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Election petitions back in court today

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When the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) case seeking permission to inspect ballot boxes from the Central Leeward constituency continues today at the High Court, one of the respondents will object to an amended Notice of Motion filed by the petitioners on November 9.

During the last High Court appearance on October 25, a draft order for consent of inspection of the ballot boxes was unexpectedly rejected by lawyers for petitioner Benjamin Exeter.

Counsel for the petitioners Stanley John QC said at that time that his team wanted to reserve the right to have all 15 ballots boxes of the constituency, and not just the four ballot boxes in the consent order, fully inspected in the future.

The fifth respondent in the petitions, the Attorney-General, has served notice that when the case continues today, he intends to “object to the validity and consequently the hearing of the Amended Notice of Motion” filed on November 9.

The notice gives four grounds for objection: “1. On 12th July 2017 this Court made an order permitting any party to file any notices of Application during the adjournment. 2. The adjourned date was the 24th day of October 2017. 3. The Amended Notice of Motion was

filed after the adjourned date. 4. The Amended Notice of Motion is in substance and effect a new application and raises allegations or matters not pleaded by the petitioner; more specifically a) the Petitioner is bound by his pleaded case in his Petition. b) The Petitioner is unable to amend his Petition or go beyond the case pleaded in the Petition by application or otherwise. c) the Petitioner is purporting to raise allegations in respect of ballots or Polling Divisions or Stations which have not been pleaded in the Petition. d) It purports to broaden the scope of the Court’s enquiry to scrutiny or recount of all the ballot boxes in the constituency of Central Leeward notwithstanding that in his Petition the Petitioner Benjamin Exeter pleaded allegations in respect of four boxes only namely ‘CLF’, ‘CLF1’, ‘CLB” and ‘CLB1’. e) The Court has no jurisdiction to grant an order for the scrutiny or recount of ballots in respect of which there has been no pleading in the Petition.”

The NDP is contesting the results of the 2015 General Elections in the consituencies of Central Leeward and North Windward.

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