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Judge reserves judgement on motion to strike petitions

Judge reserves judgement on motion to strike petitions

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Justice Esco Henry has reserved her judgement on the motion to throw out the petitions, after hearing arguments by both the petitioners and respondents at the High Court.

Her decision came after lead lawyer for the respondents, senior counsel Anthony Astaphan and lawyers for the petitioners, Queen’s Counsel Stanley ‘Stalky’ John and Kay Bacchus-Baptiste, put forward their arguments on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Henry reminded lawyers that it would take some time to review the entire case, after which she would send her ruling in writing to both parties.

Speaking with reporters shortly after Henry’s decision, Astaphan said he believes that the judge would take her time in making her ruling, because her decision would be a difficult one.

“… I don’t know how long that would be; I think that if the consequences is a strike-out, she is going to take her time and do it properly, because it is going to be a difficult decision, knowing the consequences of it one way or the other.”

He, however, added that he is pleased with the court proceedings so far.

“I think despite the differences in opinions, Stalky John and I conducted a professional approach, without too much heat passing between us and I think that is a good example for the younger lawyers, to know that you can contest the cases without cussing each other and stewpsing in the back.”

Meanwhile, John has reserved his statements for after Henry’s ruling.

The main opposition New Democratic Party has brought two petitions challenging the results in Central Leeward and North Windward in the December 2015 general elections, after the Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the elections by taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, the ULP is holding that the petitions are invalid because the petitioners, rather than the sureties, have signed the recognizances.

In 2016, Justice Brian Cottle threw out the petitions ruling that they were improperly filed. However, the East Caribbean Supreme Court’s (ECSC) ruling in March restarted the entire court process.

The petitioners in the matter are candidates for the NDP Lauron Baptiste and Benjamin Exeter, while the respondents are supervisor of elections Sylvia Findlay; successful ULP candidates Montgomery Daniel and Sir Louis Straker; returning officers Vil Davis and Winston Gaymes; presiding officers Veronica John and Kathleen Jeffers.

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