On October 31st Cayo South Area Representative Hon. Julius Espat took the Speaker of the House Hon. Michael Peyrefitte to Court following the August 26th commotion inside the National Assembly which saw Hon. Espat dragged out of the chambers by the Police on Peyrefitte’s orders. Since then Hon. Espat has been banished from House Sittings and, reports have it, he can’t even be seen near the premises.


Hon. Espat and his attorney Andrew Marshalleck turned to the Court, seeking an injunction on the Speaker’s decision and a declaration that Peyrefitte’s decision was illegal. While the Court reviews the case, today Peyrefitte’s attorney Acting Solicitor Nigel Hawke entered a request for the case to be dismissed on the argument that the Judiciary does not have any jurisdiction over the proceedings of Parliament.


Hawke submitted that House of Representatives is regulated by the Speaker who is guided by the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives. The Court heard the submissions and set December 6th as the date for a decision. The media caught both sides outside the Court and heard from them.


Screen_Shot_2016-11-22_at_7.57.02_PMAndrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Hon. Julius Espat


“Mr. Espat brought a constitutional claim for certain declarations and injunctions against the Speaker and the Clerk arising out of his purported suspension, and forcible removal from the premises which am sure you can all recollect, the defendants who are the Speaker, the Clerk and the Attorney General have offered no defense to the claim on the merits yet, but instead applied to have the matte struck out on two grounds; they say that the courts lacks jurisdiction to inquire into the internal affairs of parliament and that Mr. Espat has an alternative remedy for redressing what happened, this is to go back to the house for resolution to terminate the suspension, those are the grounds for the application.”


Reporter


“What will the CJ determine at the next sitting on the 6th because that is a little long term will he determine the substance of that claim or will he determine it should be set aside?”


Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Hon. Julius Espat


“No, not set aside but struck out, he will decide whether it should be struck out now the curious position is that if it is not to be struck out then what is left because there is no defense to fall back then there will be some sort over of whether or not there will be any title to go back and now put a defense.”


Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House

“Absolutely I won’t comment on it because normally when we are on this state submissions remain on both sides, the chief Justice has set December 6th that 1:30 for a decision so it would be totally improper for me to comment on what has been put forward to him today.”


Reporter


“However the argument was made in there that the suspension was completely invalid because you deviated from procedures, the house never voted on it, these are made all over the floor are these true Sir?”


Screen_Shot_2016-11-22_at_7.57.19_PMHon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House


“And we made a counter argument to that, I will not get into the merits of it because a decision has to be made on it.”

 

Reporter


“Do you feel it is unfair that as speaker of the House and as head of the Parliament you are being taken into court, basically your conduct as speaker is being put on trial in this court?”


Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House


“Am a lawyer, a past politician and a current Speaker of the House there is very little that I say is unfair, when you are the Speaker of the House you are a target, you have to live with that you are brought up to court, you are put on social media that is the name of the game you can’t cry about that.”


There are reports that the last House of Representatives Meeting for the year will be held on December 16th. The question, then, is: will the Hon. Espat be allowed at that House meeting if the Court does not provide a ruling by then?


Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House


“It is always my expectation we always be thirty one members there but the chief Justice will make a decision on that so we will know whether or not; one particular member will be allowed to be there I suspect but whatever the Chief Justice decides that is the decision that we all have to respect .”


Reporter


“Can you clarify isn’t that decision on the 6th of December supposed to be on whether the application will be struck out or not?”


Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House


“Well, I don’t know which part of it the chief Justice will decide because what the claimant is also asking for is injunctive relief so I don’t know if the decision on the application will also come on with some injunctive relief, I don’t’ know.”


Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Hon. Julius Espat


“I am not aware that the meeting has been set for December 16th but I expect that if this matter is not concluded by December 16th and he presents himself there he will be prevented from participating but this only goes to the damages that he would be entitled to once he succeeds on this claim.”


Marshalleck also rejected any notion that Hon. Espat is negotiating alternative reliefs to the Court’s orders, as claimed by Peyrefitte in his interview.

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