Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Jersey Bankruptcy-- And Friends in High Places.


The Nomination Meeting was held last night at the Town Hall for candidates seeking to replace former Deputies Trevor and Shona Pitman who lost their seats after being declared bankrupt by the Royal Court last month. The Pitman’s are barred from public office for 5 years as a result of being disqualified by virtue of Article 8 of the States of Jersey Law 2005.
The Pitman’s problems stem from a cartoon in a Broadlands the estate agents’ advert which appeared in the Jersey Evening Post. The cartoon gave me the impression that the Pitman’s were only in the States for the money and I am not surprised that they considered the cartoon to be offensive.
The Pitman’s like many other States Members and Parliamentarians throughout the world gave up their job following their election. Whether their salary was more or less than their previous jobs was irrelevant.  If the cartoon was intended to depict the Pitman’s as money grabbers why were they singled out?  Was it because they were seen as a thorn in the butt of some the perceived Establishment figures?
The Pitman’s sought justice and took the matter to the Royal Court where unfortunately they lost and have ended up with horrendous legal fees which not only have to be paid to their lawyers but also to the other side.  Not being in a position to pay they have been declared bankrupt whereby they not only lose their home but also their jobs. One may ask where the justice is and did it make sense for the Court to take such drastic action? If the creditors hope to see any money, making the Pitman’s bankrupt, destitute and jobless is hardly the best way of going about it.
At the end of last week in the same building a lady in her late 80’s was attempting to secure £30,000 in compensation from former Magistrate Ian Christmas who had been convicted in 2012 for fraudulently inducing the lady to invest £100,000 in a US property scam. The lady had lost over £500,000 in the scam and was ordered to pay thousands of pounds in legal fees following a failed bid to secure funds from Ian Christmas. Last year a £100,000 compensation order was overturned after the Court of Appeal had found that Christmas was “balance sheet insolvent” and could not afford to pay.
The lady and a number of other people had lost considerable sums of money after they were duped into parting with their savings in what turned out to be a property scam. Some may be asking what the Magistrate’s involvement was and indeed why was he using his position to give his fellow fraudsters credibility.  His three fellow fraudsters are currently serving 4 year plus prison terms.
In court is was claimed that Mr Christmas was not opposed in principle to paying compensation but a court order would present him with the choice of bankruptcy or returning to prison. I say “Big Deal.” Mr Christmas unlike the Pitman’s was not in financial difficulties because he was seeking justice. He was a well-paid judge with friends in high places and with all the trimmings who was using his position to persuade trusting people to part with their money which for many was their life savings.
Mr Christmas was given only a fraction of his fellow fraudster’s prison sentences and was in receipt of his full salary for around 4 years whilst suspended. He chose to enter into a business arrangement and as a judge must have or should have known how deep a hole his colleagues were digging. An investigation into his activities took years and like the Court Hearing was very costly. He chose to spend thousands of pounds defending his actions and lost. 
I knew Mr Christmas who was a charming man and I am saddened to see how he has fallen from grace, but he was the instrument of his own misfortune. However unlike the Pitman’s he still has a home, a pension and savings and not been declared bankrupt. He may have had to pay for his legal fees but not the cost of the investigation and prosecution. He does not have to pay any compensation to the other investors/victims and has been able to retire to Yorkshire and enjoy the rest of his life. To seek any compensation the investors like the 80 year old lady must invest their own money, however for most they have already given what they had to Mr Christmas and his fellow fraudsters who no doubt will again cry “foul” and claim hardship if ordered to pay anything.
The Advocate pleading for Mr Christmas claimed Mr Christmas had served a prison sentence, lost his matrimonial home, been vilified publicly, been forced to leave the Island and being asked to cover a great level of debt.  Whilst some the claims like the prison sentence might be true, Mr Christmas can hardly claim to be a victim of some conspiracy to inflict him with hardship when he had inflicted untold hardship on his victims who have no means of redress because Jersey’s Financial Services which claims to be world class still does not have an Ombudsman nor a compensation scheme.
As a child it was drummed into me that crime does not pay, 60 plus years later I have found that some time’s crime does pay or/and some time’s the punishment does not fit the crime. It may well be that with hindsight the Pitman’s may have been better advised to swallow the insult inflicted on them, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and was their punishment when seeking justice really fair. I am told that the Privileges and Procedures Committee is looking into Article 8 of the States of Jersey Law and hopefully it will find that it is too draconian and no longer fit for purpose.
However the States are all the poorer for the loss of Trevor and Shona Pitman and the Investors are all the poorer for their involvement with Mr Ian Christmas, Mr John Lewis, Mr James Cameron and Mr Russell Foot. It is often said that life is unfair and justice is blind. Making the Pitman’s bankrupt and not Mr Christmas does not add up unless one takes into account who they all are and who has friends in high places.


