Jersey senator flees, alleging “dysfunctional” system

Jeremy Phillips

Who says data protection is dull? The Telegraph has just reported (see “Jersey politician charged with leaking police report ‘to seek legal asylum’”, here) that the longest-serving Jersey (Channel Islands) senator, Stuart Syvret, accused of leaking a police report, is to claim “legal asylum” in the British House of Commons on Monday because he believes he will not get fair trial on the island. Just days before he was due in court last week charged with breaching data protection laws, the former health and social services minister on the channel island, instead fled to London seeking asylum. A warrant has now been issued for his arrest.

The senator, a “whistleblower” who claimed that island officials covered up child abuse at Jersey’s Haut de la Garenne children’s home, said he would not get a fair trial on the island because the judiciary were “too politicised”. As a Channel Island citizen, the senator has automatic right to live in Britain but Mr Syvret will ask the government for “protection from harassment” from the Jersey authorities.

Following the publication on his weblog last spring of details of a police investigation into a registered nurse, he was arrested and charged with breaching the Data Protection Act. His arrest was ordered after he failed to appear in court last week for a directions hearing which, he maintained, he was not obliged to attend. He then fled the island, labelling Jersey’s criminal justice system “dysfunctional”, after prosecutors said he would probably be barred from mounting a public-interest defence in court.

This story will run and run. If any serious data protection issues are raised in it, Datanomy looks forward to bringing them to you.

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