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States of siege

The assault on liberty could be worse than it is in the United Kingdom. We are nothing like Zimbabwe, say – or Jersey.

Jersey? Yes. And I don’t mean the partly imaginary lawless land of the Sopranos and Frank Sinatra. The supposedly sleepy tax-haven and holiday resort a few miles off the Normandy coast, the oldest possession of the English Crown still in hand*, has entirely astonishingly, and almost secretly, converted itself a police state in the last fortnight:

The report in the Jersey Evening Telegraph is so concise it can only be quoted in full:

The Home Affairs Minister has sent shock waves through the legal profession by authorising the indefinite detention of suspects without charge.

On 5 June, Senator Wendy Kinnard amended the criminal code that had limited pre-charge detention to 36 hours.

She did so under delegated powers enjoyed by the minister under the terms of the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence (Jersey) Law.

However, that same law states that before such changes to codes are made, the minister is required to publish a draft of the changes and consult interested parties. She did neither of these things – a failure that has left the Island’s criminal lawyers stunned.

The new code came into force on Thursday, but no statement was released to either the media or the legal profession.

Why? What crisis of state is afflicting the Channel Islands?

Suspicious British readers may note that Jersey ministers are accustomed to do what they are told by the UK government. The facts that this peremptory administrative action shortly preceded the House of Commons debate on police detention powers, and that the resistance to HMG’s policies had had some effect by pointing out there are other jurisdictions, where the gutters do not run with human blood, in which long detention without charge is unknown, may be entirely unrelated.

* Pedant’s corner: the dukes of Normandy held the Channel Islands for more than a century before they took possession of the English Crown.

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9 comments to States of siege

  • Thankfully that particular Order appears to have been withdrawn, with the claim that it was “badly worded”.

    See later reports in the Jersey Evening Telegraph:

    Indefinite detention order withdrawn


    States force time limit on detention

    The incident does exactly illustrate the dangers of Executive Orders affecting personal liberty, which come into force without prior democratic scrutiny.

  • The online newspaper sources quoted above should, of course, read “Jersey Evening Post” rather than “Telegraph”

  • Ed Snack

    Hmmm, if you take it that William was Edward the Confessors legitimate heir (a claim he certainly made), the large chunks of England were under the English crown before Jersey (/pedant).

  • Paul Marks

    Let us hope that polticians in Guernsey show more courage than the ones in Jersey.

    This endless bowing and scrapping to London is to try and protect their “tax haven” status – although taxes are vastly higher in both Guernsey and Jersey than they were before the “tempory, emergancy” tax levels of World War II (which have never gone away).

    In reality such weakness towards the creatures in Westeminster just makes further attacks on the independence of the Channel Islands more likely.

    They should formally declare that Elizabeth II is their head of state – but this no more puts them under the government of the United Kingdom than Elizabeth II being the head of state of Canada and Australia puts these lands under the government of the United Kingdom.

    Such a declaration is the only way to save any independence long term (it is also what Sark, the only real tax haven in the Channel Islands, should have done when “Human Rights” pressure was put upon it).

    A policy of retreat leads to more retreat – courage is needed.

  • Charles

    That report in the JEP was on saturday, in fairness to our other politicians, they’d put sufficient pressure on her that she’d withdrawn the Ministerial Order by Monday.

    While we’re on pedantry: the period of detention was only being dealt with under Ministerial Order because the relevant section of Primary legislation has not been implemented yet. In fairness to our other politicians, they have moved very quickly put in place statutory limits.

    Senator Kinnard, however, maintains the Order never authorised the indefinate detention of suspects, despite the fact that the wording blatantly did, and the Custody Sergeant, Duty Inspector and Police spokesman that the JEP spoke to all said they were operating on the understanding they could now hold suspects indefinately on the say-so of a Chief Inspector or higher.

    So, all-in-all, incomeptance on the part of the Home Affairs Minister, and as for the other politicoes….. I’m going for stopped clocks.

  • CFM

    Hmmm. Might this have been a trial balloon? If there had been no reaction, might the . . . deletion by diktat . . . of an ancient right to due process have been considered successful? This week in Jersey, next month in London?

    ID Cards, CCTV, Speech codes. Justified by claiming necessity to catch terrorists, racists and tax evaders.

    I stronly suspect that if the E.U. and N(ulab)KVD decide they can succeed at this sort of thing, they will not arrest Jihadis, nazis and drug dealers. They will be after “sinister and heavily armed globalist illuminati . . . ”

    Somebody tell me I’m just being paranoid. Please?

  • Laird

    Ok, CFM, you’re being paranoid. Of course, even paranoids can have enemies.

    Feel better now?

  • Paul Marks

    In the context of the United Kingdom (of which, of course, Jersey is NOT part), David Davis is getting a lot of attention on these matters.

    People should not snear at Mr Davis (although I am not saying that anyone hear is snearing at him) as he reaches more people in an average day than most of us will in our whole lives.

    For example, today D.D. had a whole hour on B.B.C. raido four – the noon call in show.

    Vast numbers of people listen to such things.