The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) will hand down its judgement next Wednesday on whether the decision of Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George to dismiss Election Petition 99 of 2020 for late service on one of the respondents was constitutional.
Back in July, the CCJ heard arguments about whether the Guyana Court of Appeal has the jurisdiction to hear and determine the appeal that was filed to challenge the dismissal of the petition case.
The Court of Appeal had ruled that it can entertain the appeal filed by the petitioners.
At the heart of the Court case which the CCJ is set to rule on, is whether the Chief Justice indeed has the authority to dismiss an Election petition on procedural grounds without a right to appeal.
During arguments before the CCJ, Attorney General Anil Nandlall argued that there is nothing in record which gives the Court of Appeal the right to hear or determine the matter which was dismissed by the High Court.
He submitted to the Court that there are provisions in the Constitution for an appeal, but only if the substantive matter was determined by the High Court and the applicants were dissatisfied with the ruling.
In the event where the petition was not heard and was dismissed on technicality, Nandlall argued further, that the case should have ended at that instance.
But Counsel for the Opposition, Senior Counsel John Jeremie disagreed with the submission of the Attorney General and he argued that the Chancellor and Appellate Judge, Justice Dawn Gregory were in order when they found that the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.
He explained that while there may be no explicit provisions for the Appeal Court, there are provisions that guide how the Court treats such matters.
In January, Chancellor of the Judiciary Justice Yonette Cummings had granted a Motion filed by Mr. Nandlall and Mr. Jagdeo for leave to appeal the Court’s December 21, 2021 decision to the CCJ. The Judge had also granted a stay of the Appeal’s Court judgment.
By way of a majority ruling, the Appeal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to entertain the appeal challenging Acting Chief Justice Roxane George’s decision to dismiss the petition, on the grounds of late service, non-service, or improper service.