Legal action over the handling of the Jersey child abuse investigation has been launched by a campaign group led by a Birmingham MP.
A family law campaigning group took the first step in its bid for a judicial review of what it describes as the “failure” of the British Government’s ministers for justice to “enforce the rule of law in Jersey”.
Justice for Families, co-founded by Liberal Democrat Yardley MP John Hemming and Jersey senator and campaigner Stuart Syvret, lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice in an action brought against Lord Chancellor Jack Straw and Justice Minister Michael Wills.
Its application for judicial review “relates to the investigation, charging and prosecution of matters relating to child abuse in institutions under the control of the States of Jersey, other cases of child abuse in Jersey, and any civil matters arising from such abuses”.
The Times reported that a “furious memorandum” from the senior detective in the investigation claims it has been hampered by prosecutors, destroying victims’ faith in the justice system.
The newspaper said the officer claimed that the island’s Attorney-General and his office are held in “total contempt” by victims after failing to bring offenders to justice.
Justice for Families argues that Mr Wills and Mr Straw have a duty to “maintain the rule of law in Crown dependencies”.
In written grounds backing the judicial review application, it says there is evidence that the rule of law in Jersey is “deficient”.
The organisation submits that if ministers “continue to fail to act”, the court will be asked to order them to “impose independent judicial control of charging, prosecution and trials, criminal or civil” of cases relating to what the organisation calls “the Jersey matter”.
The Jersey allegations hit the headlines following the discovery of children’s remains at the Haut de la Garenne former children’s home.
Mr Hemming, chairman of the group, said: “It is important that the rule of law applies.
“People need to have confidence - not only that justice will be done, but that it will be seen to be done.” If the go-ahead to seek permission for a judicial review is granted, it could be several months before the matter gets into court.