Bullying is “persistent behaviour”

The GHA’s lawyer, Nick Cruz, has told the court of appeal that Judge Liam Yates was absolutely right in having declared that bullying needs to be defined as persistent behaviour.

The original complainant, Lawrence Stagnetto, is appealing the judgement which saw former Medical Director Daniel Cassaglia exonerated from accusations of bullying.

In the second day of a two day heading before the appeal judges, Nick Cruz said the GHA had taken a position of neutrality during the original industrial tribunal, as it was in the difficult position of having two senior employees with conflicting accounts of what happened. He said the judge had made no criticism of this neutral position. However Mr Cruz argued that Dr Cassaglia had a clear interest in the result of the tribunal, and that he had been affected by it. Reputation, he said, is more important than money. Mr Cruz also argued that the law, as drafted, intended to define bullying as persistent behaviour, and that the Chief Minister was quoted in Hansard as having said so when debating the bill in parliament.

In his reply, Mr Stagnetto’s lawyer, Richard Clayton QC, said the submissions that Dr Cassaglia had an interest in this case was wholly wrong and without legal basis. He said the respondents had failed to find any authorities which show that a witness was entitled to an appeal. He said the Chief Minister’s political comments in parliament were not admissible as evidence for the purposes of interpreting the Act in Court.

The Appeal judges said they would consider a judgement in the coming weeks.