From Will McMahon, chairman, and Jim Goddard, secretary, Care Leavers Association UK.
DURING the last three weeks, while we have been busy in dealing with cases of past child abuse of children in care in the UK, we have followed with concern and alarm the recent police proceedings against Senator Stuart Syvret.
The arrest and interrogation of Senator Syvret on Monday 6 April marked a disturbing development in Jersey politics. As the motion for last week’s proposed – and then deferred – debate in the States Assembly put it, this incident could colossaI damage to the reputation of Jersey and represents double standards in its application of data protection legislation.
It was all too reminiscent of numerous attempts by states elsewhere to intimidate whistleblowers whenever uncomfortable truths are unearthed.
Indeed, the clearly excessive use of numerous police officers and police vehicles reminds one of the recent police arrest of Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green here in the UK.
Going further back, there is a long history of such attacks on whistleblowers in the UK. The names of Sarah Tisdall and Clive Ponting, for example, will remind many readers of what governments routinely do to those it wishes to silence.
We share the concern of the seven Senators who sponsored last week’s proposed debate in the States Assembly and of other democrats in Jersey and elsewhere. While the debate was blocked for now, we hope that Jersey legislators will soon have
the opportunity to consider the implications of this arrest in full.
While we have had our differences with Senator Syvret about the best ways of addressing the major child abuse scandal that he and others helped to unearth, we recognise his contribution in seeking to ensure justice for the victims of that abuse.
We also recognise the importance of this development for all of those in Jersey and elsewhere concerned with the proper conduct of the justice system in cases of this kind.
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