Evans wins payout over his dismissal
Sacked education commissioner Freddie Evans has won a substantial payout after he launched legal action against the Governor and the Government over his dismissal.
Dr Evans, who was fired from his post by John Rankin in October last year, settled for an undisclosed sum, it was revealed yesterday.
The terms of the payoff were ordered to be confidential — but, based on previous cases, the lawsuit is likely to have cost Government a six-figure sum, plus legal expenses.
However, the agreement has yet to be signed.
Lawyer Mark Diel, of Marshall Diel & Myers, told Puisne Judge Stephen Hellman during a hearing in chambers yesterday that the parties had agreed to settle on March 29.
He added that “for the last three weeks we have been chasing the defendants to have this agreement executed”.
Mr Diel said he was told yesterday that the Governor and the Attorney-General, representing the Public Service Commission, the Board of Education and the Permanent Secretary, had agreed to the settlement, although it had yet to be signed.
Mr Diel said he had no idea why it had not been signed.
He added that the case being brought back to court to be relisted had triggered some movement on a final settlement.
Lawyer Gregory Howard, representing the Attorney-General, said nothing now stood in the way of the agreement being signed and that this was expected to happen yesterday.
Mr Howard also said that there was nothing “nefarious” about the delay.
He explained the time-lag was influenced by “budget allocation issues” because the agreement to settle came at the end of the financial year.
Mr Howard added that “relevant players” in the Government had also not been available.
Mr Justice Hellman granted Dr Evans indemnity costs from the date the parties agreed to settle until the present at yesterday’s hearing.
Mr Diel said his client had incurred “significant costs” since the parties agreed to settle on March 29.
Mr Howard said he saw no reason to contest the application for indemnity costs. The case was adjourned to April 26.
Dr Evans asked for a judicial review after he was removed from his position following a public dispute between the education commissioner and the Department of Education.
The dispute started when Dr Evans was told by the Ministry of Education that he had been removed from the job.
Dr Evans, however, said that only the Governor had the power to dismiss him from his post.
The Public Service Commission later sent a letter to Dr Evans’s lawyer Mark Diel and Ministry of Education permanent secretary Valerie Robinson-James to say “an administrative error” in correspondence to Dr Evans meant he had not been fired.
The letter added “nor has he been confirmed in his post”. The Governor removed Dr Evans from his position on October 13.
Mr Diel claimed Mr Evans’s sacking came too late to be valid.
He said Dr Evans could be fired by the Governor only during his probation period, which ended more than a week before Mr Rankin confirmed Dr Evans’s dismissal.
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