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Justice Esco Henry. (iWN file photo)
Justice Esco Henry. (iWN file photo)
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The judge in the election petitions case says the failure of some of the lawyers involved in the case to obey an order she gave in July 2017 led to the “delay” in her ruling on whether to give permission to inspect ballot boxes used in the 2015 general election.

On Tuesday, when she gave the ruling denying such permission, Justice Esco Henry said that she had not received from some of the lawyers in the matter, electronic copies of written submissions, pleadings and affidavits on the application, which was heard Dec. 12 and 13.

Henry said she was “disappointed” that some of the lawyers involved in the matter did not comply with the order of the court.

The judge first made the observation in open court after consulting with both sides about whether they had sent the documents.

Maia Eustace, instructing solicitor for the petitioners, said that her side had sent the documents.

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Richards Williams, a lawyer for the respondents, said that he thinks that his side sent them but was not “a hundred per cent sure”.

The judge noted that after hearing arguments in December 2017, she had promised a decision in January or February 2018.

She observed that it has taken a full two months to prepare the decision.

Henry said the information she has from the clerk and the secretary was that lawyers for the petitioners submitted some of the documents electronically but the other parties did not.

“If that is correct, that, largely, is attributable for what might be considered by some a delay in delivering this decision. And appropriate remarks will be appended to the end of this decision,” the judge told the court, and went on to read the main point of her decision, before circulating the written version a few hours later.

In a postscript to her written judgement, Henry said she “must confess that I remain disappointed and askance that some counsel without proffering an explanation, did not supply electronic copies of written submissions, pleadings and affidavits in accordance with the court order dated 12th July 2017.”

She, however, said that Grahame Bollers and Carlos James, two lawyers for the respondents, did not fall into that category.

“Legal practitioners for the Petitioner Benjamin Exeter provided electronic copies of some but not all documents, including their skeleton arguments/written submissions and affidavits sworn to by Mr. Exeter.

“Whether it was due to inadvertence, design or otherwise, the flouting of the court’s order in a case of some significance in which no less than 10 legal practitioners appear on the record, is frightening and cause for concern. It paints a very stark and vocal picture of the state of aspects of the administration of justice, especially in circumstances when some of the region’s leading lawyers appear,” Henry wrote in her judgement.

The judge said that such conduct “is alarming and sends the wrong signals.

“Equally significantly, it militates against the expeditious dispatch of the court’s work since the judge must of necessity sit to reconstruct the relevant portions of pleadings, affidavits and exhibits instead of cutting, pasting and adjusting in a more timely fashion as permitted by the technology.

“Suffice it to say, that if this is how the legal practitioners intend to conduct themselves during this matter, it is unlikely that the final decision will be rendered within the timelines contemplated by the Court of Appeal, when it sent this matter back to the High Court for determination in March 2017.”

Ben Exeter, who was the main opposition New Democratic Party in Central Leeward in the 2015 polls, filed the motion to inspect the ballot boxes as part of a petition he has brought challenging the results in that district.

The NDP’s Lauron Baptiste is also challenging the outcome in North Windward, where the ruling Unity Labour Party’s Montgomery Daniel was declared the winner.

14 replies on “Lawyers’ caused delay of ballot box inspection ruling”

  1. The judge does not want to say it but it is the ULP side that has constantly been causing the delay. Look at what the ULP lawyer said: “I thought we sent them in but I am not 100% sure.” They act like it is small mistakes but from the very beginning, as some of us have said, the trend was obvious: Delay, delay, delay! By the time the petitions will be heard we will at least be shortly before the next election.
    Our “Just Us” system benefits the powerful corrupt and is the model of INEFFEICIENCY for the meek.

    When will we one day get leadership that is NOT corrupt and promotes efficiency instead of what we have in SVG right now?

    1. Lost Pet: stop being foolish. there are some smart people who post on this site and even more who read it. Our Justice system is not a Vincentian created model. It is an English created model with a wider Caribbean Appeal Court and the highest court, the Privy Council residing in England. It may be inefficient if you mean that it comes to its decisions slowly. But it is not corrupt. Neither the ULP nor the NDP has the power to corrupt the Privy Council. Now if you want quicker decisions we can step out of that system immediately and set up our own Supreme Court residing in St. Vincent. But I suspect that court would be corruptible. And you do too.

    2. C. ben-David says:

      Nonsense. As usual, it was Elizabeth Law Chambers, headed by Stanley “Stalkey” John, perhaps through incompetence, perhaps through the instructions given to him by his clients, is responsible for this delay.

      Indeed, delay, delay, delay serves the interests of the NDP far more than the ULP, given the weak case that the former has, made fatally weak by the decision about inspecting the ballot boxes.

      1. The problem with what you wrote is that the ULP lawyer admits he made the mistake, causing the delay. Obviously he did so intentionally.

    3. Lololol.. But the petitioners had a chance in st. Lucia to argue their case in front of a higher court of appeals and they turned in down almost a year ago now plus not to mention many delays after by lead counsel of the petitioners….. Are you serious with this remark lols

      1. The legal system does not work that way in any country, or are you a bigger expert than all the courts?

      2. You say that if we have a problem in SVG about something that occured in SVG we can seek redress in Saint Lucia?…AI, get a brain, put it in gear then write your comment instead of wasting everyone’s time with stupidity. That case was about a judges bias, not ballot boxes. How old are you anyway? Are you a school child?

      1. Lostpet you are a bigger fool than I thought….. The topic is about delay, so do you want me to break it down for you….. When God was giving away sense I guess he deprive you of yours .

  2. C. ben-David says:

    Any rational and objective observer would know that this whole election petition effort is an attempt by the NDP to keep their base energizing until the next election.

    If they lose the case, how could they possibly explain the loss of four elections in a row to their supporters except to admit that the ULP is favoured by more voters?

    So, better to delay an outcome they would surely lose by by balling that the election was stolen.

    1. So all those things the ULP did was not corrupt? Including passing our lumber and galvanize before elections?

  3. There is a perfectly logical explanation why in two consecutive rulings Judge Henry has accused both sets of lawyers of abuse of process. And that’s because both sets of lawyers know that no court in the Caribbean has ever overturned an election. And they also know none ever will. The reason is pretty straightforward: by the time the case is heard and re-heard, and then appealed, the new election would be upon us. What a fraud!

    1. C. ben-David says:

      I agree with your message 100 percent!

      If the court finds for the petitioner, all hell would break loose because nearly even election in the Caribbean has some sort or irregularity attached to it.

      Revolution anyone?

  4. Lol the judge should charge the NDP for the total cost of the case and trying to perpetrate fraud on the court!!! Lol
    They need to withdraw this case at once and save the tax payers millions of dollars then focus their efforts on what blueprint they have in place for the positive advancement of our country.

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