FeaturesJudgement and Justice

Judgement and Justice

If the rebellious Scottish fulfil their dream to break from the United Kingdom to set up a rogue state founded on Irn Bru and deep-fried Mars Bars, then surely an independent Jersey can only be just around the corner. The crapaud will be free to follow his own customs, worship his own gods and devise his own laws, free from the meddling imposed by those softies over in the mainland.  The so-called House of Lords wouldn’t know an ormer from a lavoir, and for six hundred years have ignored the pleading of the Jerseyman to be free, perhaps because all 86 people who actually speak Jerriais were occupied organising Parish fetes or playing petanque.

As a calabrese grower for seven decades and now Shadow Justice Minister for the Jersey Independence Movement, it will be my honour to come up with a system for settling our differences that will be closer to the true independent spirit of our Island home. Whether the question is the crucial matter of seaweed-gathering rights in the bay of Grouville or damage caused by a roaming heifer, our courts will dispense justice in the name of the people, and there will be no more travesties imposed by outsiders, like the time Didier Syvret overdid the calvados and was imprisoned for ramming his lobster boat into the French coastguard.
The Jersey Independence Movement is nothing if not democratic, and so we would like to canvass the views of any Jersey-born male, older than 50, who owns at least one vergee of land.  At our last meeting at The Farmer’s Inn, the following suggestions were tabled before a scuffle broke out as to whether refugees from Sark should be welcomed to an independent Jersey or quarantined on the minqiers until they learn to walk on two legs.

Now, a few of the lads have got a bit carried away watching this Game of Thrones business, but they promise that its popularity has nothing to do with all those feisty maidens with their crumpets out.  This true historical tale could be based on Jersey itself, with its feuding Starks and Lannisters a whisker from our own Carrés and A’Courts, and that nice Miss Targaryen exiled to La Rocco Tower where apparently a working brassiere cannot be found.  That’s a discussion for when the wives are at bingo, but it has been noticed that in this world the men of honour (and the occasional scheming midget) are permitted to nominate a champion to sort out their legal grievances in single combat.  In 2009 Mick Rondel tells me he paid enough in injury compensation to purchase a new glasshouse, and so there is a strong appetite amongst us to see a few of our overpaid advocates equipped with rusty swords and dropped into some sort of jousting arena off the Ronez loop road. The loser will have their head mounted on a spike attached to Terrence the Train.

Even within the society of true Jersey patriots, it is true to say that some divisions still exist, most obviously the historic schism between the liberal, modern folk of St Helier (plus outlying districts) and those who uphold the traditional ways of the countryside.  In an independent Jersey, we must give thought to whether there should be different laws for different ways of life, and so a vocal faction in our organisation have proposed that countryside justice be delivered by those who live in it, at the point of a frouque if necessary.  A fair hearing would be guaranteed by the ratepayers of the Parish, backed up by Afghan-style sharia law administered by the National Trust and Men of the Trees. I think few people would argue that our country parishes would not be improved by harsh punishments dealt out to those convicted of leaving dog mess, inappropriate barbecues and breaking the speed limit in green lanes.  As for planning permission, I think I can speak for all of us and say we can sort this out amongst gentlemen without it needing to be discussed in the newspapers.

Nothing ruins a good parish assembly like people who want to start talking about politics, but it’s a sign of the times that even in St Lawrence there is an organised contingent of Marxist-Leninist labourers who regularly petition the Connetable to express solidarity with the noble workers of the Soviet Union.  My wife tells me that Soviet Russia isn’t even a place any more, but they say that about Rhodesia and my cousin Peter moved there and still sends me a Christmas card.  Now I’m a fair man, and despite some of their wild ways I must say that these left-wing rebels of ours have some persuasive ideas, like replacing an elected assembly with a faceless council of potato diggers, nationalising the production of cauliflower and ruthlessly suppressing counter-revolutionary elements in the Parish of St Clement.  I’m less persuaded by the idea of storing Chinese nuclear missiles in Val De La Mare, but I do quite like the notion of the honorary police being transformed into a Cuban-trained guerrilla army.

None of us wish to copy anything they do in the mainland, but those of us with a working knowledge of the place will see that they are saving themselves a lot of money in legal fees by allowing people to be tried by public opinion, helped by their courageous tabloid newspapers and angry users of this thing called Twitter.  It seems like everybody who was on the wireless in the 1980s is in trouble for one thing or another, and if you take a close look you’ll see that the people of England seem determined to redesign their legal system from the traditional way we dealt with witches and devil-worshippers in the olden days.  In Jersey we may not be able to draw upon the legal expertise of judges Judy, Jerry, Jules, Jeremy Kyle and Dredd, but there’s nothing stopping us putting a black hood on Oscar Puffin and judging our miscreants by means of a telephone vote (local numbers only).  We could even return to putting our wrongdoers in the stocks in Royal Square, throwing them to Humphrey the lion or exiling them to the rocks at Corbiere.  If anything is guaranteed to put an end to witchcraft in St John, it’s either going to be trials in public or just sending my mother-in-law on an all-in cruise to the Algarve.

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