Would that be the same Deputy Montfort Tadier who, in late 2009, was one of three States Members chosen to sit on a Working Party to review the Public Elections (Jersey) Law 2002? Its subsequent report, released in July 2010, failed to even mention that Article 4
- which contains a blanket ban on prisoners voting in Jersey public elections- was known to be in direct breach of Article 3, Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights
, as a result of the Court's decision in Hirst v United Kingdom
. It therefore required immediate action
by the States of Jersey.http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyReports/2010/20034-13027-272010.pdf
What is more, I had alerted the States to this serious breach as far back as February 2005 during a previous review of the law, but they chose to ignore me.
The fact that this incompatibility with a convention right was not even referred to by the 2010 Working Party is nothing short of an astonishing breach of duty, in my opinion. Tadier could have submitted a minority report of his own on Article 4 but he still said nothing. The big question is whether that Working Party knew
about the ECHR breach but agreed not to mention it, possibly out of fear of negative electoral consequences the following year, or whether they were just completely incompetent
in their review. If they were given legal advice at the time not to recommend any change because negotiations were still continuing with Strasbourg, then they should have mentioned this in their report. This would have at least alerted all States Members and the public to the fact that the island's elections law was not humans rights compliant. It is a fact that they they have a right to know.
So thankfully for Deputy Tadier, he went into last year's elections without the taint of being the politician who gave prisoners at La Moye the vote and was therefore safely re-elected. As a consequence, it would appear on the face of it that anyone detained at La Moye on election day last year now has a bona fide claim for compensation from the States because they were prevented from exercising their human right to vote. However, I rather doubt that the prison authorities have made any attempt to inform them of this which may explain why we have not heard of any prisoners suing the States so far.
Despite his attempts to portray himself as an anti-establishment figure, the truth is that by failing to give States Members the chance to debate Article 4 in 2010, he got them out of a tricky vote-losing situation, for which they are all very grateful, I'm sure. Therefore how should that gratefulness be rewarded now?
How about the new Bailhache-controlled Privileges and Procedures Committee setting up another sub-committee in 2012 to review the same law over again
and being "minded to"
appoint Deputy Tadier to chair it? http://www.statesassembly.gov.je/AssemblyMinutes/2012/PPC%20Minutes%2011th%20January%202012.pdf
As it turned out, citizen Tadier has opted instead to take the chairmanship of another sub-committee reviewing the machinery of government, with Deputy Judy Martin chairing the latest election law review. Sir Philip Bailhache expressed reservations about Deputy Southern being appointed to the public elections sub-committee but expressed no similar reservations about Tadier's desire to chair it, so we have to presume that Montfort has Sir Philip's full confidence
All this just doesn't sit too comfortably alongside Tadier's radical public image, does it?