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The Court of Appeal will decide on December 21 whether it has jurisdiction to hear an appeal challenging the High Court’s decision to nullify Election Petition 99 over noncompliance of service, Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Yonette Cummings-Edwards announced on Friday.
At the time, the Chancellor (ag) was presiding over the case – Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse v the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and others – along aside Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory-Barnes and Rishi Persaud.
When the matter came up in June, Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes – the attorney representing the Leader of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), BharratJagdeo – argued that the appellate court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. He argued that the appeal is not covered under Article 163 (3) of the Constitution, and as a consequent, the Court has no jurisdiction.
But Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, counsel for the petitioners, argued that while the Constitution specifically confers upon the Court of Appeal jurisdiction to entertain appeals in specified circumstances as set out in Article 163 of the Constitution in relation to Election Petitions, it also confers on the Court of Appeal by Article 123 (1) of the Constitution, “such jurisdiction and powers as are conferred on those Courts respectively by this Constitution or any other law.”
Those arguments continued in July. During that hearing, the Appellate Court asked the attorneys to determine whether the appeal should have been filed to the Full Court as against the Court of Appeal taking into consideration that the substantive questions in the petition were not addressed by the High Court due to its decision to strike out the matter base on a technical error.
Secondly, the Appellate Judges asked the attorneys to determine whether the Court of Appeal has sole jurisdiction to hear the appeal given the special jurisdiction created for election petition cases.
Submissions have since been made, and the Court will hand down its ruling on December 21, 2021 at 14:00hrs.