Stuart Syvret v The Attorney General

JurisdictionJersey
CourtCourt of Appeal
JudgeMartin JA,McNeill JA,Perry JA
Judgment Date30 January 2015
Neutral Citation[2015] JCA 20
Date30 January 2015

[2015] JCA 20

COURT OF APPEAL

Before:

James McNeill, Q.C., President; John V. Martin, Q.C., and; David Perry, Q.C.

Stuart Syvret
and
The Attorney General

Mr Syvret appeared on his own behalf.

G. G. P. White, Esq., Crown Advocate.

Authorities

Syvret -v- AG [2012] JRC 087A.

Syvret -v- AG [2009] JRC 165.

Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2010] JRC 179.

Syvret -v- Chief Minister [2011] JLR 343.

Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2011] JRC 115B.

Syvret -v- AG [2012] (2) JLR 94.

Treasurer of the States -v- Syvret [2014] JRC 070.

Treasurer of the States -v- Syvret [2014] JRC 149A.

Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2011] JCA 146.

Court of Appeal (Jersey) Law 1961.

Syvret v AG and Connetable of Grouville [2011] JCA 130.

Court of Appeal (Civil) Rules 1964.

Crichton v Parker-Smith [2008] JCA 039.

B v N [2002] JLR N 29.

Pitmans v Jersey Evening Post and Another [2013] JCA 149.

R. (on the application of Hysaj) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWCA Civ 1633.

Wilson v Jaymarke Estates Ltd [2007] SC (HL) 135.

Uprichard v Scottish Ministers [2013] UKSC 21.

Emerald Bay Worldwide Limited -v- Barclays Wealth Directors (Guernsey) Limited, Guernsey Judgment No 2/2014.

Application for leave to appeal out of time three orders of the Royal Court.

Application for leave to appeal out of time three orders of the Royal Court

Martin JA
1

On 28 January 2015 we heard — despite an application that we should recuse ourselves, or adjourn the matter — and dismissed an application by Mr Stuart Syvret for leave to appeal out of time three orders of the Royal Court. These orders were made in connection with an application by the Treasurer of the States of Jersey to enforce costs orders previously made in favour of the Attorney General against Mr Syvret. These are my reasons for disposing of the application in that way.

2

Mr Syvret is a well-known figure in Jersey. He was a member of the States of Jersey for nearly twenty years until 2010. For much of that time he was a senator; and latterly he was for some two years Minister for Health and Social Services. He was and is a forthright campaigner. He has for some years been concerned about the way in which child abuse has been investigated and dealt with in the Island, and has taken forceful steps to bring his concerns to public attention. His view is that the scale of the child abuse problem in Jersey has been covered up by the Jersey establishment, and he has made many serious allegations to that effect.

3

In March 2009 Mr Syvret published in his blog a confidential States of Jersey Police report prepared some 10 years previously relating to an investigation into the conduct of a nurse at Jersey General Hospital. The publication of the report led to his arrest and conviction on data protection charges. Since at least that time, he has become obsessed with the idea that the entire judicial establishment in Jersey, and to some extent beyond, is corrupt.

4

As a result, on nearly every occasion on which Mr Syvret appears in court he invites the tribunal to recuse itself. He has made this application to the current Bailiff (then Deputy Bailiff: Syvret -v- AG [2012] JRC 087A); to Commissioners Tucker ( Syvret -v- AG [2009] JRC 165), Clyde-Smith ( Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2010] JRC 179), Sumption ( Syvret -v- Chief Minister [2011] JLR 343), Pitchers ( Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2011] JRC 115B), Gray ( Syvret -v- AG [2012] (2) JLR 94) and Page (twice, both in the present case: Treasurer of the States -v- Syvret [2014] JRC 070 and Treasurer of the States -v- Syvret [2014] JRC 149A); and to the full court of appeal ( Syvret -v- AG and Connetable of Grouville [2011] JCA 146). On each occasion the application has been refused. He now makes a similar application to us.

5

I quote verbatim the grounds on which Mr Syvret says that this Court should recuse itself.

