From the Courts
April 29, 2016
Judge gives petitioners, respondents time to come to agreement

In order to save time and money the respondents and the petitioners can come to an agreement to take the case to the court of appeal.{{more}}

Justice Brian Cottle made this suggestion yesterday at the High Court before he adjourned the matter surrounding an application made by Ben Exeter and Lauron Baptiste contesting the election results in Central Leeward and North Leeward, to May 12 2016.

Between the April 8 and April 28 the respondents filed a motion to strike out the petition, substantially the same terms as the application that they had filed, which Queen’s Counsel Stanley ‘Stalky’ John says the judge had refused after it was heard in his chambers.

Yesterday, Cottle urged counsel on both sides to come to an agreement because he was of the view that that was the most appropriate and effective means of disposal of these preliminary issues in order to save time.

John says that because of the judgement passed by Cottle the respondents are insisting that the case go to trial, since Cottle had initially stated that once it goes to trial the case is bound-to-be thrown out.

John said the lawyers are “hell-bent on having the judge hear their application so that he can pronounce the decision consistent with the opinion that he telescoped”.

The senior lawyer stated that in the final analysis, Cottle made it clear that he would be inclined to send the questions of law to the court of appeal for its determination.

Cottle told the court that on the adjourned date, he would be considering all motions that are now pending; the motion for

directions for trial and the motion to strike out and other applications that are pending before the court in relation to the petitions.

However, Lawyer of the respondents Richard Williams is of the view that these election matters are of grave importance and should be done expeditiously.

“They are not matters that should be hanging over the head of the public, it’s things that we should have finality to as soon as possible and we’ll be endeavouring to do what is just and right to have these matters finally be done” he said.

Williams however told reporters that, in the circumstances, it looks like the outcome would be more favourable to them.

Additionally, the lawyer refuted statements by supporters of the New Democratic Party that the respondents are using delay tactics.

“We were not really adverse to have it heard this morning but obviously every time we try get our matter heard we have the other side who makes objections saying that you know we should wait, the time is not right as yet and so it’s not really our fault, we really want to have these matters done as expeditiously as possible” he added.

While weighing in on the topic Lawyer for the respondents Graham Bollers stated that the court had already ruled that the petitions are not properly filed.

“I don’t understand how they can say that we’re delaying the hearing of the petition…From hearing the petitions the court has already pronounced that they would be striking them out, we want them to be heard, it’s them who are actually delaying the matter coming up, by filing application for directions and sorts of other stuff.”

Bollers said they should be moving to hearing the petitions so that the court can strike them out.