States member’s actions ‘breached public’s trust’

MAKING disparaging and offensive remarks against individuals while hiding behind a pseudonym breached the public’s trust in Deputy Chris Le Tissier, the States Members’ Conduct Panel has ruled.

Deputy Chris Le Tissier. The States Members’ Conduct Panel recommended he be expelled from the States of Guernsey after seven people lodged complaints against the new deputy after he posted insulting tweets on social media under a pseudonym over a period of time. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29384106)
Deputy Chris Le Tissier. The States Members’ Conduct Panel recommended he be expelled from the States of Guernsey after seven people lodged complaints against the new deputy after he posted insulting tweets on social media under a pseudonym over a period of time. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29384106)

Seven people made complaints against the deputy and the panel found them to have been valid on various counts, despite Deputy Le Tissier’s defence.

The deputy gave evidence in his own defence, stating that he accepted his conduct had fallen bellow the standard expected on him.

‘He had been foolish and expressed contrition,’ the panel’s report stated.

Deputy Le Tissier said he had posted on Twitter 3,000 times over 10 years and had only wanted to stimulate debate. He told the panel he had received no complaints from Twitter in those 10 years.

He had set up a new account for the 2020 General Election and accepted he should have moved everything to that account. He did not believe that the pseudonym account, which he had established many years ago, was a secret because other people were aware that it was his.

He denied being misogynistic to historian Dr Gilly Carr, but accepted he could have expressed his views better.

After considering the evidence of Deputy Le Tissier and the complainants, the panel found that the politician had breached the code in numerous ways.

‘Deputy Le Tissier tried anonymously to influence public opinion through social media,’ the report said.

‘His comments and the language used were inappropriate and at times offensive. He showed a lack of the moral principles which can reasonably be expected of a deputy.’

The report noted that the public’s confidence in Deputy Le Tissier’s objectivity was undermined by his view of how valid comments were, based on whether they were made local or non-local people.

By hiding his identity, it meant he could not be held readily accountable for his comments and was also not being open.

‘The panel believes that he was knowingly deceiving or misleading the public in the tweets sent from La Piazza restaurant and one sent commenting upon the States debates. It believes that it was reasonable to infer from them that the person writing the tweet wanted the reader to believe that he was not a Member of the States and he was therefore engaging in a deliberate deceit.’

In terms of leadership, it was noted that deputies were in effect employers. Yet Deputy Le Tissier had used offensive, sexualized language, which was not appropriate for a person of his station.

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