“Structural ultra vires of Jersey “judicial” apparatus; case-specific ultra vires; structural ultra vires of Office of Bailiff and of Deputy Bailiff; case-specific ultra vires of Bailiff and of Deputy Bailiff; non-compatibility with Article 6 of the ECHR; judicial corruption; judicial Secretariat corruption; misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by the Judicial Greffier; misconduct in a public office and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by the Deputy Judicial Greffier; misfeasance in a public office; conspiracies to pervert the course of justice; misconduct in a public office; abuse of process; nemo debet esse judex in propria causa; qui facit per alium facit per se”.

6

The document containing these grounds explains them in the following way:–

“This particular strand of proceedings against the applicant — namely a supposed attempt to recover a purported “debt” — is but a small and most recent component in a sustained course of conduct pursued by corruptly conflicted individuals and the corruptly conflicted public authorities they control against child-abuse victims and the applicant.

A central factor in what may be termed “The Jersey Situation” is that the island's judicial function is structurally ultra vires — has become captured, contaminated and perverted by directly conflicted individuals — has been misused for prima facie criminal purposes — and has come to a point where it, itself, is little more than a criminal enterprise.

Jersey's polity — those who control it — and, in particular public offices and post-holders such as Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff, Attorney General, Solicitor General, various other judges, the Judicial Greffier and the Deputy Judicial Greffier have — in various ways and on various occasions — acted criminally so as to conceal crimes of child-abuse, of rape, of corruption, of attempted murder and of murder.”

7

We gave Mr Syvret a short opportunity to explain these matters to us. He complained that the shortness of the opportunity prevented him from developing his submissions as he wished, and represented both actual bias and a denial of his right to a fair trial. A litigant does not, however, have an untramelled right to speak as lengthily and discursively as he wishes: the court must manage its business effectively and for the benefit of all litigants, not just the litigant currently appearing before it, and it is no part of its function to provide a privileged occasion for the airing of political views, however strongly held. We had received written material from Mr Syvret in advance of the hearing, which gave us a clear flavour of what he wished to say; and his theme has become a familiar one to the courts in this Island. Although he is an able advocate, he is not a lawyer; and it was explained to him that efficient use of the court's time made it necessary to require him to focus his remarks so that they related to the issues of relevance that the court had defined. In fact, he was in the end given precisely the time he asked for to develop as he wished his theme on what he termed “structural conflict”; and well within that time he had made clear to the court what his argument was.

8

In essence, that argument came down to allegations similar to those made and rejected in many of the applications I have mentioned. Their premise is that successive Attorneys-General have been complicit in covering up child abuse, and when they have succeeded to higher office — particularly that of Bailiff — they have used their political and judicial power to victimise Mr Syvret and frustrate his attempts to reveal the truth. In his eyes, this makes the Bailiff for the time being, and his deputy, hostile parties to any litigation in Jersey involving Mr Syvret; and that in turn prevents the Bailiff or the Deputy Bailiff adjudicating in such litigation. Moreover, in his view it has the consequence that anyone appointed by the Bailiff — as Commissioners are — is similarly disqualified, as also is anyone in whose appointment the Bailiff has had any influence. He claims that it also has the consequence that anyone who knows socially a Bailiff, present or past, is likewise disqualified; and in his submissions to us he claimed that merely to have met the Bailiff or his immediate predecessors was sufficient to justify recusal. Moreover, the poison that he perceives to affect the higher echelons of the Jersey judicial system has now in his view come to affect many if not all of the staff supporting the judiciary.

9

As applied by Mr Syvret to us, the structural conflict he asserts was said to arise from the fact that we were selected and appointed to the Court of Appeal by conflicted parties — by which was meant the Bailiff in office at the time of our respective appointments. He claimed that this gave rise also to a personal conflict for each of us; and he invited us to explain the basis of our recruitment, our social links with other members of the Island's judiciary, the basis on which we were remunerated, and whether or not we were freemasons. However, despite repeated promptings, he was unable to give any other reason personal to any of us that might disqualify any or all of us from hearing his case.

10

The problem with Mr Syvret's structural conflict argument is that its premise — of misconduct by persons in senior positions in the administration of justice — is at present no more than assertion. Mr Syvret told us that he intends to litigate in order to establish the truth of his complaints; but unless and until his complaints are found to be justified the argument that the whole of the Jersey judicial apparatus is corrupted is bound to fail. That means that any application to recuse based only on the fact that the tribunal is part of the Jersey legal system is likewise bound to fail; and I consider that a tribunal faced in future with an application by Mr Syvret to recuse on the basis of the...

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