This is a story, staggering in its simplicity but shrouded in mystery nonetheless.
Candidates for the Jersey parliament (States of Jersey) are supposed to submit their expenses returns by a certain date following the election. In the past, compliance was seriously deficient, so the Attorney General sought tougher legislation with significant fines and possible loss of seat for successful candidates. This legislation was passed by the States a few years ago.
You would imagine that this would have ensured 100% compliance, particularly among successful candidates. Well, following the 2018 election the Attorney General recently decided to prosecute three candidates for non compliance. Two of these were successful in the elections and risked losing their seats.
Meanwhile a former States member, but unsuccessful candidate this time round, decided to do a bit of investigating and found that half the States members, including the Council of Ministers, were non compliant.
As soon as this was revealed the Attorney General abandoned the existing prosecutions.
This has raised a number of questions:
- Why did the AG decide to prosecute?
- How did he pick the particular three to prosecute?
- Was he not aware of the extent of non-compliace?
- What was the real reason he failed to prosecute other non-compliant candidates?
- And why, precisely, did he abandon the prosecutions
Despite this being a serious constitutional crisis, Jersey's main stream media have ignored it until their feet were put to the fire, and ITV and BBC (local branches) have now interviewed the researcher, Nick Le Cornu, and the blogger who published his research, Mike Dunn (alias Tom Gruchy).
Meanwhile another blogger, Niall McMurray (alias Voice for Children) has videoed the media interviews and these will ultimately be compared with the transmitted versions to see how the media are handling this. Jersey's main stream media are very, very, slow to criticise the authorities particularly on any matters related to the good, or otherwise, governance of the Island.
You can hear Mike's interview with Nick here.