Postscript Friday 21st February 2014.

I regret to inform readers that the elderly lady referred to in my Blog above has recently passed away. She was obviously a lady of principle who did not want to let those who had conned her get away with her life savings. As such she was prepared to risk what little she had left to pursue Mr Christmas to the end of her days.

She deserved better from the Courts and those who employed to safe guard the interests of justice. Mr Christmas was ordered to pay in instalments only a portion of the money he and his colleagues took from the lady. I don't know what the ruling is now that the lady has died, but I hope that what is still owed will be paid to the beneficiaries of her will.

May she rest in peace. 


Postscript  Saturday 8th March 2014

I am pleased to report that the Appeal Court has ruled that sum of money still outstanding must be paid in instalments to the lady's Estate.  

43 comments:

  1. The corrupt judiciary wanted rid of the Pitman's because they spoke out against the endemic corruption infesting the "justice" system and government. This was always a political court case as has clearly been shown by making the Pitman's bankrupt homeless and jobless. If their creditors wanted their money they would have made sure the Pitman's remained in employment so they could make payments. So the creditors make them bankrupt which causes them to lose their income how does that make financial sense? It doesn't but it makes political sense to those who wanted the Pitman's gagged.

    Philip Bailhache.

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    1. I agree with your comment, but not that you are Philip Bailhache.

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  2. Good post, Bob and right on the money. This was politically motivated as Broadlands and theJEP stood to make more money whilst we were in the States and they could have sought arrests on a degree of our earnings. of course - it is true that they would have had to pay us back once Strasbourg throws our Paedophile protecting. Jurat type 'justice' out but there you go. As it happens it has been alleged to us today that some interesting sweeteners may have been offered to secure this. Time will tell and the truth always ultimately outs... Keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks Trevor, there is much that does not add up and it does appear that favourable consideration was given to Mr Christmas but not to you.

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    2. At some point, I expect another case linked to Jurat Le Breton will enter the public domain.

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    3. Could Trevor please elaborate on the kind of sweeteners that might have been involved in his case?

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    4. I have sent an email to Trevor asking if he would like to elaborate.

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    5. May I ask, Bob, what position you reached in the States of Jersey Police Force and whether you had experience in investigating technical crimes such as fraud?

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    6. If you look at the note under the photograph of me on my bike you will see that I served in the Metropolitan Police. I did not specialise in fraud.

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    7. I do apologize for suggesting you may have been an officer in the States of Jersey Police Force, certain postings below referred to you as ex-police and I assumed that this was ex-local police.

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    8. Not to worry, had there not been height restrictions in those days I might have joined the local police, but have no regrets in joining the Met Police.

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  3. It sends a clear message that no justice or human rights concern or financial practicality or even risk to reputation will get in the way of the oligarchy silencing its critics.

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  4. Absolutely excellent post on double standards at play here.

    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/01/31/catholic-diocese-in-montana-files-for-bankruptcy-to-compensate-abuse-victims/

    "he Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena planned to file for bankruptcy protection Friday as part of a proposed $15 million settlement for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up."

    They did not plea that they couldn't pay or they would go bankrupt!

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  5. What is more, no changes have been put in place to ensure that any Crown Officer, like Mr Christmas, can be dismissed if a involved in fraud.

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    1. I am not sure what procedures are in place, but I would have thought that if a Crown Officer is convicted for fraud retaining their position would be difficult.

      I doubt think that Crown Officer should be able to be involved in business enterprises in the first place. It is apparent that people did invest in his company because they felt reassured that it had a Magistrate on board.

