Full Court to deliberate soon on appeal to strike out election petition

The Full Court will soon begin deliberations on the appeal filed by Chief Election Officer Keith Lowenfield, who is seeking to have the election petition brought by opposition PPP/C parliamentarian Ganga Persaud struck out.

Before retiring from the bench, former acting Chief Justice Ian Chang had overruled Lowenfield’s application.

Persaud had filed the petition two years ago, calling on the High Court to declare the entire May 11, 2015 general elections process flawed and containing many procedural errors and so many instances of fraudulent and/or suspicious actions that “the results that have been derived from the process cannot be credibly deemed to represent accurately the will of the electorate.”

After his action was overruled, Lowenfield subsequently appealed the ruling to the Full Court of the High Court.

At a hearing yesterday morning, Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George SC and Justice Franklyn Holder, who are presiding over the matter, noted that they have received arguments from Lowenfield, which the court is in the process of reviewing.

The Chief Justice has ordered that Persaud respond to those arguments no later than October 24. Thereafter, Lowenfield has until November 7 to file responses, if necessary, to Persaud’s submissions.

The court has set a hearing for November 17, when it will seek any needed clarifications from the parties.

Attorney Anil Nandlall, on behalf of Persaud, had made the argument that Lowenfield’s appeal was filed with the wrong court.

He contended that it should have been filed at the Court of Appeal instead of the Full Court. On July 7, however, the Full Court ruled that it does have the jurisdiction to hear Lowenfield’s appeal.

Attorney Roysdale Forde, who is representing Lowenfield, had noted that the court found that in the absence of any specific provision, his client had the right to appeal to the Full Court.

Lowenfield contended in his appeal is that Justice Chang erred in law when he failed to direct his mind to the application and apply the proper principles applicable to the striking out of the petition on grounds that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action, was frivolous, vexatious, and an abuse of the process of the court.

The High Court had been asked to rule on whether the pleadings, as revealed in the election petition, disclosed a cause of action. Justice Chang had ruled that the court could not make such a determination, since it might mean that he would in essence be determining the election petition itself.

The opposition party has maintained that it has been robbed of votes through a carefully planned rigging process on the part of the APNU+AFC coalition.

Local and international observers have, however, declared that the polls were free and fair.

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