Former acting High Court judge, Justice Stanley John, left, and lawyer Joseph Delves. (iWN file photos)

A lawyer for the government in the election petitions case has written a third letter to the High Court in his efforts to get former acting High Court judge, Justice Stanley John to make changes to his March 21 judgment in which he dismissed the petitions.

The latest letter from Joseph Delves came on Thursday, April 4, following on letters on March 22 and 27 to the Registrar of the High Court, Andrea Young and copied to Maia Eustace, instructing solicitor for the petitioners.

In the April 4 letter, Delves asked that the judge, whose appointment ended on March 21, be reappointed so as to make the changes that his side is requesting.

The respondents want the judge to amend his ruling to explain why he ruled in their favour on two important points in the petition that the NDP filed challenging the Dec. 9, 2015 election in North Windward.

The requests came amidst suggestions by the opposition New Democratic Party that they were considering appealing the court ruling on both petitions.

Opposition Leader Godwin Friday announced at a press conference, on Thursday, that the petitioners will appeal the ruling  and that his party supports their decision.

Delves’ April 4 letter follows others on March 22 and 27 to the Registrar of the High Court.

In his March 22 letter, Delves told the registrar that there is likely to be an appeal in the matter, so his clients wanted the judge to explain why he rejected the petitioners’ claim that there was no recount of the ballots in North Windward the day after the election.

He also wanted the judge to say why he rejected the claim that there were 39 more ballots than there were counterfoils at polling station NWI, in North Windward.

Lauron “Sharer” Baptiste of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has filed the petition challenging the result of the Dec. 9, 2015 vote in North Windward.

The NDP’s Benjamin “Ben” Exeter is also challenging the outcome of the poll in Central Leeward.

The ruling Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Montgomery Daniel and Louis Straker were declared winners in North Windward and Central Leeward.

The ULP was returned for a fourth consecutive term in office, having won eight of the 15 parliamentary seats while the remaining seven went to the NDP.

Delves followed up his March 22 letter with one on March 27, noting the urgency of the situation and inquired about whether his first letter had reached the former judge.

In an April 1 response, delivered on April 3, Young told Delves that Justice John’s appointment ended on March 21, but that the lawyer’s letter sent on March 22 was called to the former judge’s attention.

The duration of Justice John’s appointment had been published on the court’s website ahead of the trial.

He had been appointed to replace Justice Esco Henry, who recused herself from the case last December.

Delves replied to the registrar on April 4, telling her that he understands from her April 1 letter that the judge is unable to provide the reasons requested in his letters of March 22 March because his appointment came to an end on March 21.

He noted that Baptiste has indicated, through his lawyer, his intention to appeal Justice John’s decision.

Delves, citing cases from 2013 and 2016 (Bowen v Attorney General — ANUHCVAP 2013/0016, Nov. 4, 2013; and Thomas v Douglas — GDAHCVAP 2014/0036, Feb. 15, 2016), said that the Court of Appeal has made clear on numerous occasions “that where for any reason a first instance judge fails to give reasons for his decision, the Appellant is obliged to request those reasons and present them to the Court of Appeal for its consideration”.

He said that implicit in the court’s settled practice “is the obligation on the first instance judge to provide those reasons upon request.

“It is with this learning in mind that the Respondents whom I represent have approached His Lordship to provide his reasons in anticipation of the imminent appeal, notwithstanding that the primary obligation to make this request falls on the prospective Appellant,” Delves further wrote.

He said he did not understand the registrar to be saying that Justice John “is unwilling to provide the reasons requested, or that my request for those reasons is in any way inappropriate.

“I understand you to be saying only that His Lordship considers himself unable to provide those reasons because his appointment had already come to an end when my request was conveyed to him the day after said expiration.”

Delves said that the solution to the problem “is to arrange for the temporary appointment of His Lordship in order that he may give his outstanding reasons.

“In the circumstances, I hereby request that you bring this letter, and my previous letters dated 22 and 27 March 2019, to the URGENT attention of the Honourable Chief Justice so that she may take such action as she deems fit and proper.

“I look forward to your most URGENT acknowledgement of this letter and your equally URGENT confirmation that it has been delivered to the Honourable Chief Justice and to HIS Lordship Mr. Justice Stanley John,” Delves said.

8 replies on “Lawyer asks court to reappoint judge to amend petition ruling”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    In the absence of supporting evidence from Justice John, court of appeal would simply look at the evidence given at the trial and conclude that his judgment was sound.

  2. If former Justice John is temporarily appointed to flesh out his judgment, he would argue: (1) Cheryl Sutherland’s testimony was not credible because it contradicated the sworn testimony of returning officer Ville Davis, of Ms. Sutherland, enhanced by the fact that she had no election training and (2) the discrepancy between the number of ballots and the number of counterfoils did not adversely affect the outcome of the election sucb that the wrong candidate was declared the winner.

    The Respondents simply want to make sure all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s crossed so that the court of appeal renders the strongest possible support for Justice John’s decision. Why would the ULP not be content with a simple affirmation of the verdict?

    Because strong support could also be based on a rebuke of the appelants for filing both the case and the appeal, as has occurred in similar judgments. Such a rebuke for wasting the court’s time would surely enhance the election changes of the ULP which is what this spate of letters to court is all about.

    In other words, this attempt to amend the judgment is about politics not about law. The response of Godwin Friday to this issue shows that he was once more fallen for one of Ralph’s sucker punches.

  3. Jolly Green says:

    C.ben-David you do write some crap from time to time. In particular the verse below–

    (2)”the discrepancy between the number of ballots and the number of counterfoils did not adversely affect the outcome of the election such that the wrong candidate was declared the winner.”

    If there are more ballots than counterfoils the most likely reason would be that someone inserted extra ballots in the box after the poll closed. If that is so it stands to reason they would have all been for one candidate. This action could most surely determine who wins and who loses. Even if this was not the reason it certainly makes the verdict unsafe to say the least.

    I am not sure why you write such rubbish but I know you are an intelligent man and believe the only reason you write rubbish is to draw out argument which you revel in.

  4. The headline contradicts the comments, to ammend is totally different than to furnish additional information.

    1. C ben-David says:

      The term “amend” has various meanings including to supply additional information to make some statement or document clearer or more complete without necessarily changing its intent or interpretation.

      Original: “A dog bit me.”
      Amended statement: “A dog bit me on my foot and I began to bleed.”

      There is no contradiction. Kenton Chance all says what he means and means what he says.

    2. C ben-David says:

      There is no such word as “ammend.”

      If you mean “amend,” it means to alter, modify, rephrase, or add to or subtract from (a motion, bill, constitution, legal ruling, etc.) by formal procedure

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