Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, centre, and the petitioners, Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste, left, and Benjamin “Ben” Exeter at the press conference on Thursday. (iWN photo)

The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has signalled its intention to appeal the ruling of the High Court, dismissing the two petitions challenging the outcome of the vote in the December 2015 general election.

At a press conference in Kingstown on Thursday, Opposition Leader and NDP President, Godwin Friday, announced the petitioners’ intention to appeal.

The NDP’s Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste and Benjamin “Ben” Exeter filed the petitions challenging the victory of the Unity Labour Party’s Montgomery Daniel and Louis Straker in North Windward and Central Leeward in the Dec. 9, 2015 polls.

However, then acting High Court judge Justice Stanley John, in a March 21 ruling, dismissed the petitions — after a trial that ended two weeks earlier.

At Thursday’s press conference, Friday said that to the “great disappointment and, indeed, consternation” of the NDP, Justice John found that, save for the complaint of partiality on the part of election officials in Central Leeward, there was “no evidence” to support the petitioners’ complaints

“With all due respect to the court, we, in the New Democratic Party, do not agree with that judgement,” said Friday, a lawyer.

He said that the NDP’s lawyers have advised that the judgement of the court is flawed in many respects and that there are solid grounds for appeal.

“In the court of public opinion, the decision of the court has also been found wanting and the general public sentiment has been critical of it,” the opposition leader told reporters and media audiences.

“For the petitioners, for the lawyers who have ably represented them, for the NDP and for the wider public, the matter is not settled. After three years of struggle, of ups and downs, of highs and lows, of triumphs and setbacks, the matter remains unresolved.

The petitioners, with the full support of the NDP, have therefore decided to appeal the decision of Acting Justice Stanley John to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal. I support that decision and the NDP will, as always, stand firmly behind the petitioners, as the parties in matter, and our legal team as the case proceeds to the Court of Appeal.”

He said that the NDP’s legal team is in the process of preparing the necessary documents to file the appeal.

“When this work is complete, the appeal will be filed without delay,” the opposition leader said.

He said that when the petitions were filed immediately following the 2015 poll, the NDP “gave the commitment to the people of this country that we would pursue the petitions to their just conclusion.

 “We had hoped that the moment would have been March 21, 2019 when acting Justice Stanley John delivered his decision. Sadly, that was not to be. Despite the testimony of many witnesses and the cogent and well-supported submissions of the petitioners’ lead lawyers, Mr. Stanley ‘Stalky’ John, Q.C. and Mr. Keith Scotland, the court ruled against the petitioners.”

He said that the NDP is profoundly disappointed with that decision, and will persevere.

“The route of appeal has been used successfully by us before and we will return to that arena again in our continuing and legitimate search for a just result in the matter,” Friday said.

He was referring to the decision of the Court of Appeal to reinstate the petitions in June 2017, thereby overturning the decision of High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle to dismiss the petitions as improperly filed.

“I am hopeful that the Court of Appeal will review the evidence and the jurisprudence and come to a different decision from that of the trial judge. We have good reason to hope that this will happen. Our lawyers have advised us that the judgement is deeply flawed and that it presents many good grounds for appeal,” Friday said. 

7 replies on “Opposition to appeal petitions ruling”

  1. C ben-David says:

    Unfortunately for the NDP, “In the court of public opinion, the decision of the court has also been found wanting and the general public sentiment has been critical of it,” has no legal meaning or relevance, none whatsoever, since this “court of public opinion” consists entirely of power hungry NDP party brass and their grass roots supporters hopelessly ignorant of our election laws, both groups understandably eagre to displace a spendthrift ULP government after 18 long and painful years in the political wilderness, a place they well deserve given their compulsive attempts going back to December 2015 to flog a dead election loss donkey.

  2. Elma Gabriel says:

    Sadly for Mr. Friday that due to the fear of the unknown; is of the assumption that he has to tug along with the petition sufferings that the party has gotten familiar with. They are just having a hard time letting go and align their focus for the upcoming election.
    Have some confident in the voters that if “the judgement is deeply flawed,” the ballots will reflect such; following effective campaigned rationalization and keen interest at the polling stations.

  3. IF YOU ARE GOING TO FILE AN APPEAL BASED ON ..YOU DONT AGREE WITH THE JUDGE THAT THERE WASNT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE OR , AS YOU PUT IT NO EVIDENCE , IM AFRAID YOU ALREADY LOST YOUR APPEAL BEFORE YOU EVEN START . I AM NO LAWYER BUT BUT MY KNOWLEDGE CANNOT SEE ANY LEGAL GROUNDS HERE TO HANG YOUR HAT ON “……THE FACT IS THE FLIMSY EVIDENCE WAS SHOWN AND WEIGHTED IN THE IMPARTIAL COURT OF LAW AND YOU DID NOT TIP THE SCALE TO GRANT THE COURT TO RULE IN YOUR FAVOR.

    IIN THE LAST APPEAL THAT YOU WERE SUCCESSFUL IN LAST YEAR , .THERE WAS A PROCEDURAL MISTAKE (TECHNICALITY) ON THE PART OF THE PRESIDING JUDGE , WHICH WARRANTED A LEGAL GROUNDS TO FIGHT AND WIN YOUR APPEAL BACK THEN . …..NOW IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TERMS IN WHICH YOU ARE FIGHTING TO RETRY THE CASE WITH THE SAME EVIDENCE TO GET DIFFERENT RESULTS , WHICH IS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE APPEALS COURT .

    IM WONDERING WHO THE NDP DIE HARDS WILL SAY IS DELAYING AND DRAINING THE COUNTRIES FINANCIAL AND JUDICIAL RESOURCES HERE NOW . THIS DECISION TO CONTINUE THIS SAGA IS MIND BOGGLING TO SAY THE LEAST IN MY VIEW . UNLESS THIS IS THEIR ELECTION STRATEGY TO FIRE UP THE BASE , IT MAY AS WELL BE THEIR ONLY LAST DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO WIN SUPPORT . ITS DO OR DIE TIME !!………..LOL

  4. I find the judgement is certainly flawed, that word is an understatement. It seemed that anytime the most pertinent questions were asked the justice disallowed those questions, possibly to protect the ULP “victory”. For that and many other reasons I would therefore have to be compelled to say that the justice was obviously biased, just like it was with Justice Cottle. It seems to be true that the NDP cannot get justice in SVG and has to seek it elsewhere. It also seems strange that the original judge had to recuse herself from the case because she was loaded-down with so many other cases she had to withdraw, when it was well-known she was scheduled with the petitions…VERY STRANGE!
    Now we are going to have the over-the-top ULP supporters, C. Ben, and vincy “lawyer” come out with thier heavily biased anti-NDP rhetoric that absolutely EVERYTHING the NDP does is wrong even though they themselves have supported such actions in the past. They themselves could be vincentian judges doing everything possible to deny the NDP justice and to make them look bad. We may as well be living in Venezuela or Cuba when you see such bias.

    1. C ben-David says:

      Fake news from you because this very item was certainly not suppressing.

      More important, the owner and operator of this site, like the owner and operator of any jouralism/news site, has the absolute right to post or supress whatever suits him.

      It’s called freedom of the press. If you don’t like it, lump it; or produce your own blog or web site and post whatever you wish, whenever you wish.

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