Guernsey Press

Second code of conduct complaint against Deputy Taylor dismissed

For the second time in as many weeks, property developer Charles McHugh has had an official complaint against Andrew Taylor thrown out at the first hurdle.

Deputy Andrew Taylor. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33011815)

The States’ new commissioner for standards, Dr Melissa McCullough, concluded that Deputy Taylor had no case to answer after Mr McHugh alleged various breaches of the code of conduct for States members.

It has also emerged that Mr McHugh lost a petty debts court case against Deputy Taylor at the end of last month.

Mr McHugh was told that he could not use the petty debts court to recover loss of earnings during an earlier court case in which Deputy Taylor called him as a witness.

‘Although unsurprised at the result, I am relieved that the latest code of conduct complaint submitted by Mr McHugh has been dismissed by the commissioner for standards,’ said Deputy Taylor yesterday.

The dismissal of a second code of conduct complaint comes less than a month after he defended a personal court action from Mr McHugh against Deputy Taylor’s company Barnabe.

He said he would not comment further without parliamentary privilege.

Absolute privilege, the origins of which date back to the English Civil War, provides States members with immunity from prosecution for anything said in the States Assembly.

It is a complete defence against any legal proceedings even when the words are spoken maliciously or would amount to an offence outside of the Assembly.

However, States members can be investigated for alleged breaches of privilege and disciplined by the Assembly if appropriate, and the States Assembly & Constitution Committee has pledged to prioritise a review of privilege rules before the end of its term in June next year.

Mr McHugh did not respond to an invitation to comment on the second code of conduct complaint or the petty debts court case.

Mr McHugh and Deputy Taylor have repeatedly clashed over political and business issues since the latter’s election to the States in 2020.

Their disagreements have included Deputy Taylor proposing that plans for Leale’s Yard should face more scrutiny from the Assembly and that some of the funding earmarked for the project should be reallocated to building a new sixth form centre at Les Ozouets, and a Royal Court case in which McAulay, a firm of which Mr McHugh is a director, evicted Barnabe from the premises of the former Taylor’s Cafe in Market Square.