The High Court will on Thursday (today) give its decision on an application by the petitioners in the election petitions case for a copy of the audio recording of Tuesday’s court proceedings.
Lead lawyer for the petitioners, Queen’s Counsel, Stanley “Stalky” John made the request in court on Tuesday.
He told Justice Esco Henry that the recordings are for the petitioners and their clients to facilitate their preparations for the hearing.
Lead lawyer for the respondents, Dominican Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan told the court that he was not objecting to the request but asked that the court indicate that there can be consequences if the recordings are used for other purposes.
“What if they end up on radio?” Astaphan said and asked that safeguards be put in place to prevent the recordings from “falling into the wrong hands”.
Grahame Bollers, another lawyer for the respondents, also told the court that he, too, was not opposing the request, but was asking for an undertaking from the parties that the recording would be used only for preparing for the hearing.
He also asked the court to impose consequences if the recording is used for other purposes.
John, in response, asked the court to consider Section 8(9) of the constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
That section says:
“Where the existence or extent of any civil right to obligation has been determined in proceedings in any court or before any other authority any party to those proceedings shall, if he so requires as subject to payment of such reasonable fee as may be prescribed by law, be entitled to obtain within a reasonable time after the judgment or other determination a copy of any record of the proceedings made by or on behalf of the court or other authority.”
The judge said that, out of an abundance of caution, she was asking John to respond to the argument that there should be.
“It is difficult to see what sanctions there can be,” John responded.
The judge then said she would reserve her decision until Thursday — when hearing in the matter continues.
John then asked if the transcripts of the proceedings would be made available in the regular way, and the judge said yes.
The main opposition New Democratic Party has brought petitions challenging the results of the Central Leeward and North Windward vote in the 2015 general elections.
Electoral officials say the Unity Labour Party won eight of the 18 seats, while the remaining seven went to the NDP.