3 Oct 2019

Vanuatu Speaker ordered to pay damages to assault victim

12:33 pm on 3 October 2019

Vanuatu's Speaker of Parliament has been ordered by the Supreme Court to pay a woman $US5,000 for assaulting her.

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept, court

Photo: ikiryo/123RF

The Daily Post newspaper reported the court ordered Simeon Seule to make the payment to Fredline Tanarango after an incident that took place in a room at Hotel Santo in 2016.

The Speaker was then Minister of Youth and Sports.

Justice Oliver Saksak said as a national leader, Mr Seule has to adhere to the Leadership Code.

According to the complaint in the civil case, Mr Seule damaged the woman's mobile phone and took her bag and threw it at her.

The claimant also said Mr Seule punched, kicked and pulled her hair causing her to fall to the floor.

The judge said the victim suffered physical injuries and ordered the Speaker to pay damages.

The Leader of Opposition, Ishmael Kalsakau, said the Speaker should do the honourable thing and resign from his post.

Mr Seule is expected to appeal the civil case and his lawyer has advised he will not step down unless the court finds him guilty of the criminal charges filed against him.