Justice hears motion to strike NDP petitions, and counter application
Justice Esco Henry on Tuesday decided to hear both a motion to strike out the election petitions, as well as a counter application that the said motion is an abuse of the court process.
Meanwhile, both lawyers for the petitioners and the respondents have indicated that they anticipated Henryâs ruling and are ready to proceed.
Speaking with reporters shortly after the ruling, Queenâs Counsel Stanley âStalkyâ John, lead lawyer for the petitioners, said that they have persuasive arguments against the respondents.
âWe anticipated that her Ladyship was likely to proceed in a similar way,â he said.
In an earlier interview, John said he suggested that Justice Henry should take into consideration all of the documents that have been filed so far by the various parties and determine whether or not she should proceed to hear the motions to strike before the petitions.
He, however, added that Henry would decide whether or not the motions are an abuse of the court process on Thursday, May 4,
âWeâre doing the best we can to ensure that we give the court the fullest assistance in deciding the matter in the fashion that we are asking the court to decide it.
âWith these matters it is difficult to say that you are confident, but we feel that we have persuasive arguments; we are preparing right up to the last âYâ.â
Also speaking with reporters, Richard Williams, a lawyer for the respondents, confidently stated that they have been working hard and are ready to proceed.
Williams said Tuesdayâs proceedings went as his team anticipated and they are âquite happyâ with the fact that the judge decided to hear the motions to strike out first.
âItâs practical; it doesnât make any sense you waste money and expense to prepare for the hearing of the substantial matter and thereâs an application to strike it out, so we are quite happy that the judge has decided to move forward with the preliminary points and weâll see where it goes from here.â
However, senior counsel Anthony Astaphan, lead lawyer for the respondents, and Grahame Bollers said they would reserve their comments after the judge hears both motions.
Henry replaced her colleague Justice Brian Cottle as judge in the matter, after a sitting of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) on Tuesday, March 7, ruled that there was the appearance of bias on his part, as it relates to his June 2016 ruling that the petitions be struck out.
The Opposition New Democratic Party filed petitions challenging the results of the 2015 general elections in the Central Leeward and North Windward constituencies after the Unity Labour Party (ULP) won the elections by taking eight of the 15 parliamentary seats.
In 2016, Cottle threw out the petitions ruling that they were improperly filed. However, the ECSC ruling in March restarted the entire court process.
Up to press time the court had already heard Astaphanâs application and began hearing Johnâs counter application. John will continue to make his presentation in court today. (AS)