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Businessman prepares legal challenge to the CCA

Businessman prepares legal challenge to the CCA

Tuesday 08 September 2020

Businessman prepares legal challenge to the CCA


A businessman is taking legal action against the CCA, who he has accused of "misusing their emergency powers" and running an "authoritarian" regime that is "depriving thousands of islanders".

Tim Chesney, CEO of Compass Group Ltd, which operates out of Guernsey, has instructed advocates to prepare a judicial review which will be submitted against the Civil Contingencies Authority and the Director of Public Health.

Mr Chesney will argue that they have misused their emergency powers and will also claim 'false imprisonment and deprivation of liberty' under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

"There is patently no longer an 'emergency' in Guernsey, but those powers have still not been relinquished, and most egregiously this state of affairs continues even as the General Election approaches," said Mr Chesney.

"The CCA are expected to act proportionately, but many people believe that they have not done this. On the contrary, and despite many comments and observations both in the States of Deliberation and the media, there has been a steadfast refusal to move to level 5c, and there is no date when this will end."

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Pictured: The judicial review is being prepared against the States of Guernsey and the Public Health Director, who are often seen heading up the live press conferences. 

"This creates a continuing climate of anxiety and uncertainty for many islanders and it causes mental ill health, it is a serious deterrent to leisure and business visitors who would otherwise come to the island, and this absence of visitors has caused colossal economic damage. It is a giant impediment for islanders who wish to or need to travel off the island even for a day."

Mr Chesney said the quarantine regulations imposed by the CCA are "oppressive" and that islanders "are being subjected to the typical tools used by authoritarian regimes".

"As we enter the autumn the draconian rules applied by the CCA are still being enforced with an iron fist and there is no date when this will end," he said. "Quarantine is imposed with intrusive checks, a fine of up to £10,000 hanging over people's heads, an arrestable offence even for minor transgressions, and there are snitchers hotlines to report neighbours, which many people find intimidatory."

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Pictured: Mr Chesney has accused the CCA of showing a "steadfast refusal" to move to Phase 5c of the exit strategy, which would see travellers tested on arrival.

He said legal action has been under consideration "for some time" and has the endorsement of a wide cross-section of residents, including senior finance professionals, retailers and business owners. 

"Lawyers have been instructed, papers will be served in the near future, and there will be a legal challenge to the CCA," he told Express. "This will bring matters into the full glare of the media, both on and off the island.

"It will present the first opportunity for a long overdue scrutiny of the CCA's actions, their tenure, their modus operandi, the competencies of those who have taken the actions, the scope of those actions, their intentions and the outcomes as well as the staggering costs to the island that have already been incurred and which are accelerating, to the detriment of every taxpayer."

Deputies Gavin St Pier and Heidi Soulsby have responded, correcting some of Mr Chesney's assertions around decision-making, and pointing out specifically that Dr Brink is not a member of the CCA. Their reply and Mr Chesney's letter can be read in full HERE. 

Deputy Gavin St Pier

Pictured: Policy & Resources President Gavin St Pier is the Chairman of the Civil Contingencies Authority.

"While we, of course, recognise that the travel restrictions in place have been challenging for many islanders, at all times the CCA has had the community’s health and wellbeing at the forefront of decisions. All CCA regulations are by law also time-limited and subject to debate and approval by the States. We are standing in the upcoming general election so that is the ultimate opportunity for us to be held to account.

"We note your correspondent’s comments about planned legal action so will provide no further comment."

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