Lawyers trade barbs as election petitions case adjourned to Nov 30

Parties in the election petitions case during today’s virtual hearing

By: Jarryl Bryan 

The hearing of the two election petitions filed by APNU/AFC has been adjourned until November 30, with Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George shooting down objections from attorney for one of the petitioners, Mayo Robertson, against submissions made by the State in the matter.

During today’s hearing, Robertson contended in his preliminary objections that Attorney General Anil Nandlall’s interlocutory application in the case were improper and should not be allowed.

He contended that the Case Management Order previously issued should be obeyed.

“That CMC order is specific in its terms. In paragraph two it says permission is granted for the fourth named respondent to serve and file an application and submissions in relation to the petition, on or before October 29th,” he expressed.

“And it is ordered that petitioners in both petitions serve and file affidavits in answer and submissions on or before November 12th. It is further ordered that the Attorney General be permitted to file submissions in relation to this application on or before November 12th.”

According to Robertson, Nandlall therefore could not have been allowed to file a different application. He reminded that the only reason they are at the hearing should be to hear oral arguments.

According to Nandlall, however, his application is merely an interlocutory application.

Moreover, he noted that Robertson, who is appearing for Heston Bostwick, has also deviated court orders and that therefore, his latest contention must be rejected as frivolous and vexatious.

“I want to emphasize that my friend is guilty of the same thing. So, if I am wrong, he is even more wrong. My application is simply an interlocutory application, so If my application is struck out it doesn’t really affect me. But his own, both petitions go.”

Chief Justice George, meanwhile, expressed the view that Robertson’s objections were without merit, since Nandlall’s applications do not prejudice the proceedings. Moreover, Justice George pointed out that Robertson has also breached court orders.

“You are also in violation since I said do not file anything that is not absolutely necessary, do not exhibit documents that are already before the courts. And you, Mr. Robertson, have two sets of submissions in which you do have exhibited affidavits that have been filed.”

“I could strike out what you have, similarly, since you also did not comply with the courts order,” she said, to which Robertson apologised to the court.

It was ultimately decided to have the matter adjourned until November 30.

Nandlall’s application, filed on November 10th, had requested the dismissal of the election petition on the grounds that the petition was served in breach of the requirements under Section 2 of the National Assembly Validity of Elections Act.