The former Director General (DG) of the Ministry of Justice and Community Services, Dorosday Kenneth Watson, is seeking over VT20 million in damages over her termination.
The trial commenced in the Port Vila Supreme Court last week.
In his introduction statement, her legal counsel, Mark Hurley, submitted that it is a straightforward case of unjustified termination for two reasons.
Hurley told the court that his client’s principal argument is that contrary to the findings of the Public Service Commission (PSC), she was not guilty of serious misconduct charges and even if there were grounds for serious misconduct which is denied by reason of section 50(3) of the Employment Act, the PSC failed to act in good faith when it could have and should have taken another course than to terminate the claimant’s employment.
“If this Court makes the finding sought by the claimant that her employment was unjustifiably terminated, she seeks an award of loss and damages in the sum of VT20, 334, 998 plus interest and costs, or such other sum as the Court deems fit,” Hurley relayed in his submission.
He told the court that the PSC has not filed any evidence contesting the claimant’s evidence of her loss and damages.
“Subject to this Court’s assessment, her claim for loss and damages is unchallenged,” he said.
Hurley told the court it took courage for his client to stand up and file her claim for judicial review, for the sole purpose of ensuring that the relevant provisions of the Government Act were respected and has paid a high price for her courage, suffering the ignominy of losing her employment notwithstanding that she was a long standing and respected public servant.
Kenneth was terminated following her action to legally challenge the government’s decision to restructure the Ministry of Justice and Community Services.
She is now in court to seek redress for her unjustified termination.
The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for the judgment, following the trial last week.