Government had already agreed to pay Lasike money before Supreme Court case

Government had already agreed to pay Lasike money before Supreme Court case

'Aminiasi Kefu said the Crown had offered to pay TP$$223,385 to cover the period from July 9, 2012 to November 24, 2014, without going to court.

The Tongan government had already accepted that it was obliged to pay Lord Lasike moneys owed to him before the recent court case, Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu said today.

Kefu, who is also the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the Crown had offered to pay TP$$223,385 to cover the period from July 9, 2012 to November 24, 2014, without going to court.

However, Lord Lasike did not accept the offer and instead began a case in the Supreme Court where he sought a declaration that:

  • His removal as Speaker and as a member of the Legislative Assembly was unlawful and in breach of the Constitution;
  • He did not resign nor was he dismissed after impeachment as a member of the Legislative Assembly;
  • He remained a member of the Legislative Assembly from 9 July 2012 until the end of his term on 24 November 2014;
  • He was entitled to receive payment of his remuneration from 9 July 2012 until 24 November 2014, along with interest.

The Supreme Court did not grant the first three declarations for which Lord Lasike applied.

“It held that the removal and replacement of Lord Lasike in the Legislative Assembly was not unlawful simply because his conviction was subsequently quashed,” the Acting Attorney general said.

“This was because Court orders must be treated as valid and may be acted upon unless and until they are set aside.

“Therefore acts done in reliance upon a judicial order are protected in law, because they are acts done in the execution of justice which are compulsive.

“The Supreme Court also held that once the conviction was quashed Lord Lasike was entitled as far as possible to be restored to all things which by reason of the judgment he had lost,” Kefu said.

This meant he should be paid the money he would have earned had he continued in his position.

Lord Lasike had also asked for interest to be paid on the money owing, but the Supreme Court refused this.

The Supreme Court left it to the parties in the case to agree on costs or else apply for costs in writing within 21 days.

Either part can lodge an appeal by March 16 this year.

The main points

  • The Tongan government had already accepted that it was obliged to pay Lord Lasike moneys owed to him before the recent court case, Acting Attorney General ‘Aminiasi Kefu said today.
  • Kefu, who is also the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the Crown had offered to pay TP$$223,385 to cover the period from July 9, 2012 to November 24, 2014, without going to court.
  • However, Lord Lasike did not accept the offer and instead began a case in the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that he should be paid moneys owing to him, but dismissed his other claims.

For more information

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

 

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