Dec. 21 for decision on reviving dismissed elections petition

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The Appeal Court led by Chancellor Yonnette Cummings-Edwards will on December 21, 2021 hand down its decision in an appeal filed to have a dismissed election petition reinstated.

The date was set on Friday when the case was called before Justice Cummings-Edwards, Justice Rishi Persaud and Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes.

On the last occasion, Attorney and opposition Parliamentarian Roysdale Forde, SC, had asked the court for more time to make further submissions on the Court’s jurisdiction, particularly, whether the appeal should have been made to the Full Court of the High court.

Those submissions were made but on Friday, Trinidadian Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes asked the court to disregard the submissions.

Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards [DPI photo]
He claimed that Forde failed to address the question of the Full Court’s jurisdiction and instead used his submissions to put forward arguments on the Appellate Court’s jurisdiction.

“Madam, you had said that you would ignore submissions that didn’t follow your instructions,” Mendes reminded the Chancellor.

“We have nothing further to submit to you this morning,” he added allowing for the date of the decision to bet set.

On the last occasion, Mendes and Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, had claimed that the matter was becoming a time wasting exercise. They feared that if a date is not set soon for decision then the matter will remain in an already clogged system for longer than it needed to.

The latest discussions surround whether the dismissed petition should have been appealed to the Full Court of the High Court instead of the Appellate Court, given the peculiar tier system of Guyana’s court structure.

Nandlall and Mendes have maintained that the petition should have never been appealed and neither does the Full Court or the Appellate Court have jurisdiction.

They have both argued orally and in written submissions that the question, although of interest, is not one that is necessary at this stage.

Senior Counsel, Douglas Mendes

According to Mendes, the petition (#99) was dismissed on procedural grounds and as such, it cannot be appealed.

Mendes’ point was further elucidated by Nandlall who said that there can only be an appeal after a determination of a matter and there was none in this case.

It is for this reason that the lawyers have argued that the question on whether the matter should have been appealed to the Full Court is of no consequence because no appeal, whether to the Full Court or the Court of Appeal, should be entertained because of the reason for which the petition was dismissed.

Petition #99 was dismissed because former President, David Granger, was not served within the required five-day timeline to do so. (Kurt Campbell)

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