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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Govt’s committee gets extension to decide on Willock’s legal fees

Govt’s committee gets extension to decide on Willock’s legal fees

A further extension has been sought and granted to a committee established to determine whether House Speaker Julian Willock should shoulder the legal costs he incurred before the High Court last year.
Willock was deemed personally liable by the court for the legal fees following an aborted injunction he filed against three Commission of Inquiry (COI) lawyers.

When Premier Andrew Fahie established the committee in November last year, he said it would have two months to come to a decision and issue a report on whether payment of the legal fees would be made by the HOA or whether taxpayers would be made to foot the bill instead.

But while speaking at a press conference last Friday, Premier Fahie disclosed that the committee he set up requested a further extension.
The Premier chose not to elaborate about any possible reason for their request.

“The most I’ve heard is that the committee asked for a little more time,” Premier Fahie told reporters at the press conference when asked for an update on the matter.

“When they bring their report, then we’ll deal with it,” he added.

The decision on who will pay the $98k legal bill was left up to legislators Julian Fraser, Mark Vanterpool, and Vincent Wheatley – the three House members Premier Fahie said had agreed to sit on the committee.

An earlier decision by the Fahie administration to unilaterally make the payment on behalf of Willock was met with much pushback and protest by members of the public.

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