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  6. Perhaps Trevor could confirm if he was offered an opportunity to pay his debts on an agreement with the 3 law company's he owed money to (his, JEP's and Broadlands) or if they just went straight for bankruptcy without negotiating potential repayment terms? Was it a first resort (which would prove the assumption that it was politically motivated) or a last resort (which means it was a financial necessity for his creditors?)

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  7. Hang on a minute. Didn't the Pitmans apply to make themselves bankrupt with the Remise? This absolutely proves the conspiracy, the Pitmans were acting all along on behalf of the establishment to silence themselves. Very clever stuff.

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    1. You fool @12:16, falling for the obvious! Smart but not smart enough.

      .......The JEP was in on it too !
      Feeling a desperate sense of guilt for their history of collaboration and partisan cover-up they publishing that ridiculous cartoon. Wilfully failed to make amends and sullied themselves and Jersey's court system by winning their cases with the flaws in full view of the world.
      Secretly working in collusion with the "Pitmans' plan to silence themselves" (which you cleverly highlighted) the JEP & Broadmoors pushed the bankruptcy to it's bitter and most severe end to ensure that the Pitmans' lost their jobs so the claimants would remain out of pocket.
      All this masterminded by the JEP so that they could ludicrously increase their cover price while their reputation is at an all time low and falling fast, and while far better news and comment is available online for free.

      ....you see, all a cunning plan by the JEP to hasten it's own demise for the good of the island. Thank you JEP !



      Of course I could be wrong and it might be one of those straightforward, dull and basic fights between good and the evil of secrecy and corruption of child abuse and cover up.
      As so often @jersey "guest staring" JURAT LE BRETON, a hot favourite when an Establishment show/trial is required.

      I smell a "multi-million pound film" coming on ........ a tale about an heroic young girl ....... she thought she was a normal girl ........ but she had had been chosen by a long dead night of old ....... but due to particularly ill fortune she and her sibling lost both their parents and were put in an island orphanage ........ where they made many heroic attempts to escape and to tell of their maltreatment ........ but the parish mafia told them they were filthy liers and returned them again and again to yet more severe torment ........ until their spirit was finally broken.......

      Being a woman of fortitude our young heroin survived by taking solace in writing and poetry ....... unlike her brother who committed suicide some years later.


      Nights of Imposingworth / Crystal Island could still be a goer. It just needs a more realistic local storyline, don't you think?
      Another £200k should get it of the ground ..... Eh?

      Errrrr....... Importantly "no children were harmed during filming of this production"

      Do you think certificate 18 would be achievable if the content were toned down enough and made not too graphic?

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    2. An interesting mish-mash and I hope the young lady was a heroine and not on heroin.

      As for a film title why not a "Comedy of Errors."

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    3. Bob @19:13
      Yes, the young lady was a heroine and not 'on heroin', which she steered well clear of.

      Sorry for the typo and the omission of that all important 'e' from the end of heroine.

      Perhaps it was Freudian as her brother's decline and death was linked to abuse of those substances. Destructive behaviours are depressingly common amongst victims abuse.

      There is very disturbing research and data available on the life chances and outlook for victims of abuse, particularly of long term abuse with a sexual content.

      Some apologists on the island deride the term "survivor" [of abuse] but anyone with even basic knowledge of the subject should recognise that it is an apt term. And very survivor should be proud.

      There can be massive costs to some Jersey people expecting things 'on the cheap' or as a compromise of convenience .......... policing, child protection, law, justice, perhaps compensation even.

      Jersey's victim compensation scheme has no doubt been tempting for many but IMO is derisory. The price of a mid-range car for the most severe cases. What compensation is that for a blighted childhood and possibly a blighted life?

      The excuse of concern for public finances sings rather hollow given the amount the culpable authorities have wasted trying to avoid their responsibilities, apparently in our name as islanders !

      By far the cheapest solution is not to let these things happen in the first place, and now, most relevantly, not to let them happen again.

      I'm glad you liked the "mash". What was blended into the fantasy film storyline is unfortunately fact based.
      Further detail is not mine to tell. And this is not the time or the place

      Little wonder that feelings run high on this subject, even amongst those who maintain professional detachment.

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    4. I do like More Cunning Still's reference at 18:39 on 6 February to Jurat Le Breton as an establishment hot favourite for a show trial.

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  8. Hello Bob. As an old ex-copper do you happen to know if Tel Boy ever got found guilty of making abusive phone calls while he was a Deputy in the 1980s or is this just a rumour?

