24 October 2019
In the judgment of the Royal Court (Commissioner Julian Clyde-Smith presiding), handed down on 21 October 2019, Mr Larsen's challenge against a notice seeking disclosure of documents issued by the Attorney General by way of an application for Judicial Review has failed.
The case concerns the decision of the Attorney General to maintain in force a notice originally issued in 2015 to Volaw Trust & Corporate Services Limited under the Investigation of Fraud (Jersey) Law 1991. The notice was maintained notwithstanding Mr Larsen’s acquittal by a Norwegian Court of Appeal in 2016 of charges of fraud and tax evasion.
Volaw had resisted complying with the Attorney General’s notice on grounds that it violated its privilege against self-incrimination but the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council had dismissed such arguments in its judgment refusing Volaw’s appeal in June 2019.
Mr Larsen also attempted to challenge the notice by applying for a Judicial Review before the Royal Court. Following a two-day hearing in late August 2019, the Court has agreed with the submissions advanced by Advocate Howard Sharp QC, counsel for the Attorney General, and dismissed the application by Mr Larsen on all grounds.
The Royal Court has found that the Attorney General’s use of the notice was lawful and that maintaining it in force had not breached Mr Larsen’s right to presumption of innocence under Article 6(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights nor infringed upon Mr Larsen’s right to respect for his private life under Article 8 of the Convention.
Jersey’s Attorney General Mr Robert MacRae QC said: “I welcome today’s judgment in which the Royal Court has upheld the validity and compatibility with human rights of a notice I had issued under the Investigation of Fraud Law.
"I am pleased that the Court agrees that the pursuit of investigations by the Attorney General is not constrained by who or what may have been suspected at the outset of an investigation. It is equally significant that the Court has found that a claim to privilege against self-incrimination in respect of documents sought under notice may provide a sufficient basis for investigation."
The judgment is published on the Jersey Legal Information Board website.