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High Court To Rule On Patches Liburd Election Petition Case on Sept. 25

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Oral arguments for the petition application submitted by Ian Patches Liburd to inspect the June 5 rejected ballots in Constituency #1, were made on Thursday (September 17) in the High Court, according to a report published by Times Caribbean.

Supervisor of Elections Elvin Bailey announced Saturday, June 6, that St. Kitts Nevis Labour Party Candidate Dr. Geoffrey Hanley defeated the incumbent PAM candidate Liburd.

Hanley reportedly received 1,658 votes while Liburd received 1,634. There were six spoilt ballots and 98 rejected ballots.

After the results were announced Liburd said ” …I do hereby state for the record that I am totally dissatisfied with the results for St. Christopher 1 “ and declared his intention to challenge the results in court.

Times Caribbean reported Thursday (September 17) that Douglas Mendes SC argued that justice requires that citizens should have the representative of their choice. Further, he explained that if Liburd’s assumption is correct regarding the 60 rejected ballots being valid votes cast in his favour then the citizens are being deprived of the representative whom they have chosen, while the wrong person is seated in the National Assembly.

Conversely, Anthony Astaphan SC argued that the rejected ballots were not isolated during the count and has not been identified with sufficient particulars by the counting agents. Therefore inspection of the ballots must be denied. He also argued that only an X inside the box is a valid vote. Circles and ticks and other marks are not valid votes.

Reportedly, all parties agreed that the returning officer did not follow the legislation which required him to isolate the rejected ballots and also required him to make detailed notes of the rejected ballots including their serial numbers in the event of a challenge.

Dane Hamilton QC gave submissions indicating that although no special records were kept, there is enough to show that inspection is required.

Justice Trevor Ward QC reserved his decision on the issues involved.

The High Court Judge advised that he will aim to deliver his decision by Friday (September 25, 2020).

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