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    1. Slight correction, as young ex-copper to the best of my knowledge I don't think Tel Boy was found not guilty of making abusive phone calls but knowing Terry I would not be surprised if he did not make the odd heated phone call.

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  9. RIP SIMON ABBOTT.

    Maureen Morgan.

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  10. Bob. never heard you so passionate....
    Glad to hear you speaking out about the disgraceful treatment of the Pitmans

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  11. Bankruptcy by lawyers fees is a long favoured method used by the establishment for getting all manner of things they want; From property, businesses, punishment and now removing of political dissent.

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    1. Legal fees have long been a way of denying the innocent of achieving justice and Jersey is no different apart from lawyers fees which are so much higher across the board and a Legal Aid system which is not fit for purpose.

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  12. Bob.

    Roland Wright victim and anti chid abuse campaigner TOM PERRY

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    1. Well done with another good posting. It is evident that there are still many victims who do not have the confidence to complain or when they do they are not believed.

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  13. Forgive my ignorance but did the Pitman's choose to have themselves declared bankrupt in oredr to deny their creditors ant financial recompense, or were they automatically declared bankrupt which would suggest a more sinister, political motive.
    Most importantly, were they offered repayment terms which would again negate the suggestion of political motivation?

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    1. You raise a good point and there is similar one above which I sent to Trevor and Shona with a request that the questions be answered. I have not yet received a reply.

      In my blog I questioned the logic in making someone bankrupt because it meant that the Pitman's would be removed from the States along with the loss of income. Whether it was because the other side pushed for it or the Pitman's requested it it still did not make sense.

      With the Christmas case the court fell short of making him bankrupt, therefore it adds to the relevance of your question.

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  14. Bob.

    Exclusive interview with Stuart Syvret concerning his Google suspension and MUCH MORE.

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  15. I recall that the Pitman's actually seeked to address the situation in a different manner, under an old law and I may be wrong, but it did seem that option would have been the best option to enure those who seeked recompompense would have received a better fnancial outcome. (I have not checked back, as I do note have the time to loacte all info, right now).

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    1. I believe that you may well be correct. I stand to be corrected but I think the application was not accepted by the Royal Court.

      I had emailed Trevor asking whether he would clarify some of the points previously raised but as yet I have not received a reply.

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  16. Your readers may be interested in the fact that Google appear to have been mislead by the Jersey authorities with regards to various postings on Stuart Svyret's blog (now copied and available at "<a href="http://photopol.com/ss/Ex-Senator Stuart Syvret Blog PRIVATE EYE AND JERSEYGATE.htm>Private Eye - Stuart Syvret </a>"), with regards to effectively telling Google that Graham Powers affavidif was alledgely defamatory!

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  17. The Graham Power Affidavit was published in my Proposition P166/2010 which was about the findings in the Napier Report in which I asked Members to formally apologise to Mr Power for his unfair suspension.

    Therefore I believe the Affidavit was already in the public domain before Stuart published it on his blog.

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  18. It is interesting to learn that Stuart Syvret is being brought Julian Clyde-Smith tomorrow (Wednesday) morning following an application being made by the Law Officers' Department for him to be made bankrupt. Syvret said that this occurred shortly after Mr and Mrs Pitman were declared en desastre in the Royal Court, also by Julian Clyde-Smith, in circumstances where it is fairly clear that their creditors would have been better off if no such declaration had been made be it through an arrest on income or otherwise.

    It is also quite interesting to note some of the phraseology used by the lawyers in Stuart Syvret's censorship through data protection case where it is said that they had applied for his blog to be taken down by Google previously but were forced to obtain a court order. The implication being that all of the actions were framed to deliver one or more court orders to Google in forms that would secure the removal of postings to Syvret's blog, which Charles Gray (the substantive judgement) or Julian Clyde-Smith (the contempt of court judgement) did.

    It is becoming clear that Julian Clyde-Smith, like Jurat Le Breton, forms part of the judicial apparatus used by successive Bailiffs to distance themselves from political intervention and political activism in Jersey by the judiciary. A reliable judicial 'hit man' if you will. Evidently, Clyde-Smith is in his element, enjoying quasi-political power exercised through the Island's judicial function under the watchful eyes of the Bailiff and the Deputy Bailiff and exercising it brazenly, beyond restraint.

