(This story was updated to include the details of the order of the court)

The opposition New Democratic Party’s election petitions have been reinstated.

The Court of Appeal, sitting in St. Lucia on Tuesday made the decision, citing apparent bias of the trial judge, Justice Brian Cottle.

The NDP is challenging the results of the Dec. 9, 2015, general elections in Central Leeward and North Windward.

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The NDP is asking the court to declare them the winner of the elections in the contested districts or to order fresh elections there.

Justice Cottle had initially thrown out the petitions as improperly filed, but the NDP appealed that decision.

After some delay, the appeal was heard in St. Lucia on Tuesday and the Court of Appeal has reinstated the petitions.

The Court of Appeal has ordered that the order to strike out petitions be set aside, that the hearing of petitions and motions to strike be remitted to the High Court to be heard by a different judge expeditiously.

The court also awarded costs to the appellants in the lower court and in the Court of Appeal.

Electoral officials say that the ruling Unity Labour Party won eight of the 15 parliamentary seats while the remaining seven went to the NDP — in a repeat of the 2010 election results.

On account of those results, the ULP is more than a year into its fourth consecutive term in office.

This is a developing story and iWitness News will update you on the full ruling and its implications in a subsequent story.

6 replies on “BREAKING: Appeal Court reinstates NDP election petitions”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Will this provoke Gonsalves to seek to dissolve parliament and call fresh national elections to avoid the possibility of losing the elections petitions cases which would either see the opposition given these seats or new by-elections called with the ULP having to bear the cross of having stolen the previous elections?

    According to our constitution, the decision to prorogue parliament rests with the Governor General. If he does so based on the PM’s advise before the appeals are heard, he risks destroying his reputation for all time because he will clearly and rightly be seen as biased when his sworn duty is to do what is best for our country, in this case allow the courts to decide this issue in a timely fashion.

    On the other hand, if the elections appeals go to court as today’s judgment decrees, winning the case would be very difficult because no Caribbean court, indeed no court anywhere, would easily overturn the will of the people in an election unless deliberate fraud is proven.

    In other words, it would not be enough to argue that a series of unintentional errors were made by incompetent election personal because it is well known that such errors are made in nearly every election in every country around the world.

    1. Your posts are so entertaining, it’s seems as though you are a sore loser.
      Forget politics and tell us how you can contribute towards making SVG Great.
      From the Dept of your anger, I must assume you have never contributed towards the betterment of Our country. You are probably one of those “gravey train kids” whose parents were NDP [email protected]$ kissers and not nation builders.
      So take my advise, stop posting negativity, go back to svg work with the people and for the people. Forget the party-ism. Contain your hate.

      From a Vincy who served my country flawlessly and work with the political parties for the betterment of our country.

      1. Yeah! the guy that won cheated fair and square so we should all go back to sleep or take some Soma, and continue worshiping the baddest of the bad.
        Obama and Hillary cheated fair and square against Trump (wire taps and much, much more) and lost anyway; no wonder Obama is setting up his deep state shadow government to continue pulling strings. 2016 will be the year of cheating leaders and let’s hope 2017 will be the year they get caught.

  2. Dr. Dexter Lewis says:

    It is disgraceful that the ULP has corrupted our electoral system with such overwhelming fraud. The simple solution would be for Gonsalves and his family to resign and go home. There is nothing good that can ever come from them.

  3. This issue is actually less complex and earth shattering than it mightat first appear. The Appeals Court has ruled that once Cottle indicated how he would rule BEFORE he actually ruled, even if his substance of the rulling is correct, the process is incorrect. In signalling how he would rule before he actually ruled he gave the appearance of bias – and in a judicial proceeeding the judge must not only avoid bias, he must avoid the appearance of bias.

    All this means is the new judge could rule precisely as Cottle did – or as Cottle did not. And in either case loser would take the case to the Appeals Court again. And to compound the craziness here, the ruleing is limited to only whther the petitions should be heard – not if the claims of the petition have merit. That would be a different case. All in all, this is just a waste of time.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Only your first paragraph is correct. The new judge would have to hear the entire case, according to the Appeal Court ruling, which would simultaneously includes both the issue of the legitimacy of the petitions — a matter involving what is called procedural issue — and the content of the petitions — a matter of substantive law.

      In other words, his final ruling — which may be appealed, as you say — could be based on either or both grounds.

      No separate cases would be heard.

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