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The Attorney General, Anil Nandlall has filed a Motion in the Appellate Court aimed at striking out the appeal challenging the dismissal of Election Petition Case 99 on the grounds that the Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determinate the case.
In February, the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) had moved to the Court of Appeal to challenge the High Court’s decision to nullify Election Petition 99 over noncompliance of service on the Second Named Respondent – David Granger.
The petitioners in the case – Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse v the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and others – told the Appellate Court that they are dissatisfied with the January 18, 2021 ruling of the Chief Justice, Roxane George. “The Learned Chief Justice erred in law and misdirected herself when she misapplied the doctrine of strict compliance by holding that such compliance related to the contents of the Affidavit of Service instead of the filing of the Affidavit of Service in a timely manner,” the petitioners said as they laid their grounds before the Appellate Court.
But the Attorney General, in a Motion filed days ago, sought an Order to strike out the appeal, arguing that the Court has no jurisdiction. In defending his Motion, the Attorney General told the Appellate Court that the High Court did not grant or refuse leave for the case to be appealed in accordance with Article 163 (3) of the Constitution.
“The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal from a decision of the High Court in an Election Petition must be founded in the Constitution or statue. There is no statutory or constitutional instrument granting jurisdiction to the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal of an Election Petition dismissed for procedural impropriety, or any other reason not stated in Article 163 (1) of the Constitution,” the Attorney General submitted.
Petition 99 is intended to vitiate the results of the 2020 General and Regional Elections on the grounds that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) failed to conduct free and fair elections in keeping with its constitutional requirements.
The petitioners, through their battery of lawyers led by Senior Counsel Rex McKay and Attorney-at-Law Mayo Robertson, had intended to prove that the election was marred by widespread irregularities and cases of electoral fraud but the Chief Justice, in handing down her judgement, said the petition was short lived due to the issue of late service.