On November 17, 2010, Stuart Syvret, former politician on the island of Jersey, was sent to prison for revealing on his blog the existence of a secret police report into a number of mysterious deaths at the island's hospital. His blog named an individual who was suspected by police of causing those deaths. Stuart contended that the original police investigation was inadequate and that the nurse in question was still a danger to patients.
Former Jersey senator Stuart Syvret jailed for contempt
Jersey politician Stuart Syvret bailed pending appeal
But this is only part of the story. In 2008, Stuart was 'Father of the House' (longest serving politician) and the Minister for Social Services. As a result of whistle-blowers approaching him in private, he became aware of endemic child abuse in the island's institutions. When he tried to raise this as an issue in the Jersey States (parliament), he was sacked from his job. It was later revealed by the Chief of Police (Graham Power) that Stuart's sacking was plotted at the highest levels in the Jersey government and civil service.
Unknown to Stuart, at the same time that he was hearing reports from whistle-blowers, the Jersey police were 18-months in to an investigation into child abuse in several Jersey institutions, the most important being the former children's home of Haut de la Garenne. When this became public, the Jersey government and establishment did everything in their power to suppress the bad publicity. In one infamous incident, the then Chief Minister, Frank Walker, was caught off-camera by the BBC accusing Stuart Syvret of 'trying to shaft Jersey internationally'. It seemed that they were only concerned with Jersey's reputation and not the justice demanded by the over one-hundred victims who came forward to the police.
Many of those victims were robbed of their childhood. They had been cruelly abused - sexually, physically, and mentally. Some of the victims died young - of suicide, or as the result of substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviours that are the well-known response to childhood trauma. All the survivors wanted was justice: to see their abusers brought to book and for the States of Jersey to apologise for what was done to them. It seems that this was too much to ask.
Instead, the States of Jersey called them 'damaged people', 'alleged victims'. They tried to smear them as individuals and as a group. Not only that, but all of the people who were behind the effort to uncover abuse on the island were themselves persecuted:
* Stuart Syvret, politician, sacked without a hearing, defamed, prosecuted, and sent to jail.
* Simon Bellwood, social worker, sacked.
* Graham Power, Chief of Police, sacked without a hearing, his good reputation defamed.
* Lenny Harper, Deputy Chief of Police, retired before they could sack him, defamed, and subjected to a concerted campaign designed to destroy his reputation.
On the other hand, known abusers, against whom the police say they had ample evidence to charge, have been mysteriously let off.
Stuart has been sent to prison for pursuing justice for the victims and for trying to uncover the culture of concealment on Jersey. Just because he is in prison does not mean that his struggle had ended. Far from it.
We, friends and supporters of Stuart Syvret, intend to grow this campaign, to bring it to the world's attention, and to ensure that he is released from jail.
"Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise,
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell,
An innocent man in a living hell."
To help with our campaign, all that we ask is that you make yourself aware of the evidence by reading some of the links given below. If you support Stuart, please help us by publicising what has happened: email your MP (the British government is responsible for good governance on Jersey); use social networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word; write to the press (on Jersey and elsewhere); email the Jersey politicians who would like to see this 'embarrassing' episode 'put to bed' (their own words).
Above all we have to let them know that Stuart is not alone. They haven't got away with it. This fight is just beginning.
Unlike most of the Jersey politicians, who have behaved disgracefully, the survivors have shown great dignity, patience, and humanity. Below, I reproduce some posts from Stuart's blog. They are tenderly recalling a boy named Michael O'Connell who hanged himself at the age of 14 rather than be sent back to Haut de la Garenne where he had been violently and sexually abused in the very cellars which the Jersey government now say did not exist.