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Preliminary hearings on elections petitions to continue on Monday

-Robertson miffed at Nandlall application to strike out matter

November 25 ,2020

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Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire SC

          Chief Justice (Ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire SC


On Monday, November 30th,  the High Court will proceed with hearing objections raised on the service of the petitions filed by  APNU+AFC β€”this time on former president David Granger who is among the listed respondents.

The Coalition has filed two petitions challenging the results of the March 2nd General and Regional elections which saw the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) winning the seat of government.

The court had initially set yesterday for commencement of arguments on the preliminary issue of service which PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo’s attorney, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes had argued was not properly effected on his client in accordance with prescribed rules and laws.

Mendes had previously raised this as a provisional issue, but did say that his positon could change after he would have been able to completely peruse all the documents filed in the matter.

He reported to the court yesterday that having done so, he no longer takes issue with service against Jagdeo, but points out that the service on Granger, who he argues is a necessary party to the proceedings, had not been properly effected.

Though the service on Jagdeo is no longer in dispute, Mendes is contending that because Granger is a necessary party to the proceedings, late service on him can also result in both petitions being rendered a nullity.

The court will hear full arguments on this on November 30th.

Leave had previously been granted for submissions to be made on the issue of service which Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall SC had also been invited to submit.

When the matter was called yesterday before acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC, however, attorney Mayo Robertson who represents petitioners Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse in the second petition complained of Nandlall violating orders previously made by the court.

He said that instead of the AG only making submissions on the issue of service as the court had directed at its case management conference (CMC) on October 22nd, Nandlall went beyond and filed an application which he was not permitted either by the court, or according to law, to do.

Robertson took issue with the application filed by the AG seeking to strike out the petition filed by his clients. Robertson’s contention is that Nandlall ought only to have made submissions and not file an entire notice of application (NOA) on this issue.

Robertson then asked the court to strike out Nandlall’s application asking for petition No.2  to be struck.

Declaring, however, that Nandlall’s application in no way adversely affects or prejudices any of the parties to the proceedings, the Chief Justice struck down the arguments advanced by Robertson.

She said that while indeed Nandlall had filed an application which he was not asked to do, the issue of service had already been laid before the court as a preliminary one to be addressed.

She said, too, that the points raised by Nandlall are also already before the court as issues to be canvassed and determined.

Robertson, however, held to his position that Nandlall had no right to file the NOA as it was in violation of the order of court and the law.

Justice George then pointed out to Robertson that he too had not rigidly followed previous orders she had made and that petitioners in both of the matters had relied on the very aspect and form of Rules he was rebuking Nandlall for having relied on.

Robertson apologized for his own violations of orders previously made by the Chief Justice, but sought to say that there was a distinction between that and Nandlall β€œgoing against the law” and filing the NOA.

In his submissions calling on the court to strike out the second petition, Nandlall argues that service of that petition had not been properly effected on either Jagdeo or Granger.

Mendes had argued that because Jagdeo was not served on time in accordance with prescribed rules, the petitions may themselves amount to a nullity. His argument is the same regarding service on Granger.

When the matter is called again next Monday at 9:30 the court will commence hearing arguments on the issue of service.

Thomas’s and Nurse’s petition contends that the elections were unlawfully conducted and/or that the results, (if lawfully conducted), were affected or might have been affected by unlawful acts or omissions.

In the first petition, the Oppositionβ€”through petitioners Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick – wants the court to determine among other things, questions regarding whether the elections have been lawfully conducted or whether the results have been, or may have been affected by any unlawful act or omission and in consequence thereof, whether the seats in the National Assembly have been lawfully allocated.

The results of a national recount of all ballots cast showed that it was the PPP/C which had won the elections with 233,336 votes over the 217,920 which the coalition managed to secure.

Last edited by Django

CJ to rule January 18 on fate of election petitions

December 2,2020

Source

On January 18th acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC will deliver her ruling on whether the two election petitions filed by A Part-nership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) will be thrown out or not.

The judge made the announcement following the conclusion of arguments yesterday morning.

Arguing on behalf of the petitioners in both matters, Trinidadian senior counsel John Jeremie said that contrary to arguments  made by the attorney general and attorney for PPP/C General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo, service of the petition was effected within time and so the petitions should not be dismissed.

He contended, too, that former president David Granger is not a necessary party to the petitions and so they cannot be thrown out even if service was effected on him out of timeβ€”though Jeremie’s contention is that Granger was served on time.

The main opposition coalition has filed two petitions challenging the results of the March 2nd General and Regional elections which saw the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) winning the seat of government.

Jagdeo’s lawyer Douglas Mendes SC of Trinidad has argued that because the second petition was served late on Granger whom he contends is a key party to the proceedings in both matters, both petitions ought to be thrown own.

He has also taken issue with the manner of service on Chief Election Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfiled who is also a respondent in the matters.

Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall shares Mendes’ contentions.

During his submissions yesterday, Jeremie argued that both Granger and Lowenfield were served within the prescribed time while crediting what he described as the β€œconfusion” with the date of service to clerical errors.

