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CJ to rule on fate of APNU/AFC’s 2nd election petition today Justice Roxane George (ag)

Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George is expected to decide today, the fate of the second election petition filed by the Opposition APNU/AFC seeking to vitiate the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.

The petition is being challenged by Attorney General Anil Nandlall with the support of People’s Progressive Party/Civic General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, who are asking the High Court to strike it out.

In the November 10, 2020 application, Nandlall urged the court to dismiss the second election petition filed by the coalition on the grounds that it was served in breach of the requirements under Section 2 of the National Assembly Validity of Elections Act.

At today’s ruling, Justice George is expected to hand down her decision on the preliminary arguments relating to the defective service of the petition and whether former President and Leader of the APNU, David Granger, is a necessary party in the proceedings.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon

Lawyers for petitioners Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse during the December 1, 2020 hearing had asked the court to overlook the deficiencies in the service of the petition on Granger, who is the second respondent and Head of the APNU/AFC List of Candidates, hence, spare their petition from being tossed out.

The former President was served on September 25, 2020, which is 10 days after the petition was filed on September 15.

As such, Trinidadian Senior Counsel John Jeremie, representing the petitioners, urged the Chief Justice to disregard the date on the acknowledgement of service and focus on the date on the affidavit.

However, when questioned by Justice George who made the error, the lawyer could not say.

In fact, during a case management hearing in October 2020, the Chief Justice had pointed out that service of the petition on the second named respondent in the matters – APNU/AFC’s leader David Granger – was “out of time”.

She had noted that according to the rules, the petition must be served within five days of filing on the respondents, but the court records show that the petitions were served until September 25.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall

Nevertheless, during the December hearing, AG Nandlall had lambasted the petitioners’ lawyers in court for proving unable to explain the mix up regarding the date of service and went on to call on the court to dismiss the petition.

Meanwhile, Granger’s legal team had made efforts to extricate him from the case by using Section 27 of the Validity of Elections Act and gave notice that he would not be contesting the petition.

But Nandlall had argued that by using this Act, Granger himself has acknowledged that he is a properly named party in the case.

Section 27 (2) of the Validity of Elections Act states “A respondent who has given the prescribed notice that he does not intend to oppose the petition or for whom any person has been substituted shall not be allowed to appear or act as a party against the petition in any proceedings thereon.”

“A respondent, your honour, must mean a properly named respondent. So, by filing that notice to say that he is not opposing that petition, Mr Granger has implicitly or rather, expressly accepted that he is a properly named respondent. That is what the Section gives him the power to do… Mr Granger cannot contend that he is not a proper party in the petition and then use a mechanism in the Act that is directed to proper respondents. He cannot have it both ways, your honour,” Nandlall had contended in court.

Only Friday, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon said during a press conference that the APNU/AFC is anticipating a favourable ruling.

“We do expect a favourable ruling but it is the court that will make that determination and so we don’t want to prejudge what the judge is going to say. But once there is a favourable ruling, we look forward to the substantive hearing of the petitions before the court. So, what we expect is some timelines will thereafter be set for the substantive trial. If, in fact, there is an adverse ruling on one of the petitions, I believe if that is so then we have the right to appeal,” he contended.

Harmon went on to say that the coalition is looking forward to the substantive cases being heard by the court so that the contentions in their petitions can not only become a record of the court, but also known to the international community.

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Chief Justice strikes out APNU/AFC 2nd election petition for late service on Granger

The second election petition filed by the APNU/AFC challenging the validity of the 2020 General and Regional Election was on Monday dismissed by Chief Justice Roxane George for non-compliance with effecting service in accordance with the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act.

The petition was filed by Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse. The Chief Justice, in her ruling, underscored that procedures for filing an election must be strictly complied with. The Chief Justice held that the petition and the relevant documents were served outside of the statutory five days period on former President David Granger- the second-named respondent.

Relying on several case laws from the Caribbean region, Justice George noted that non-adherence to the provisions requiring service within the stipulated time will result in the petition being nullified. She noted, too, that service out of time can be fatal to an election petition.

According to Justice George, the petitioners- Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse– have sought to correct this error and “has failed miserably” since the evidence adduced by them was “manifestly unreliable.”  Among other things, Justice George said that it does not matter that Granger filed notices indicating that he will not file submissions opposing the petition.

Lawyers for the petitioners had asked the Chief Justice to overlook the deficiencies in the petition and proceed with hearing the substantive case. However, Justice George pointed out that Granger is a necessary party to the election petition, and as such, non-compliance with service cannot be overlooked. Having regards to the foregoing, Justice George held that late service on Granger amounts to non-service, which will lead to the petition being nullified by the court.

“I declare that the petition is a nullity and cannot proceed…this petition is therefore dismissed,” the Chief Justice asserted.  Court costs were awarded to the Respondents.

Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick have also filed an election petition on behalf of the APNU/AFC.  Justice George on Monday announced that the court will proceed with hearing this petition.

In that petition, the petitioners are asking the court to set aside the results of the March 2020, General and Regional Elections as it was held unlawfully. They are also asking the court for an order nullify the declaration of Dr Irfaan Ali as President of Guyana.

Attorney General Anil Nandlall had filed a Notice of application asking that the petition be dismissed as the manner in which the petition, filed on September 15, 2020, was purportedly served on former President David Granger, the second-named respondent, was in breach of Section 8 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act and Rule 9 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Rules.

According to Nandlall, there was no evidence to support the time at which the petition was served upon the former Head of State. He outlined that Section 8 of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act stipulates that the respondent is to be served with the notice of the presentation of the petition, and of the nature of the security or proposed security, and a copy of the petition with supporting affidavit.

It states therein that within the prescribed time, not exceeding five days after the presentation of an election petition, the petitioner shall in the prescribed manner serve on the respondent a notice of the presentation of the petition, and the nature of the security or proposed security, and a copy of the petition unless the court otherwise directs on the application of the petitioner.

Rule 9 (1) of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Rules states that the petitioners have the statutory obligation to effect service within five days after the presentation of the petition.  Nandlall pointed out that the petition having been filed on September 15, 2020, should have been served on the former President five days thereafter which would have been September 21, 2020, since the fifth day – September 20, 2020 – was a Sunday.

But according to an affidavit by Nurse, the petition along with the relevant documents were not served on the former President until September 25, 2020- four days outside of the statutorily prescribed period.  Having regards to the circumstances, Nandlall urged the court that the petition ought to be dismissed.

Last edited by sachin_05
@Ramakant-P posted:

When hell freezes over. I wondering when you were going to surface.

The PNC and Coalition never win a free and fair election.

The PPP won because of the dead and those living abroad still on the voters lists. PPP is the smarter rigger.

@Mitwah posted:

The PPP won because of the dead and those living abroad still on the voters lists. PPP is the smarter rigger.

Thanks to the PNC. If that is true, they got a taste of their own medicine. They got horsewhipped.

Last edited by Ramakant-P

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