PPP asks High Court to strike out APNU+AFC elections petitions

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When another hearing in the APNU+AFC’s elections petitions case comes up in the High Court next Tuesday, interested parties are expected to address a summons filed by the respondents aligned to the People’s Progressive Party government.

The summons is asking the High Court to strike out the petitions on the ground that it did not comply with the timeline fixed by the law for service.

Speaking to the News Room by telephone on Wednesday, Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, explained that one of the petitions was served late on former President David Granger, who is named as a respondent in the case.

This observation was initially made during the Case Management hearing on October 22 by Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George.

Chief Justice, Roxane George

The Chief Justice had said then that from her observation, the former President was served late. Granger was served on September 25, although he should have been served five business days after the petition was filed on September 15.

Meanwhile, Nandlall said the other ground on which the Court is being asked to strike out the petition is premised on a defective affidavit failed by the coalition.

“The affidavit of service document required to be filed is defective in our view,” Nandlall said.

Nandlall has promised to make the application to strike out the petition as well as his written submission public ahead of next Tuesday’s hearing.

Attorney for Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, had said on October 22 that he too will file an application on similar grounds to the summons filed.

Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes

He is contending that Jagdeo, who is named as a respondent, was also not properly served the petitions. He said the Court has to be satisfied that sufficient actions were taken to serve the respondent, a case that the APNU+AFC lawyers will have to prove.

Mendes said this was not done and Jagdeo was not served; making the entire petition a nullity.

The Chief Justice has already noted the Court’s intention to engage in a “full-blown trial” of at least one of the two elections petitions filed by the opposition APNU+AFC Coalition.

No date has been set for the commencement of trial.

The APNU+AFC filed its first elections petition (88/20-P) on August 31, 2020, officially challenging the outcome of the March 02, 2020 elections and the recount exercise from which the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) emerged victorious.

A second petition (99/20-P) was field subsequently on September 15, 2020, also challenging the March 02, 2020 elections.

The attorneys appearing on behalf of the defendant on the first petition (88/20-P) are Trinidad Senior Counsel, John Jeremie; Senior Counsel, Roysdale Forde; Raphael Trotman and Olayne Joseph.

Senior Counsel, Rex McKay; Darren Wade; Mayo Roberson; Khemraj Ramjattan; Gary Best and Geeta Chandan-Edmond are appearing for the defendant in the second petition (99/20-P).

Former Attorney General Basil Williams is appearing on behalf of Granger and the APNU+AFC Coalition.

Devindra Kissoon, Sanjeev Datadin and Douglas Mendes along with others have appeared for and on behalf of Jagdeo as representative for the governing People’s Progressive Party.

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