By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Government racked up more than $100,000 in legal costs connected to its appeal of the landmark Supreme Court ruling on parliamentary privilege, according to Attorney General Carl Bethel, who noted that the sum represented costs for foreign lawyers.
During his contribution to the 2017/2018 Budget in the Senate, Mr Bethel reiterated the determining factors behind the government's decision to have the matter withdrawn, which centred on the high costs associated with the appeal.
The government engaged three QCs, one from the United Kingdom, one from the region, and a local attorney, he said, adding that the sum of $178,348 was spent on the engagement of the foreign lawyers.
"And this is even without any consideration of the huge legal costs that we are likely to face from the other side," Mr Bethel said, "which is likely to be in the tens if not hundreds of thousands.
"Further, had the appeal proceeded, it would likely have ended up before the Privy Council whatever the outcome, causing an enormous drain on the public purse for no real value in terms of the development of jurisprudence."
The notice of withdrawal was filed on May 31, according to Mr Bethel, who explained that the government's haste was motivated by the desire to immediately stop the escalation of costs.