HC Deb 19 May 1992 vol 208 cc93-4W
Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the reasons for the dismissal of Her Majesty's deputy bailiff in the island of Jersey.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

As the Privy Councillor with special responsibility to the Crown for Jersey, and in consultation and agreement with the lieutenant governor and the bailiff, I advised the Queen that the deputy bailiff, Mr. V. A. Tomes, should be removed from office in the interests of the effective administration of justice in Jersey.

The principal function of the office of deputy bailiff is as a judge. Mr. Tomes has a history of extended delay in his delivery of judicial judgments, despite interventions by the Jersey authorities to assist him and despite undertakings given by him to the then Home Secretary in 1990.

In October 1991, my predecessor as Home Secretary decided that Mr. Tomes might continue in office subject to his meeting conditions imposed solely to ensure that his performance of his judicial duties should be to a satisfactory standard. Mr. Tomes accepted those conditions immediately, without reservation and in writing. He failed to meet them. He also declined the opportunity to resign which my predecessor then afforded him.

The history of failure to respond to warnings given, and to undertakings received, by previous Home Secretaries left me with no confidence that Mr. Tomes could properly be relied upon to discharge the vital requirement to deliver justice within reasonable time. Therefore, in fulfilment of my duty to uphold the Crown's ultimate responsibility for the good government of Jersey, I decided that I had no acceptable alternative to advising that he must leave office.

Personally I regret having to advise Her Majesty to take this sad but necessary step.

Mr. Foulkes

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the last time a bailiff or deputy bailiff in the Channel Islands was dismissed on the initiative of United Kingdom Ministers.

Mr. Jack

There is no record of any such previous dismissal.

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