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The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on July 19 was asked by Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo and Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, SC, to rule against a decision of the Court of Appeal of Guyana that it has jurisdiction to hear an election petition dismissed for improper service.
The case dealt with Election Petition # 99 of 2020 which was dismissed by acting Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire SC on the grounds of late service, non-service, or improper service – on former President David Granger
Attorneys-at-law Roysdale Forde, SC, in association with Selwyn Pieters and John Jeremie SC represented petitioners (and respondents) Monica Thomas and Brennan Nurse on behalf of the A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition.
Today the five-panel Justices by majority decision ruled the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to hear the matter. The dissenting Justices ruled the Full Court has jurisdiction to hear the matter not the Court of Appeal.
Below is the full text by Roysdale A. Forde S.C., M.P., Shadow Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs: –
Today, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) delivered its decision in the appeal of AG v Monica Thomas et al.
The majority of the panel of the CCJ, Justices Winston Anderson, Maureen Rajnauth-Lee and Jacob Wit found that the Court of Appeal possesses no Jurisdiction to entertain an appeal from the dismissal of an Election Petition on the ground of late/non service on an interested party.
The majority indicated that under the constitutional provision no appeal lay from the striking out of an Election Petition.
In dissenting opinions, Justices Denys Barrow and Peter Jamadar ruled that the Full Court possessed the Jurisdiction to entertain an appeal where an Election Petition was dismissed for non/late service on an interested party.
Justices Barrow and Jamadar opined that Section 42 of the National Assembly Validity of Elections Act conferred the Full Court with Jurisdiction to entertain such an appeal.
The judgment clarified for the first time important questions relating to the practice and procedure relating to Election Petition, the appellate Jurisdiction of the courts and underscored the need for reform.
The CJ expressed its immense displeasure at the grave breach of confidentiality reposed by the Court in Counsel.
The Court frowned on the improper release of the judgment by the Attorney General in breach of the specific confidentiality protocols governing the receipt of the said Judgment by Counsel for the parties.
The Court indicated that the conduct of the Attorney General was such that can bring the CCJ into disrepute and that it was going to engage in further consideration of the misconduct of the Attorney General.