Respondents’ lawyer asks judge to give reasons for rejecting two complaints
A LAWYER for the respondents in the petitions case has asked the judge who presided over the matters to give reasons why he rejected two of the complaints made by Lauron Baptiste, petitioner in the North Windward constituency.
Joseph Delves, in a letter written to Registrar of the High Court Andrea Young on March 22, one day after Justice Stanley John had delivered his decision, asked that the Registrar bring his letter to the attention of the judge as “a matter of urgency”.
“I write on the advice of senior counsel to draw to his lordship’s attention that he omitted to give reasons for his rejection of the petitioners complaint,” Delves said in his letter.
He referred specifically to the claim that there were 39 more counterfoils than there were ballots at polling station “NW1” in North Windward and that there was no recount of the ballots on the day after the election, a claim which was advanced through the evidence of Cheryl Sutherland but denied by the returning officer Vil Davis.
“Given that there is very likely to be an appeal in this matter and that the Court of Appeal would no doubt be assisted by his Lordship’s reasons, particularly on the question why he seemingly rejected the evidence of Miss Sutherland, I write to ask his Lordship to consider providing his supplementary reasons on these issues,” Delves wrote.
In a second letter dated March 27, and again addressed to the Registrar, Delves enquired whether Justice John had received the first letter and when the parties may expect his Lordship’s supplementary reasons.
Justice John dismissed the petitions filed by the candidates of the New Democratic Party (NDP) in both Central Leeward and North Windward in a judgement delivered on March 21. He said he could find no evidence to support the major issues raised by the petitioners.
The respondents in the North Windward petition are returning officer Vil Davis, presiding officer Veronica John, successful candidate for the Unity Labour Party Montgomery Daniel and supervisor of elections Sylvia Findlay-Scrubb.
Leader of the Opposition Dr Godwin Friday at a press conference yesterday referred to the two letters and said they were written although the parties involved knew that Justice John’s tenure as the judge in the matter ended on March 21.
“Now as you know we are not the only ones that believe the judgement is flawed. The lawyers for the respondents also think so and have written to the Registrar of the High Court saying that the decision is flawed and urging that Justice Stanley John fix it by giving additional reasons for his decision,” Friday said.
The opposition leader said that in his opinion, what Delves is saying is that the judgement did not deal with the significant evidence presented by the petitioners at the trial and Delves is also suggesting that the problem with the judgement be corrected before an appeal is launched.
“That is extraordinary…the respondents’ lawyers in the North Windward constituency case are very concerned about the judgement in which they say they won.
“They were very anxious and could not wait even for one week for the court to reply to their first letter, they had to write
again. It would seem that they were anxious to have the judge give additional reasons for his decision to fix the problems with the judgement that they had identifi ed before an appeal was filed by the petitioners.
“What are they afraid of?”, Dr. Friday asked.
He added that the lawyers for the respondents may now have more reason to worry because the court replied to Delves’ letters saying acting Justice John was no longer a judge as his appointment ended on March 21, the same day he gave his judgement and that he had been informed of the letter.
“Knowing he was no longer a judge, they still asked him to act as judge to correct problems they saw with his judgement.
“This is extraordinary. The people who claim that they won the petition cases are now complaining that the decision of the judge in respect of the North Windward constituency case is seriously flawed,” Friday commented.
He added also that the NDP is disappointed with the outcome of the case and will appeal.