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The Court of Appeal, in a majority decision, ruled that 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 headed down the decision on Tuesday alongside Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory-Barnes and Rishi Persaud in the case – Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse v the Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and others. Justice Persaud, however, was the descending voice.
Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde, the lead attorney representing the appellants, lauded the ruling.
“The court of appeal in a historic decision found that it has jurisdiction to entertain an appeal when an election petition has been dismissed on procedural grounds.
In so doing the court dismissed the Motion filed by Douglas Mendes SC on behalf of Bharat Jagdeo and by Mohabir Nandalal SC on behalf of the Government of Guyana,” Forde explained, shortly after the conclusion of the case.
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), Bharrat Jagdeo – argued that the appellate court had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. He submitted that the appeal is not covered under Article 163 (3) of the Constitution, and as a consequent, the Court has no jurisdiction.
But both the Chancellor and Justice Gregory-Barnes agreed with the arguments advanced by Forde that Article 163 of the Constitution confers jurisdiction on the Court of Appeal to entertain an appeal when an election petition has been dismissed on procedural grounds.