Stuart Syvret, campaigner for rights of children and careleavers, jailed in Jersey

Stuart Syvret, former Senator in Jersey, who has consistently and courageously campaigned for the rights of children and careleavers and has exposed serious crimes against children on the island,  was jailed on Wednesday 2nd November 2011. Stuart lost his appeal on 7th November and therefore remains in prison.  

The hearing was the culmination of a long legal process which began when Stuart was charged with data protection and minor motoring offences in 2009 which ended last week when he was jailed by Magistrates for failing to carry out community service for contempt of court.The charge related to a six-month period where Syvret left Jersey for the UK instead of facing trial in Jersey.But the 45-year-old yesterday vowed to bring a ‘habeas corpus’ hearing – a rare court action used to free a prisoner from illegal detention – later this week.

Please send messages of support to:

 Stuart Syvret (K Wing)
 HMP La Moye
 Rue Baal
 St Brelade

Stuart has asked that UK campaigners should contact their MPs urgently to request their support of John Hemming’s early day motion.


Mr. Hemmings EDM. (2370)

“That this House notes the imprisonment of Stuart Syvret; believes that the public authorities of the island of Jersey do not operate in a manner compliant with the requirements of the European Commission of Human Rights (ECHR), there being overt and significant overlaps and contaminations between the legislature, executive and judiciary; further notes that Her Majesty’s subjects in Jersey are not protected by effective checks and balances, and that there has been the political repression of former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power and former Senator Stuart Syvret; further notes that, notwithstanding the responsibility the Secretary of State for Justice has for good governance and Convention Rights in Jersey, the island’s authorities are permitted to repress opposition activists, and that the Secretary of State for Justiceand Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor have failed to act; further notes that successive governments of the United Kingdom have committed this nation to securing real democratic freedoms and the rule of law in other jurisdictions, yet in the British enclave of Jersey on the United Kingdom’s very doorstep, ordinary powerless people are oppressed by an entrenched oligarchy; and calls on the Secretary of State for Justice to appoint an independent Commission similar to that which investigated corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands, to investigate the conduct of Jersey’s public administration and to urgently bring the protections of the ECHR to Her Majesty”

Some history of crimes against children in Jersey ‘care’ homes

Jersey is 9 miles by 5 miles. It is ruled by an oligarchy voted into the government as independent candidates. A one-party system. It is not part of the UK or the EU. It is a Crown Dependency and UK Ministers have a duty to maintain the rule of law in Jersey. There have been some attempts to enforce the UK’s legal responsibilities in Jersey in relation to the child abuse investigations. 

The police investigation into Haut de la Garenne began in April 2006 after an investigation into abuse within the Jersey sea scouts. It was conducted secretly for 12 months. More than 1000 children lived in the home from the 50’s to the 80’s. Roughly between 30 and 60 at one time. It was previously an industrial school since 1867 and then since 1900 Jersey Boys Home. It was called Haut de la Garenne since 1960 and closed in 1986. Police interviewed over 160 witnesses and had over 40 suspects. In the 70’s Edward Paisnel who abducted and abused children and was convicted of sex offences, visited the home as Father Christmas.

Jersey police have put forward a number of prosecutions but the police expressed concern. “I can quite clearly say that the investigation is being held up. There are people on the island who just don’t want us going down the route of this inquiry” Lenny Harper – former Deputy Chief Officer Jersey police. Harper has said that the Jersey legal system is held in contempt by the vast majority of the victims. 

Care leavers have reported being kept naked in punishment cells, taken to a bath in cold water and through a secret passage to chambers where staff and the guests of staff had drunken parties and sexually abused them. They speak of suicides of their friends (Michael Collins age 14 was found hanging in the 60’s) of children disappearing and of hearing screams and banging. They report being taken to people on boats, celebrities at the Opera House and to people outside the home. The home is in a very isolated situation and overlooks the harbour and the castle. 

Yet, in May 2008 Jersey’s Bailiff, the island’s Chief Judge wrote about his dismay at journalists continuing to write about the Island’s so called child abuse scandal and subsequently the investigations have been brought to a close. 

The police investigation was unprecedented because of police willingness to listen to the accounts of care leavers and survivors and also in the intensity of forensic investigation. The police have spoken about finding the remains of at least 5 children age between 4 and 11 years. There have been over 100 children’s bones found as well as 65 children’s teeth with roots said to have come out after death. Some of the bones had been cut indicating murder. The police were looking at the period of the 60’s and 70’s particularly. The bones had been burnt and attempts made to hide the remains. 4 punishment rooms were found and a concrete blood stained bath with shackles on the wall. The police also found two pits with lime in them which is known to be used to speed decomposition. 

The Jersey Care Leavers Association has a steady core of members many of whom were in Haut de la Garenne and other Jersey children’s homes. They held a meeting at the House of Commons. The JCLA say it isn’t all about Haut de la Garenne because there were at least 5 other children’s homes on the island. UK children were placed in Jersey children’s homes. UK children were sent on ‘holiday’ to Haut de la Garenne children’s home. Children from Haut de la Garenne were sent to the UK for holidays.

There should have been a UK joint police/social work organised child abuse investigation tasked with finding out what has happened to these children who are now adults.

Two websites for Jersey care leavers ;


Davies L (2008) We must support the Jersey survivors. Society Guardian online 1st August .

Fairweather E (2008) I have known about Jersey paedophiles for 15 years. I had so not wanted to be right. London. Mail on Sunday. 2nd March 

Fairweather E (2009) The alleged victims of the Jersey Child abuse Inquiry cannot expect justice reveals the detective at the centre of the case. April 19th Mail online.

Liz Davies
Reader in Child Protection
London Metropolitan University

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