CJ delivered ‘good judgment’ in dismissing elections petition – AG
Monday’s judgment handed down by Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, in which she threw out one of the two elections petitions filed by the main opposition, A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition, will likely be appealed.
But even in the face of a challenge to the ruling, Justice George has come in for high praises for her judgment by Attorney-General, Anil Nandlall, SC.
In a Facebook live shortly after the decision was handed down, Nandlall lauded the ruling and said it demonstrates the rigidness of the law regarding late service of the elections petition. The CJ dismissed the petition, 99 of 2020, for procedural non-compliance of service on former President, David Granger, because he was not served the petition and other documents within the required five-day timeline for doing so.
“I believe it was a very good judgment and a judgment that will guide us in the future,” Nandlall said.
The AG said the decision is supported by 100 years of case law authorities.
“The law is very clear. When election petition documents or the election petitions are not served within the time stipulated, the law is very strict, the law is very rigid and the law says the petition is a nullity and must be dismissed, that the court has no jurisdiction to deal with a petition affected to non-service or late service in relation to any of the documents,” the Attorney-General explained.
As the CJ ruled, Granger is a necessary party in the petition and was required to be served.
“Mr. Granger represented a list of candidates who won seats in the National Assembly and it would have been wrong against the principles of natural justice and fairness, not to have named him a party,” Nandlall argued, as he insisted that the ruling is strong and well-grounded in law.
The Attorney-General said it was quite ironic that the APNU+AFC’s petition was dismissed for late service on its own leader. “That by itself tells a very tragic tale of incompetence,” he said.
Nandlall said the long, reasoned, and comprehensive judgment by the Chief Justice, examined all the legal issues and case law and dealt with “every argument in an admirable way.”
Although Granger has been determined to be a necessary party in both petitions, the CJ observed that the petitioners in petition 88/P fully complied with all procedures for service and as such, that petition will proceed.
In Petition 88 of 2020, the APNU+AFC is challenging the legitimacy of the elections report which allowed for Dr. Irfaan Ali to be sworn in as President. The petitioners in 88/P are Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick, both residents of Georgetown.
They have until February 12, 2021, to file their submissions and March 5, 2021, for the respondents to reply. Submissions in reply are due on or before March 19. Parties will return to court on April 5, 2021.