a lack of faith in the Jersey judiciary’s objectivity in the matter.

The High Court action has been brought due to reports of abuse cover-ups and obstructions in the investigations.

Syvret said the judiciary’s top priority is to appear objective, but under the current structure in the Channel Islands, that is impossible. Syvret is calling for a clear separation of power, with the judiciary and prosecutors answering to an external authority.

Now that the legal papers have been filed with the High Court, Syvret and Hemmings have seven days to notify the defendants. Straw and Willis then have three weeks to respond - providing their own evidence. The High Court will then decide whether or not to grant a judicial review.

If the review is granted, High Court judges will hear the evidence from both sides before making a judgment.

Willis has refused to say why the UK has not intervened.

When asked what happens if they lose, Senator Syvret said: We appeal the case – all the way to Strasbourg, the European Court of Human Rights.

To lose in Strasbourg – would require the European Court of Human Rights to overturn and abandon a mountain of established ECHR case law – dozens of its own precedents.

This Is Guernsey