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Justice Thom sets aside previous High Court ruling on SJCK student

Justice Thom sets aside previous High Court ruling on SJCK student


The student at the centre of the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown (SJCK) impasse, will from today, attend the Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia (EHSM).{{more}}

The ex-parte order made by Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle on September 20, to have the fourth form student reinstated at the SJCK, after she had been transferred to EHSM, was yesterday set aside by Justice Gertel Thom at the High Court.

The child will therefore attend the EHSM with immediate effect, at least until the final determination of the substantive matter, which will be heard on November 15.

In delivering her decision, Thom said, having heard the submission on behalf of the applicant and the respondents and having reviewed documents filed in the matter, she was of the view that given the present state of affairs, it would be greater prejudice for the child to remain to at the SJCK, than for the transfer to EHSM to take effect.

The judge said she reviewed all the documents and looked carefully at the affidavits that were filed by the child’s mother and when considered carefully, she found there was nothing in the affidavit, which pointed her to any prejudice that the student would suffer if there was not a mandatory injunction for her to attend the St Joseph’s Convent Kingstown.

“It was not a situation where [the child] was being expelled from school and was not being afforded education. There was nothing to show me that her attending Emmanuel High School Mesopotamia, they were not offering the subjects for which she had signed up and that she would not get education at Emmanuel High School, which is attended by several hundred Vincentian students.

“There was nothing to show on the affidavits any prejudice whatsoever to [the child]. On the other hand, the affidavits, both from [the mother] and the respondents were showing that there was quite a rift between both sides. In those circumstances, I thought the least prejudice pending the outcome of the substantive matter, would not be to grant an injunction. I didn’t see anything that she would have been prejudiced.

“It is in those circumstances that I discharge the order of Justice Bruce-Lyle,” she ruled.

“I will therefore set aside the order and I will make no order for an injunction in this case,” Justice Thom ruled.

There was also no order of costs.

Justice Thom stated that she will soon give in writing, reasons for her decision, which will be made available to both parties as soon as it is ready.

Following Justice Thom’s decision shortly after 6 p.m. yesterday, Balcombe was congratulated by a number of principals and Ministry of Education officials outside the courtroom.

As they celebrated, the child’s mother exited the courthouse, accompanied by her lawyer Jomo Thomas, and wearing sunglasses.

Last Friday, October 4, Justice Wesley James granted Thomas leave to file a claim in the substantive matter within seven days. Justice James also ordered the respondents to file their reply on or before November 8. and set a date for the hearing of the substantive matter for November 15.

The applicant in the matter is the mother of the child, while the respondents are the school’s principal, Calma Balcombe, the Ministry of Education, Chief Education Officer Lou-anne Gilchrist, and Senior Education Officer with responsibility for secondary schools Asfo Stephens.(KW)