A former British High Commissioner to Belize is suing the British Government for one million pounds, claiming he was suspended over false accusations. How does that relate to Belize you may ask? Well, the plaintiff, John Yapp, was posted in Belize when he was accused by local politicians of behaving, and we quote, “inappropriately towards women at official functions” end quote. In June 2008, Yapp was suspended from his post as High Commissioner to Belize with immediate effect. According to an international press report, Yapp was accused of inappropriately touching a politician’s wife during a social event. That person was rumoured to be Kim Simplis now Kim Simplis Barrow, the wife of Belize’s Prime Minister. The accusations led to a swift departure just ten months into Yap’s three-year posting. Queen’s Council Jane McNeill, said the allegation turned out to be, and we quote “unfounded, and scurrilous”, end quote.. Now, Yapp is in court, arguing that his superiors in London prejudged the issue before getting the facts and was presumed guilty before being given an opportunity to comment on the allegations against him. Yapp said the department’s failure to support him triggered a major mental breakdown, leaving him haunted by lingering symptoms of depression. The Foreign Office maintains that the decision to suspend Yapp was reasonable given the serious accusations in the air.
The British High Court hearing continues.