Against this background he urged the court to rely on the affidavit of service on which he said the correct dates have been annotated as the evidence of service, and not the return-of-service document.

This prompted the Chief Justice to enquire from Jeremie whether it was not standard procedure to examine all the relevant documents as a wholeβ€”that is, both the affidavit of service and accompanying exhibits such as the return-of-service.

Jeremie advanced that in accordance with Rule 9 (5) of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Rules, the law requires the affidavit to be used as evidence of service and not the document acknowledging service.

Jeremie said that in accordance with the Rules, the affidavit of service requires the manner and time of service to be stated, and that the β€œun-contradicted” evidence before the court shows that this was complied with.

He said that the affidavit of service is the statutory document required to establish evidence of service and it is the contents therein on which the court must rely and not any other exhibit/document accompanying it.

Jeremie submitted that if there is a contradiction as regards  the evidence, then the court must treat the exhibits as being subjected to what is contained in the actual affidavit.

The Chief Justice observed that on important issues such as those connected with an elections petition, accuracy of the dates recorded is of paramount importance. Jeremie concurred, but pointed out that human errors are sometimes made.

Also making submissions yesterday was attorney Mayo Robertsonβ€”one of the battery of lawyers representing the petitioners in the second petition.

He sought to add to Jeremie’s arguments that Lowenfield had been properly served.

Robertson said that in relation to the CEO, it is proved that service had been effected on him within the required five-day period and so there is no issue of the effect of defective service on Lowenfield.

The lawyer said that the issue is whether the person would have been served within the five days and that in this case Lowenfield was so served. He said that what the court ought to be concerned with is the fact that service was carried out, and not the form it took in relation to that effected on the CEO.

Also making a presentation was the Attorney General who took issue with the petitioners’ non-explanation as to why they listed Granger as a respondent in their action when their contention now is that he is not key to the cases.

Nandlall contends that the petitioners cannot now just simply say that Granger was wrongly named.

On this point he argued that having made the former president a respondent, counsel for the petitioners ought to have been aware of the ramifications of that and what is required by Section 4 (2) of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act.

On this issue of service, Nandlall said that having examined the record presented  by the petitioners, it contains several inconsistencies which they (the respondents) are entitled to note, even as he argued that Jeremie has not advanced satisfactory explanations worthy of merit regarding the contentions raised on service.

According to Nandlall, even the subsequent affidavits filed by the petitioners in their attempt to β€œexplain away” the inconsistencies, are themselves fraught with inconsistencies. He said that based upon their record presented, it is defective and contravenes the Rules.

The AG said that the petitioners have failed dreadfully to explain away the deficiencies.

During his presentation on Monday, Mendes said that Granger as representative of the list of candidates presented for the elections by the APNU+AFC is a key party and cannot oust himself.

He then referenced Section 27 of the Act under which Granger issued the notice of his intention not to oppose the petition, stating that it speaks presumptively to respondents who are proper and necessary parties.

Mendes’ argument is that because Granger is a necessary party to the two petitions late service of the requisite documents on Granger is fatal to both petitions and they must therefore be thrown out.

Attorney Basil Williams SC who represents Granger, however, refutes that he is key to the proceedings stating further that they will abide by whatever ruling the court makes.

In the first petition, the Oppositionβ€”through petitioners Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick – wants the court to determine among other things, questions regarding whether the elections have been lawfully conducted or whether the results have been, or may have been affected by any unlawful act or omission and in consequence thereof, whether the seats in the National Assembly have been lawfully allocated.

In the second petition, petitioners Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse are contending that the elections were unlawfully conducted and/or that the results, (if lawfully conducted), were affected or might have been affected by unlawful acts or omissions; but nonetheless argue that from those polls it is Granger who should be declared the duly-elected President of Guyana.

They are seeking to have the court nullify the outcome and to declare President Irfaan Ali to be illegally holding office.

The results of a national recount of all ballots cast showed that it was the PPP/C which had won the elections with 233,336 votes over the 217,920 which the coalition managed to secure.

Quite interesting one of my post here is Breaking News on Topic for discussion on another forum by a poorly educated individual ,who depends on others for an explanation. Damn there are live videos of the proceedings ,even that can't help the individual.

Poor fella ,still have an axe to grind ,not a day go by something have to be said.

Last edited by Django
@Totaram posted:

Why are Nandlall, Mendes and others desperately trying to get the petitions thrown out on technicalities?  Are they afraid to deal with the substance of the cases?  Why would a judge throw out a petition because of a dispute over when a document was served on someone who doesn't even want to be involved in the case?

I guess it’s the same reason why the PNC afraid to this day show their winning SOPs...

@Django posted:

Quite interesting one of my post here is Breaking News on Topic for discussion on another forum by a poorly educated individual ,who depends on others for an explanation. Damn there are live videos of the proceedings ,even that can't help the individual.

Poor fella ,still have an axe to grind ,not a day go by something have to be said.

See, I told ya you can't close down GNI because dem guys would run outta news and Po Ray would be all alone. I wonder how ma boy D2 holdin up with dem guys?