J J Le Marquand

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J J Le Marquand

John James Le Marquand, universally known as 'JJ', was a prominent politician in Jersey in the 1950s and '60s. Coming from a St Ouen farming family, he taught himself law and became an Advocate of the Royal Court and then entered the States as a Senator, developing a reputation as a campaigner and champion of the ordinary Jerseyman.

He was also known for a mischievous sense of humour. Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson, who knew 'JJ' very well and counted him as a good friend in his early days as a reporter with the Jersey Evening Post in the 1970s, recalls two episodes which were perfect examples of his character.

"'JJ' took me under his wing from the day we first met, which was in the Police Court a few days after I started work at the JEP in July 1969. He was not the most organised of men and always used to find it difficult to juggle his time between his legal and political responsibilities. He always seemed to be running between appointments, but invariably found time to stop and talk to me.
"I recall an early Court case when he was defending a motorist who was accused of careless driving, for being responsible for a head-on collision at Hautes Croix. His client had been found to be driving on the wrong side of the road. This presented 'JJ' with what he thought was the perfect defence, because the parish boundary between St John and Trinity ran down the centre of the road at this point. "If my client was on the wrong side of the road, he was driving in St John, and the case has been improperly brought by the Centenier of Trinity, who has no jurisdiction," he argued to Magistrate Mr Michael Newell, who was not interested in this legal technicality and found the motorist guilty.
"'JJ' used to slip me regular titbits of news, and one day he gave me a copy of a secret and sensitive document from the Housing Committee, which gave me one of my first front-page leads. There was an uproar afterwards about the report being leaked, and in the States the following Tuesday 'JJ' stood up and addressed the president of the committee, demanding a rigorous inquiry into how this document had come into the hands of a reporter. He then turned round to face the Press gallery, looked up and winked at me.
"Such were the politicians of the 'sixties and 'seventies. We will never see their like again."
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