Jurat

Does Guernsey need a Bill of Rights?


There has been a deal of talk of late about Guernsey needing a Bill of Rights. I don't know what the fuss is all about. I have this old copy of the American Bill of Rights and I think what we have here in Guernsey stands up just fine.



Take the first Amendment of the 'American Bill' for example. It says there that the Government must not establish any Religion, meaning make any of them more important than the rest. We all get to pay to maintain the C of E churches, whether we attend there or not. The good news is that we do not have to pay for any of the others so that's fine.
One nil to Guernsey

The second amendment of the American Bill says that citizens have the right to bear arms. We are better off again. We can bare our legs and lots of other bits unless some nosey sod spots us at Jerbourg and complains.
Great to be in Guernsey

Amendment three is all about what can happen to a citizen in time of war. It says no citizen can have troops billeted in their houses without their prior consent. Our government hasn't any troops so we win again. OK, when we were last at war it was the enemy who billeted troops but that don't count does it?
Our system wins again

Amendment four of the American Bill says that the citizen must be secure in their homes and not subject to unreasonable search or seizure. We got them licked again.
The only people allowed to enter a Guernseyman's house without his consent are officers of the Police, Customs, Gas, Electricity, Telephone, Fire, Water, etc, etc and they have got to be reasonable, so there. Who could fault that system?

Judgement



Amendment five. In America this amendment says you are entitled to trial by Jury.
We are clear winners here again. What do a dozen strangers stepping in off the streets know about anything?
In Guernsey you get to stand before one Magistrate or you can elect in serious cases, to trial by Jurats of the Royal Court. As these bods know most of the felons anyway, having tried most of them many times, it lessens the chance of the guilty getting away with a crime, stands to reason. The really good bit about our system, is that some of the Jurats in their previous jobs had 'hands on' experience of these miscreants, so know them very well indeed.
Local knowledge wins again

Amendment six: The American right to a speedy trial. Here in Guernsey we take a more measured approach. If the suspect comes to Court too quickly and they get off then it's a waste of everybody's time. No, it's much better if they get a taste of the 'nick', just to remind them to stay on the 'straight and narrow'. After all the police would not take them to Court if they were innocent, would they?
I say we win again over the American system, we got a little bit of 'deterrent' built into ours.

Amendment seven. This one is about only being tried once for the same offence. We do it much better here, the Court keeps on trying to secure a conviction until successful. We can't have all that Police, Law Officers and Court time wasted by some smart advocate type can we? No, justice is best served when time is served. OK once in a while they get the guy who didn't do it but no system is perfect. He probably did something else that merited a custodial sentence, like not wearing his seat belt, so it sort of balances out if you take the broader view.
Narrow win for Guernsey again.

Amendment eight. In America the Court is not allowed to impose unusual or cruel punishments. We in Guernsey are years ahead. It would not enter the heads of our Magistrates or Jurats to do such a thing. All our punishments are very usual and straightforward. Just look in the newspapers to see how usual they are, they are there almost every night.
Got to be another win for Guernsey.

Amendment nine. More or less says that if there is no law against something then it is allowed. In Guernsey we have been working from the other end. Here, unless the law says you can do something, then it's illegal. Just think of the Court and Law Officers time and effort that is saved doing things this way, to say nothing of the mountains of paperwork.
Nine nil

Amendment ten says that those powers not delegated to the government remain with the people. Here in Guernsey our government has in their wisdom decided that they will make all the decisions for us as we clearly are not capable of deciding anything for ourselves. If we do not make any decisions then we can't make any mistakes can we?

Whitewash

Guernsey need a Bill of Rights, don't make me laugh!

by Gee


Jurat