Jul 22, 2020 News
– First hearing set for 3:00pm today
An appeal has been filed on behalf of A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Coalition Agent, Misenga Jones, to overturn the ruling of the Acting Chief Justice (CJ) Roxane George-Wiltshire in the election declaration case.
The first hearing of the matter before the Appeal Court is expected at 3:00 pm today.
The appeal filed yesterday sets out several grounds in which the listed appellant (Jones) held that the CJ purportedly erred in making her determination on the recent case filed to block the declarations of the elections.
Noting that she is dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court, Jones has asked the Appeal Court to set aside the whole decision of the CJ on the grounds that the Judge inter alia erred in law when she held that the issue of Constitutionality on Section 22 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act was res judicata.
The appeal document lists 20 grounds as the basis of which the appellant believes the CJ erred in law in making a determination of the case.
According to the Notice of Appeal, (NoA), the CJ erred in law when she held that the issues in the case were res judicata.
The document outlined further that the CJ erred in law when she misconstrued paragraphs 106 and 107 of the judgment of the majority of the Court of Appeal in the Ulita Grace Moore versus Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM); when she failed to consider that the Chairman of GECOM and or GECOM commissioners, had acted outside their constitutional and or statutory power.
Further, the NoA said that the CJ erred in law when she failed to properly construe the terms and provision of Order 60 of 2020.
According to the document, the appellant also claimed that the Judge erred in law when she ruled that the validity of order 60 of 2020 was res judicata; when she failed to consider that GECOM had exceeded its constitutional and statutory power when it issued and established the elements, mechanism and parameters of order 60 of 2020 in such terms.
In the appeal, Jones also pointed to purported facts and evidence in the matter in which the CJ overlooked and, in her view, erred in law.
Among them, the appellant claimed is the undisputed affidavit evidence adduced by the applicant and admitted by the Chief Elections Officer (the third named respondent) that the returning officers did not participate in the recount process and undisputed evidence adduced which established that the Chairman of GECOM and or commissioners, officers and agents of the commission had changed the validity of ballots or votes during the purported recount.
The document noted the CJ erred in law when she held the declarations of the returning officer made pursuant to section 84 of the Representation of the People Act had been overtaken by events, were no longer useful and could not be resurrected.
Additionally, the appeal outlined flaws in the CJ‘s judgment for failing to consider the affidavit evidence of Bharrat Jagdeo (the 7th respondent) which would have allowed her to see that Order 60 of 2020 has its genesis in an unconstitutional attempt to challenge the lawfulness in the conduct of an elections.
Further, the CJ’s judgment is being challenged on the grounds that she erred in law in her interpretation of Section 18 of the Elections Laws Amendment Act; section 96 of the Representation of the People Act; and Article 177 of the Constitution.
Last Wednesday, Jones moved to the High Court for several orders, among them a declaration to prevent the Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield from using the recount figures, which show a victory for the Opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) over the incumbent APNU+AFC.
Though, the APNU+AFC is not listed as a party in Jones’ application, this is the third court case filed on behalf of supporters of the government to prevent GECOM from making the declarations.
The two previous cases were filed on behalf of Ulita Moore and Eslyn David, both supporters of the current government. All three cases were represented by the same batch of lawyers.
And of note, was the most recent admission by Government spokesperson, Joseph Harmon that the Coalition will be appealing the CJ’s decision.
The APNU+AFC counting agent wanted the Court to make a declaration that the CEO could instead use nothing but a report based on the March 13 district declarations as the basis on which a final election declaration would be made.
That report with the fraudulent March 13 declarations made by Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, has been rejected by the GECOM Chair, retired Justice Claudette Singh.
However, in her ruling on Monday, the CJ determined the figures derived from the recount of the March 2, 2020 Regional and General Elections are valid and unless overturned by a Court in an election petition, it is the only data that could be used for the declaration.
Justice George-Wiltshire stated too that the previous 10 declarations cannot be “resurrected” at this time.
At several points in her ruling, the CJ stressed the issues outlined in the application breached the principles of res judicata which essentially meant that the issues outlined in the application were already considered and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction and therefore should not be further pursued by the parties in a similar course of litigation.
Justice George-Wiltshire specified that the issues of Jones’ application have already been dealt with by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and Court of Appeal (CoA) and as such could not be otherwise determined by the High Court.
The judge said that the High Court is also bound by the rulings of the CCJ and CoA—both competent Courts of higher jurisdictions.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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