PUP Cayo South Representative Julius Espat very famously got kicked out of the House in August - and since then he has been treated like an amputated limb - no representatives' pay, no welcome at the House of Representatives. It is a suspension of unspecified term, and today in the Chief Justice's courtroom, his attorney Andrew Marshalleck made a constitutional claim for certain declarations and injunctions against the Speaker of The House and the Clerk of The National Assembly - basically asking the court to say that the suspension was wrongly made and is invalid. The government's attorney who is the Solicitor General Nigel Hawke has responded by asking the court to strike out the case. Here's how Espat's attorney Andrew Marshalleck put it today:...

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"The defendants who are the speaker, the clerk and the attorney general, have offered no defence to the claim on the merits yet, but instead applied to have the matter struck out on two grounds. They say that the courts not lack 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 a resolution to terminate the suspension."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"What will the CJ determine that at his next sitting on the 6th?"

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"He will decide whether it's to be struck out. Now the curious position is that if it's not to be struck out, then what is left? Because there is no defence to fall back on. Then I expect some sort of rumble over whether or not they will be entitled to go back and now put a defence in."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"However, the solicitor general did say in court that 45-5 of the standing orders in fact make it clear that the speaker acted properly and within the ambit of the standing orders."

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"Well you only need to look at the words in 45-5 to know that that's nonsense. 45-5 says after the resolution is put, the question must be put. It means put the house for a vote."

"We are comfortable that there is jurisdiction in the court to inquire into this matter where the speaker has acted so clearly outside the scope of his authority."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"The argument was made in there that the suspension was completely invalid, because you deviated from procedure. The house never voted on it. Are these things true sir?"

Hon. 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."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Do you feel it's unfair that a speaker of the house as the 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
"I am a lawyer, a past politician and the current speaker. 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 to court, you are put on social media. That's the name of the game. You can't cry about that."

Julius Espat was not in court today and Solicitor General Hawke declined comment. But there are reports that members on both sides of the house are working in the background to bring Espat back in through a bi-partisan process. Speaker Peyrefiitte had no detailed knowledge of that, but did not appear averse to such a resolution, while Marshalleck said it's hardly an option:..

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"I am not aware of any definitive activities and naturally what I will say about part of the procedure today is that there is an alternative remedy in our view and naturally it goes with people speaking to each other to see if you could come up with a resolution to the matter. It happens in every case. I am sure that there have been discussions, but I have not been aware or made aware of the results of any discussions."

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"Well we have a problem in that he doesn't accept that he has been lawfully suspended and the speaker still insists that he has and the only way to resolve that is exactly how we are doing it. So there is no other action to take."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Will he be in the house on December 16th? Do you foresee?"

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"I am not aware that a meeting has been set for December 16th. But I expect that if this matter is not concluded before 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 in this claim."

Jules Vasquez, 7News
"Finally, I am told there is a house meeting on December 16th. Is it your expectation that there will be all 31 members there?"

Hon. Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House
"It's always my expectation that there will always be 31 members there. But the chief justice will make a decision on December 6th, so we will know whether or not one particular member will be allowed to be there, I suspect."

Andrew Marshalleck, Attorney for Julius Espat
"But as things stand he is not welcome on the premises. The officials there treat him as having been suspended. We are saying that there was no valid lawful suspension and of there was no valid lawful suspension, obviously there can be no resolution to terminate what didn't happen. The injunctive release is to stop the officers of the house from acting in pursuance of the unlawful suspension. It means that if the suspension isn't lawful, then nobody should be acting to enforce it and that seeks to restrain them from doing so. Because they have been acting to enforce it."

The Chief Justice will give his decision on whether the application will be struck out on December the sixth. Reports say the next house meeting is on December 16th.

Channel 7