    Is the civil service and the judiciary (the States' Assembly itself having proved its own incapacity to manage the balance of powers effectively) really that petrified by the potential for Stuart Syvret to stand for election in this year's election? This is a person, among others, the State has sought to smear in one way or another over a number of years. I very much doubt whether Syvret or any real political heavyweight concerned with justice in the Island would bother to stand for there is no benefit in doing so. None of the traditional local media (also known as the State Media) will properly report anything relating to the levels of corruption in Jersey, the Bob Key HG incident being a case in point. No, standing for election would give the States Assembly a legitimacy it really does not deserve.

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    1. Thank you for a very interesting but worrying comment. I don't have any data but it would interesting to know how many people have been made bankrupt and what is their political background.

      If Stuart Syvret is being taken to the proverbial cleaners along with the Pitman's who is next on the hit list?

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    2. Yes it is very worrying. Corruption with a capital C, as in Syvret's 17 October 2013 blog posting. I am not sure that "the powers that be" are attempting to make their opponents bankrupt in the direct sense. However, I suspect that progressive politicians are more likely to have their collars felt by enforcement bodies such as the Police, and the JFSC with the result that they are more likely to be affected. The pattern of attack starts with the State making a claim, or resisting a claim which, if formally challenged, is brought before the Royal Court.

      Once the matter is in the Royal Court, the Law Officer's Department (or their agents) will use any underhand tactic to thwart and generally exhaust the claimant or defendant as the case may be, both financially and practically. This is one of the reasons I expect the Law Society law was amended to mostly restrict the disciplinary procedures to private sector lawyers. Ultimately if the States' legal representatives are recognized by the presiding judge and compliant jurats to be acting in a manner compatible with the judiciary's internal policy (that is, restricting claims against the State, muting allegations against the State or persecuting somebody or other) the States' legal representatives' "case" will prevail and a costs order may be made against the challenger. With the advent of comparatively high levels of discontent in the States chamber and outside, the State will take any opportunity to minimize the challenger's political or critical voice and damage their private life, all to achieve the internationally renowned outward appearance of "political stability". If the State holds a judgment debt from a costs order and their opponent has few assets, bankruptcy is a possibility although I am doubtful simply because it has the effect of writing off most of the debt, and creates costly work for the Viscount. In such a case I would expect them to harass the subject by distraining on their goods and property (seize and sale), applying for an arrest on wages and maintaining financial pressure on them. In Syvret's case, it appears bankruptcy is only being used to prevent him standing for election. The State would be financially better off letting him win an election and arresting a proportion of his income over 3 years (@£25k per annum the £70k debt in relation to the driving licence and data protection prosecution would be cleared).

      The question is, which of the available judges and jurats are selected to preside over any given case? Who makes the decision as to who sits in a particular case? Not entirely sure, but the Bailiff's Judicial Secretary is likely to be involved at some point. Jurat John Le Breton has been presiding in several allegedly corrupt cases: Power v Minister for Home Affairs, the Pitmans' case and at least one other. Julian Clyde-Smith presided over Power v Minister for Home Affairs, the Pitman bankruptcy applications and at least one other. Oh, and of course the Syvret bankruptcy application that was due to be held today.

      The Clyde-Smith Le Breton combination also presided over the re-count application of Paul Le Claire in the 2011 elections. A case involving potential political sensitivity? The Court allowed a re-count so the proceedings do not appear to have been tainted but, in retrospect, was this pair selected to avoid a potentially inconvenient outcome?

      To the man in the street, Clyde-Smith would appear to be politically neutral not being involved in the day to day management of the Bailiff's Office or presiding over the legislature. In practice, though, it appears he is often appointed to give the appearance of independence in circumstances where political intervention may be necessary.

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  19. It is a case of "Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?" or "Who watches the watches the watchman?

    Accountability is a major issue in Jersey and it is very much a case of chipping away at the Inner Circle who really control the Island.

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  20. The watchman surely does need to be watched. I have in mind the careful analysis and publication of evidence in connection with alleged or actual corruption in Jersey.

    The blogging community is doing an excellent job of keeping pressure on the establishment, but there is a need for analyses backed by evidence and substantive reasoning.

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