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Sep 1, 2021

Minister Julius Espat Wins Court Case against Government

There is a meeting of the House of Representatives this Friday, but this week, we were reminded of the day Julius Espat was kicked out of the House of Representatives.  That happened back on August twenty-sixth, 2016 during a heated exchange with then-House Speaker, Michael Peyefitte.  He ordered police officers to physically remove Espat after suspending him for five months. Espat took his fight to the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, Justice Westmin James ruled in his favour and ordered the government to pay him ninety-five thousand dollars in benefits, salary that was withheld and damages.  While Espat declined to comment on the case to News Five, today attorney Andrew Marshalleck told us the ruling proved that Peyrefitte’s decision to eject Espat from the House was indeed a breach of his constitutional rights because the Speaker did not follow the Standing Orders of the House.


Andrew Marshalleck

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat

“Order forty-four requires that the House suspend him, not the Speaker and the procedure for the House to suspend him had not been properly invoked or followed. Specifically, somebody should have moved a resolution for his suspension – for his naming and suspension and then that resolution should have been put to a vote by the House to approve or disapprove the suspension. That never took place. And that was really indisputable in the facts. It was publicly recorded and broadcasted and there was never any vote. So, once it was recognized that the Standing Orders themselves require a vote and there was not vote. Then it means that his suspension was unlawful and the consequence of the unlawful suspension was to breach a number of his fundamental constitutional rights, being his right to participate in the proceedings of the House subject only to the Standing Orders to associate with other members and of course, his right to equal protection of the law. So, those were all violated and the court found – gave declarations to that effect and awarded the restoration of all the benefits that were withheld from him as a consequence of his suspension and also awarded vindicatory damages in the sum of fifty thousand dollars plus costs.”

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