Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cyril, Che, Spartacus...standing up to be counted in JERSEY

Cyril Vibert interview 18 October 2012.

"A long habit of not thinking something wrong gives it the superficial appearance of being right..."

We have all been annoyed at being fined for some trivial matter such as not displaying a parking disc or not filling in some official form or other before the deadline.

It's not that we have intended to break any law but we are sometimes treated as "criminals" just for a simple lapse of memory. Nobody is a victim. There is no loss or injury but somehow the "system" demands that we should be punished and/or inconvenienced and we have all wondered why? What really is the purpose of imposing a "criminal" sanction on otherwise innocent people trying to cope with our ever more complex style of life?

For Cyril a parking ticket  or "notice" in St Helier was the last straw and he began wondering why should he have to respond at all - who has dreamed up this complex charade of pseudo contracts, obligations, fines and other impositions?

Here he explains his thinking and why he is challenging the obscure legal mumbo jumbo that surrounds so much that passes for "justice" in and out of the court system.

Most of us just pay the fine, grumble a bit, but don't make a fuss.

Fortunately, people like Cyril come along from time to time to challenge the validity of entrenched practices and procedures. During his most recent Magistrates' Court hearing (although as with all Jersey courts the "hearing" system is not very good for the public to follow matters easily) it was obvious that his words are being noted. The Magistrate (as discussed in this video interview) was outspoken in her criticisms of the behaviour of the States' Police officers who knocked on his door demanding information. So critical indeed that their charges were quashed - but who will have learned from this experience? There was no "accredited media" presence during the hearing so presumably the lessons will not be learned by the general public - but how about the 240 or so officers of the States Police or the 250 Jersey lawyers who will be advising their future clients....?

As Cyril says there is much more to this than mere "parking fines" - the challenge he makes is to the very roots and presumptions that prop-up  judicial credibility here and elsewhere...