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BREAKING: Court postpones petitions hearing, orders that lawyer be replaced

The High Court on Friday upheld an application by the respondents in the election petitions case and ordered that next week’s hearing of oral evidence be postponed.

Carlos James, junior counsel for Members of Parliament for Central Leeward, Sir Louis Straker and his North Windward counterpart, Montgomery Daniel, had made the application on behalf of his clients.

James is junior to Grahame Bollers, the lead counsel for Straker and Daniel, whose election to Parliament in the December 2015 polls are being challenged.

He said that his clients are asking that the dates be vacated because Bollers is ill and his physician has ordered him to rest.

However, the lawyers for the respondent objected to the application, saying that while they empathised with Bollers, they had to also balance the interest of their clients, who have been waiting since December 2015 to find out if Straker and Daniel were in fact elected to Parliament.

Benjamin Exeter and Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, both of the main opposition New Democratic Party, are asking the court to declare void the announced election of Straker and Daniel.

In her ruling on Friday, Justice Esco Henry noted that the applicants had provided evidence that Bollers has been suffering since 2006 with a medical condition that had gotten progressively worse.

She said the medical report presented to the court suggests that Bollers would have to cease work soon.

The jurist said that when Straker and Daniel retained Bollers in 2015, they did not know about his medical condition.

Counsel Carlos James after his application was granted on Friday. (iWN photo)

Justice Henry said that the court has to consider whether it would be reasonable to dismiss the application in these circumstances and concluded that it would not be.

She also said the court must answer in the negative the question of whether it is reasonable to ask the respondents to retain new counsel over the weekend — in time for the scheduled hearing on Monday.

She, therefore, set the next hearing for  Feb 11. to March 1, 2019 — the period that parties had agreed.

The judge also ordered that  Straker and Daniel are required to identify and retain new counsel to represent them at the continuation of the trial and each adjourned hearing after today’s date.

Justice Henry also ordered that the respondents arrange for such new counsel to be provided, on or before Dec. 14, 2018, with all pleadings, witness statements, affidavits, trial bundles and documentation in the matter to enable them to represent each of the third respondents respectively at each adjourned hearing in this matter.

The matter was therefore adjourned to Jan. 24, 2019 for a status hearing.

Comments (7)

  1. Allegedly ill since 2006 with some unnamed progressive cardio-vascular condition and only now his attending general practitioner, Dr. Wayne D. Murray, is telling Bollers “to cease and desist all work related activity and has been referred for various tests and to cardiac specialists out of the jurisdiction” (https://www.iwnsvg.com/2018/11/29/court-to-hear-govt-application-to-delay-petitions/) makes no sense to me whatsover.

    Twelve years have passed, and there is either no clearly diagnosed ailment and the need for further tests in a field of medicine where diagnoses are more easily established than many other fields?

    These include: Myocardial infarction; Heart failure; Heart arrhythmia; Cardiovascular disease; Coronary artery disease; Hypertension; Angina pectoris; Atheroma; Atrial fibrillation; Cardiomyopathy; Congenital heart defect; Heart valve disease; Cardiac arrest; Peripheral artery disease; Aortic stenosis; Tachycardia; Endocarditis; Pericarditis; Bradycardia; Acute coronary syndrome; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; and Rheumatic fever.

    All are well known and studied afflictions and many are treatable.

    A close family member of mine had a chronic and progressive heart-lung condition that developed in middle age and was treated with medication and the constant use of oxygen. He died in his mid-eighties and worked every day until his demise.

    The court and the Petitioners should have been informed about exactly what medical condition Bollers is suffering from. In the interest of the appearance of justice, the public should have been informed as well unless there was some compelling legally-based reason for not doing so.

    No wonder our people are so reluctant to join the Caribbean Court of Justice.

  2. More delaying tactics, it’s disgraceful.

  3. One more thing, why did the Respondents wait until the 11th hour to spring this on Court and the Petitioners when they could have done it two months ago and recruited a replacement lawyer?

    Again, none of this passes the smell test.

    • You are right. I remember another commenter, your partner, Lostpet, that told us soon after the election that the ULP will “delay, delay, delay, for as long as they can from keeping the petitions from getting heard..

  4. If it’s true its good news befalling a dynasty collaborator. Or maybe he wants to opt out of the dynasty collaboration now he has built his castle at Kitchen.

    Stinking rich with hardly a hitch.

    I agree with you David it certainly has the smell of sewage about it.

  5. Fair Balance

    The High Court in Sitting of Election dispute in ST.lucia, The order of the Court was to move this matter fast so conclusion to this Election Melody.

    The use an Adjective word “Expiditious” meaning; Speed, swift, quick, rapid, fast, brisk, etcs.
    But in our Education Revolution in SVG this word “Expiditious ” carries different meaning in Judicial prudency and governmental affairs.

    An example to this when the No CONfIDENT Vote automatically became a CONFIDENT Vote in Parliament, but not according to our Constitution.

    We can we find it the good Book said in Proverb “Give fair Balance to all”

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