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High Court judge dismisses application by NDP to inspect ballots

High Court judge dismisses application by NDP to inspect ballots


High Court Judge, Esco Henry on Tuesday dismissed the application by petitioner Benjamin Exeter for the inspection of the ballot boxes in the Central Leeward constituency.

Henry ruled that it was not within her powers, being a high court judge herself, to rule differently to Justice Brian Cottle, who had previously dismissed a motion that had been filed by the petitioners in 2015.

Further, nothing in the motion presented showed that certain claims made, could not also have been made in 2015.

“Well of course we would have hoped that the judge would have ordered inspection so there is some disappointment,” Stanley ‘Stalky’ John QC, counsel for the petitioner, stated after court adjourned.

The counsel stated that they (the petitioners) will have to assess, “the extent to which it impacts on the merits of the trial,” but will still move forward with the trial on the election petitions, which contest the results of the 2015 general elections.

“The case goes forward, as you would note from the Judge’s judgment, she indicates that dates for trial of the matter will be set by the Registrar,” he stated.

Not ready to throw in the towel on inspection quite yet, the lawyer also stated, “So we’ll see what happens when the trial takes place… because the court, it is always open to the court, based on the evidence, based on the pleadings, to determine whether or not it wishes to look at the ballots or the counterfoils, or to open the ballot boxes. So, this is not the end as it were.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by the Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday, who stated, “We’ve had setbacks, and we’ve had triumphs, this is the matter, this is how litigation proceeds. We are determined to proceed on the basis of the ruling that we’ve had today and on the evidence and the preparation that we’ve done.”

He reaffirmed, “We will make the case the strongest, the best way we can, based on the ruling that we had today.”