Arguments commence in election petition appeal
As oral arguments begin in an appeal filed to revive an election petition filed by the APNU+AFC Coalition but which has since been dismissed by the High Court, the Appellate Court was told by the Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
The Attorney General is representing the State and Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes is representing Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The Attorneys told the Court of Chancellor Yonnette Cummings-Edwards and Justices Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory, that in relation to Election Petition #99, they should uphold a January 18, 2021 decision by Chief Justice (ag), Roxane George, SC, in which she dismissed the petition.
Nandlall and Mendes both contend that since the petition as dismissed it cannot be appealed and the Court would be acting outside of its jurisdiction should it entertain the petition.
“There could be no appeal… because the court disposed of the petition it cannot be appealed,” Mendes told the Appeal Court as he referenced parts of the Guyana Constitution and previous cases to support his point.
He claimed that the dismissal could only be appealed if the Order by the Chief Justice was final to which he disagreed, saying it was not since she never dealt with the substantive content of the petition.
With two petitions initially filed, the Chief Justice in her January 18 ruling agreed to go ahead with one of those petitions (88/P) while she dismissed petition #99 because former President, David Granger, was not served within the required five-day timeline to do so.
The Notice of Appeal was filed on February 24, 2021, by Attorney-at-law and APNU+AFC Parliamentarian, Roysdale Forde, in which he represented petitioners, Monica Thomas and Brennan Joette Natasha Nurse.
Filing Attorney and Opposition Parliamentarian spent more than an hour on Monday trying to convince the Court of its jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
Those arguments will continue on July 29, 2021 at 9:30am.
Through Forde, the petitioners have expressed dissatisfaction at the decision and are now asking for it to be set aside by the Court of Appeal. They contended that the Chief Justice erred on several grounds when handing down her ruling, including that she misdirected herself when she applied the doctrine of strict compliance with service of affidavit in a timely manner.
The Notice of Appeal also noted that an error was made when Justice George failed to consider the overriding objective of the petition in making her decision on the content of the affidavit of service.