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BREAKING: Judge recuses herself from petitions case

High Court judge, Justice Esco Henry, on Tuesday, recused herself from the election petitions trial.

Maia Eustace, instructing solicitor for the petitioners, confirmed this to iWitness News.

Eustace, however, said that the legal team for the petitioners was in a meeting and she would provide details later.

The decision by Justice Henry comes mere days after she granted an application, last Friday, by Carlos James, a member of the respondents’ legal team, to postpone until next February the hearing of oral testimonies, originally scheduled for this week.

James made the application alleging that Grahame Bollers, senior counsel for two of the respondents, is unwell and his doctors have ordered him to rest.

Benjamin “Ben” Exeter and Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, of the main opposition New Democratic Party, are challenging the announced victories in Central Leeward and North Windward, of Sir Louis Straker and Montgomery Daniel, of the ruling Unity Labour Party.

The ULP won the general election by an 8-7 margin, giving it a fourth consecutive term in office.

In Friday’s ruling, Justice Henry noted that she is under orders by the Court of Appeal to hear the petitions as expeditiously as possible.

The petitions have been winding their way through the courts since December 2015.

The Court of Appeal reinstated them in March 2017 after ruling that the decision by Justice Brian Cottle showed apparent bias when he, in June 2016, dismissed the petitions as improperly before the court.

Comments (6)

  1. This will surely delay the case by at least a year. Meanwhile the next election could easily be called within the next eight months.

    I assume that Judge realized that she erred in calling for a postponment of the case without more substantial proof of Bollers’ medical condition.

    Watch a time in little SVG!

    • C.ben, your assumption is as good as mine and there are more questions than answers with this latest issue.

      (1) Did she also recuse herself from the other 12 or so matters that were also slated for hearing during that period?

      (2) If her reason for reusing herself from the petitions trial was due to the fact that there were other matters slated for hearing besides those of the petitions, was that a good enough reason for her to do so?

      (3) When did she learn that there were other matters down for hearing for that said period which was set aside specifically for the petitions trial?

      (4) Shouldn’t judges have prior knowledge/notice as to what matters they’ll be presiding over long before the dates are due?

      (5) Why couldn’t a judge be assigned to replace Justice Henry for the same time span that the respondents’ team was given to replace Mr. Bollers?

      There are many more questions in the mix of this situation at hand but I’ll assume as well that the answers to them all will be revealed before our very eyes in due course.

  2. It’ll would’ve been very interesting to hear the reason(s) for the judge to have done so. Being an adjudicator in such a high profile matter before the high court, the judge’s decision to recuse herself from the petitions trial begs me to ask this puzzling question: Why have she done so just days after having granted an application by the respondents’ legal team for a further postponement of the petitions hearing? I’m positively sure that that’s the first question that will pop up into anybody’s mind reading this news item for the first time.

  3. I think the esteemed Judge Henry would make an ideal appointee to the CCJ. This would add some gender balance to the CCJ.

  4. Justice in St Vincent at its finest. She is more than a joke. […] They are using every trick in the book to avoid the case being heard in court. Coincidence my backside. Why didn’t she just dismiss the case? It is obvious that this is her intention, the only thing holding her back is the appeals court setting that it was previously done so with bias.

  5. It seems the governmental powers are doing everything to delay these hearings as much as possible. This judge said recently that this incident needs to be dealt with more quickly, now her actions insure that we will have a very large delay, three months at the very least. Is the legal system in SVG so incompetent? It is now three years since the election. There are many other countries that have had elections AFTER our election and they have already been to court and decided. Weeks ago in Florida the incident was decided almost immediately. What kind of a Banana Republic country are we living in? We have a Prime Minister that has sweeping powers when it serves his purpose, when it does not serve his purpose we have what we see going on right now. If he were confident that the election was free and fair this would have been decided long ago.

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