Supreme Court declares Lord Lasike entitled to compensation for wages lost after dismissal

    Lord Lasike was entitled to recover pay he would have received from the moment he lost his seat as an MP and the Speaker’s Chair to the end of that session of Parliament.

    Lord Chief Justice Paulsen made the ruling in the Supreme Court this week after hearing an appeal from Lord Lasike over his conviction and loss of position as an MP and as Speaker of the House.

    Lord Lasike had held the title and estates of Lasike since  2002.   In 2005 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly as the Nobles’ Representative for ‘Eua.  He was re-elected in 2008 and again in 2010.

    On   December 17, 2010, he was made Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

    On July 9, 2012, Lord Lasike was convicted in the Supreme Court of possessing ammunition without a license.

    Lord Lasike lost his hereditary title and estates of Lasike, his seat in the Legislative Assembly and his position as Speaker.

    All payments of remuneration, allowances and other entitlements to the plaintiff ceased from July 9, 2012.

    Following his conviction, the Attorney General, Mr. Adsett,  insisted that he would  advise  the king to revoke Lord Lasike’s appointment as  Speaker  and  the  Legislative  Assembly  to  call  a  by-election,  despite the fact that Lord Lasike was appealing his conviction.

    The former Speaker successfully appealed his conviction in the Supreme Court in October 2012 and regained his title and estates, but not his seat in Parliament or position as Speaker.

    Lord Fakafanua was appointed to replace him as Speaker on 20 July 2012.

    A by-election was held on 2 August 2012 and Lord Nuku was elected to replace the plaintiff as the Nobles’ Representative for ‘Eua.

    On February 7, 2013, His Majesty in Council restored the plaintiff to his hereditary title and estate of Lasike.

    In the current case, Lord Lasike had asked the Supreme Court to declare that his removal from the Legislative Assembly and as Speaker was unlawful and contrary to the Constitution, that he remained a member of the Legislative Assembly from July 9, 2012, until the end of its term on November 24, 2014 and that he was entitled to be paid the wages and entitlements that would have been owing to him after July 9.

    The Crown argued that Lord Lasike ceased to   be a member of the Legislative Assembly as a matter of law and that his appointment as Speaker was lawfully revoked by His Majesty the   King.

    Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said Lord Lasike regarded himself as the victim of a hasty decision to remove him, despite the fact that his appeal had not been heard.

    “He says, and I accept, that he was greatly distressed by what had occurred and publicly humiliated and that he had to  move  from his home in Taufa’ahau Road Kolofo’ou to Lakepa to get away,” Lord Chief Justice Paulsen said.

    The judge said while Lord Lasike could not be restored to his positions in the Legislative Assembly, he was entitled to the salary and emoluments attaching to those positions of which he was deprived.

    Lord Lasike was therefore entitled to payment from the Crown of the moneys he would have earned as a member of the Legislative Assembly and as Speaker from July 9, 2012 to November 24, 2014, totalling TP$223,385.

    The main points

    • Lord Lasike was entitled to recover pay he would have received from the moment he lost his seat as an MP and the Speaker’s Chair to the end of that session of Parliament.
    • Lord Chief Justice Paulsen made the ruling in the Supreme Court this week after hearing an appeal from Lord Lasike over his conviction and loss of position as an MP and as Speaker of the House.
    • The judge said while Lord Lasike could not be restored to his positions in the Legislative Assembly, he was entitled to the salary and emoluments attaching to those positions of which he was deprived.
    • Lord Lasike was therefore entitled to payment of TP$223,385.

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