Weekly Client Update – 24th November

Market update

UK markets: The FTSE 100 index was down 13.35 points, 0.2%, at 7,470.23. The FTSE 250 was down 8.92 points at 18,471.91, and the AIM All-Share was down 0.36 of a point, 0.1%, at 717.72.

European markets: In European equities on Friday, the CAC 40 in Paris was up 0.3%, while the DAX 40 in Frankfurt was up 0.2%..

US markets: In the US on Thursday, financial markets were closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. They will reopen for a shortened session on Friday.

Asian markets: Asian markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The Nikkei 225 gained 0.52%, while the Hang Seng led the Shanghai Composite lower. They fell 2.01% and 0.68% respectively.


Kitchen-knife wielder found guilty of assault

A 37-YEAR-OLD woman who lunged at a man with a kitchen knife has been found guilty of grave and criminal assault.

Nilza Vieira had told the Royal Court that she only wanted to stop the man filming her on his mobile phone, and that the knife wound he sustained to his right leg was an accident. But after just over three hours of deliberating, the jury of six men and six women at her Assize trial found her guilty by 11 to one.

The victim had spoken in Vieira’s defence, saying he believed she had not meant to harm him in the attack on 25 November last year, and only intended to frighten him. He added that he did not even notice the wound to his right thigh until afterwards.

Crown Advocate Lauren Hallam, prosecuting, told the jury that the offence was “a clear and obvious grave and criminal assault”. She said that the man’s recording showed Vieira had aimed the knife towards his body and did not appear to be trying to knock the phone from his hands.

Vieira was due to receive the date of her sentencing today.


St Saviour’s Hospital site planning brief open for consultation

A NEWLY released planning brief has spelled out options for housing on the St Saviour’s Hospital site.,Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf has published the brief, which will be the subject of an eight-week consultation, to highlight planning issues affecting the area.

Developing affordable housing was the primary requirement for the site, as set out in the Bridging Island Plan. Deputy Renouf said: “This is a sensitive site with heritage interest, protected open space and a mature landscape in a prominent rural setting. “Rising to the challenges of the site will allow the future development of new homes, the possible provision of some community uses and the renovation of the important heritage buildings there.

“I look forward to hearing Islanders’ views on the draft guidance, which I will consider carefully, with ministerial colleagues, to help finalise the development brief.” The site encompasses land to the south of Route de la Hougue Bie, including the Grade 1 listed buildings and protected open space.

The planning brief is available to view at haveyoursay.gov.je/planning/st-saviours-development-brief, with the consultation open until 10 January.


Planning guidance for ‘affordable’ housing sites issued

DEVELOPERS will now be able to make tailored planning applications for 11 affordable housing sites due to the long-overdue publication of supplementary guidance.

The planning guidance, prepared by Environment Minister Jonathan Renouf, examines land allocated for development under the Bridging Island Plan – approved by the States last year – in St John, St Martin, St Mary, St Ouen, St Peter, St Saviour and Trinity. Deputy Renouf said the delay to publication was a “matter of regret” that was nonetheless “necessary” to complete the guidance.

The 87-page document sets out a series of development briefs for each of the 15 sites re-zoned for development and outlines how developers should ensure the homes are “affordable”. It is a one-stop shop for those looking to make planning applications and provides guidance for: the number and type of homes in each site; design issues; neighbouring uses; heritage and archaeology; drainage; flood risk; and land contamination and site waste management.

The guidance also includes issues with protecting existing trees, hedgerows, and local biodiversity, such as bat roosts; to matters of how best to secure access for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists – and sets out the associated infrastructure that should be delivered, including bus shelters, traffic calming, and shared open space.

However, development of some sites will depend on public drainage infrastructure and improvements to the sewerage system, which are yet to happen.

Deputy Renouf said the new guidance would “enable progress on the delivery of affordable homes on 11 sites”.

He continued: “This is a significant step forward and a major contribution to the government’s commitment to providing affordable housing. I have stated that the time taken to get to this point is a matter of regret, but it has been necessary to clarify the position on drainage infrastructure, and to develop the associated suite of revised planning guidance on density, parking, and residential space standards before this guidance could be issued.”

Deputy Renouf added that the guidance would “ensure that we are creating better places to live, by setting standards for dwellings that will be durable and flexible, and meet Islanders’ changing needs.” It was released following public consultation in May.


Four intrepid Island women take on ‘world’s toughest row’ across Atlantic

AFTER almost three years of planning, a four-woman crew from Jersey are poised to leave home at the start of a mission to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

The four working mums make up Intrepid 232, a team that does exactly what it says on the tin: the rowing quartet’s combined age is 232, and who would argue that the bold mission was anything other than intrepid?

