The Court of Appeal has granted leave for Attorney General Anil Nandlall and Attorneys representing Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo to appeal its December 21, 2021 decision where it ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear and proceed with the Election Petition 99 of 2020, which was thrown out by Chief Justice Roxanne George for late service to former President David Granger.
The Leave was granted by Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings after listening to the submissions from Attorneys in the matter.
Lead Attorney for Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo, Douglas Mendez, SC submitted to the Court that the matter is one of grave public importance and the leave should be granted. In fact, Mendez argued that the defense is entitled to an appeal as of right and that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to deny that right.
“The Court has made a decision and it is an appealable decision,” Mendez said in his submission.
He also argued that the only function of the Appeal Court in this matter is to determine whether the case falls with Section 6 of the CCJ Act. He further pointed out that the matter even becomes more important for the CCJ to determine because even at the level of the Appeal Court, there were differing opinions.
The Court had ruled 2-1 in the matter.
Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, who appeared for Attorney General Anil Nandlall shared similar sentiments as Mendez but added that if the substantial matter is to proceed without CCJ first determining the technical matter on jurisdiction then there could be a serious conational collision and therefore before further steps are taken in the case the CCJ must first determine the December 21 ruling.
Attorney for the petitioners Roysdale Forde, while not directly objecting to the granting of leave, said the Court ought to consider the nature of the order being sought and its ruling on jurisdiction. He said he could not find a similar case before the CCJ where the Court of Appeal was not allowed to proceed with a substantial matter while the CCJ is determining the question of jurisdiction.
As a result, he pointed out that the Court should not wait on the CCJ to determine the matter of jurisdiction before proceeding with the substantial matter.
After listening to the submissions, the Chancellor ordered that the matter is of such importance that the CCJ should first have its say on its ruling before proceeding.
Leave was granted under Section 6 (A) of the CCJ Act. She also ordered that $750,000 be lodged at the Court of Appeal as a security deposit within 90 days.
In January last year, Chief Justice Roxane George struck out the election petition case, which had been filed by coalition supporters Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse. The case was thrown out over the late notice to former President David Granger who is a respondent in the matter.
The petition wants the Court to nullify the outcome of the elections owing to “grave irregularities” discovered during the recount.
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