The country’s Chief Magistrate has issued a bench warrant on St Peters MP, Asot Michael, for failing to show up for a court hearing not once but three times since the trial began.
Reports reaching Observer indicate that Michael’s lawyer presented consecutive sick leave documents to the court on three separate occasions in an attempt to excuse him from attending the hearing.
On Wednesday, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh reportedly summoned Michael’s private physician and questioned him about the MP’s health. The doctor claimed that Michael was in good enough health to attend the hearing.
It was on that premise that Magistrate Walsh ultimately issued the warrant for his arrest.
The current matter is a civil case, where Michael reportedly owes thousands of dollars for service provided for an event that he hosted a few years ago.
Observer has been unable to reach Michael directly but he issued a statement last night saying he was made aware of the warrant via his attorney and social media.
“The issuance of the warrant gives the impression that I have willfully disobeyed a summons to attend court This is not the case,” he said.
“I am defending what I consider a most outrageous claim against me. On the last occasion that the matter was heard the learned magistrate adjourned for the claimant to get documents and/or witnesses he said that he had but did not bring to court.”
The matter was set for continuation on September 9, he said.
“However, due to illness, I was unable to attend. I did produce a sick certificate and my attorney did attend in my absence. It was my wish and request that the matter continue in my absence.”
Michael added that he does not know why the case did not proceed without him present.
“Rest assured that I will seek appropriate redress,” he pledged.