Julie Brady, Helene Monpetit, Rosemary Satchwell and Alison Smithurst are to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge as one of 39 crews who will race from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua.

Dubbed “the World’s Toughest Row”, the event will start on 12 December, but this weekend is the last that the women will spend in Jersey until well into 2024. On Monday the crew will head for La Gomera for a final fortnight of preparation prior to embarking on the 3,000-mile race. Departure day from Jersey actually marks Ms Brady’s 60th birthday, with her team-mates making up – including some fractions – the rest of the 232.

The crew are hoping to replicate the feat of fellow Islanders Pete Wright and Steve Hayes, who formed the Dragonfish crew to take part in the 2022 version of the Talisker Challenge, reaching Antigua on 5 February this year after 54 days and 16 hours at sea.

The 3,000-mile crossing is expected to take anything between 45 and 70 days depending on weather conditions. The team’s brand-new boat, named Black Squid, has three seats, although the crew are most likely to row in pairs for two hours before resting for the same period. Each rower is set to burn 5,000 calories and drink ten litres of fluids daily.

Team Intrepid are seeking support from Islanders for their fundraising efforts around the challenge, with money collected set to be split between two causes close to the team members’ hearts. Half the proceeds will go to the Grace Crocker Foundation, which supports families while children receive medical treatment in the UK, with the remainder going to the Blue Marine Foundation, which works to restore the ocean by addressing overfishing.

The team’s fundraising page can be found at gofundme.com/atlantic-ocean-rowing-challenge-2023 while more details on the race can be found at: worldstoughestrow.com.


Branchage Clameur de Haro cut short by the Royal Court

WHEN a parish contractor took on roadside maintenance in line with the Island’s 109-year old branchage law, a neighbouring landowner used an even-older legal tool to block the work.

But after stopping the mechanical hedge-cutter in its tracks, literally, by invoking the ancient injunction known as a Clameur de Haro, parishioner Nikki de Gruchy’s manoeuvre was chopped down by the Royal Court this week after being described as “a flight of legal vanity”.

The case resulted from a dispute between the parish and Ms de Gruchy involving Rue Becq in Trinity. While the parishioner claimed the road had been illegally widened over the years and encroached on her land, Constable Philip Le Sueur cited a statutory duty under the 1914 Loi sur La Voirie to maintain a clearance of at least 12 feet above all parish roads.

In raising the Clameur de Haro, which has been enshrined in Jersey law for hundreds of years and involves a “wronged” individual issuing a public cry while down on one knee, Ms de Gruchy triggered a process which culminated in a Royal Court hearing lasting more than three hours.

Solicitor General Matthew Jowitt told the court that while the Clameur was “a significant and perhaps colourful aspect of our customary law”, there were other more proportionate courses of action such as judicial review or an order of justice. “This was a flight of legal vanity,” he said.

On behalf of the parish, Advocate Christopher Scholefield said the Clameur was not proportionate because of the relatively small amount of money involved – fines totalling £400 for breaches of the branchage law – and because the work was limited to “trimming a few twigs”. Advocate Scholefield said Ms de Gruchy had been unable to show that she owned the land in question.

He said: “It [the Clameur] was the wrong remedy done at the wrong place, at the wrong time and for the wrong reason.”

Advocate Hiren Mistry, representing Ms de Gruchy, said she had the right of possession of the land in question and had never given up this right. Rue Becq had been significantly enlarged beyond its original width of eight feet, he added, with a road surface laid on top of the land she owned. Presiding over the case alongside Jurats Gareth Hughes and Alison Opfermann, the Bailiff, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, said Ms de Gruchy had failed to show that she had been in possession of the land, or that she had suffered “wrongful interference” inherent in Clameur proceedings.

“We are satisfied the Clameur was used wrongly,” he said.

The court then considered the question of what penalty should be imposed. Mr Jowitt said the case was a “pretty egregious example” of wrongful raising of a Clameur, arguing there should be an element of deterrent.

Sir Timothy agreed with the need to deter those who might repeat the move, adding: “An act of this nature has had a draconian effect and cost a lot of time, effort and money.” After the imposition of a £1,000 fine by the court, to be paid by Ms de Gruchy within four weeks, the opposing parties came to an understanding about the next steps.

Advocate Scholefield said Ms de Gruchy would carry out branchage work in the company of a parish official by the end of November, and that there would be direct negotiations about the width of the road and related issues.

Earlier in the day participants in the hearing had taken part in a visit to the site. A full judgment, including consideration of legal costs, is expected at a later date.