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HomeNewsLocal NewsJustice Thompson Jr. strikes both Dec 2022 election petitions on Nevis

Justice Thompson Jr. strikes both Dec 2022 election petitions on Nevis

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The election petitions filed by Dr. Patricia Bartlette and Jaedee Caines were struck out in a ruling handed down by His Lordship Justice Patrick Thompson Jr. on February 27, 2023.

According to the judgement, in the matter of Caines, the petition was filed on January 10, 2023. The argument was that the Caines petition was a nullity as it was not filed within the 21-day period provided for by Section 98 of the National Assembly Elections Act. The Court agreed, and the Caines petition was ruled a nullity, struck out and dismissed.

Regarding the Dr. Bartlette petition, the courts said counsel for Bartlette failed to strictly comply with the requirements of the National Assembly Elections Act meant that the court’s jurisdiction to strike out a petition was engaged.

The judgement said there was agreement on the following facts:

•The Bartlette Petition was filed on Friday, January 6, 2023

•Security for Costs for the Bartlette petition was given by a recognisance on Monday, January 9, 2023.

•On January 13, 2023, the Bartlette petition and an authorisation code were served on the offices of the Attorney General and on  the 1st to the Electoral Commission in early January 2023

•On January 13, 2023, Dr. Bartlette’s lawyers filed the recognisance dated January 9th, 2023, on the Electronic Litigation Portal (“the ELP”).

•On  January 19, 2023, Dr. Bartlette’s lawyers filed a  Notice of Presentation of Petition on the ELP.

The Court was compelled to find that Dr. Bartlette’s petition is struck out for non-compliance with Rules 8(1) and 9(4) of the Rules of the Election Rules.

The Court also ruled that the petitioners – Dr. Patricia Bartlette And Jaedee S.K. Caines – shall pay the respondents’ costs, which will be assessed by this court if not agreed.

During his monthly press conference, the Premier of Nevis, Hon. Mark Brantley expressed his wonder on how the blunders laid out in the judgement were made.

“The judge also, of course, referred to the fact that both Ms. Caines and Dr. Barlette and their lawyers must have known that these defects were insurmountable, and yet they persisted. Yet they insisted on wasting the court’s time, wasting money and resources, wasting the lawyers’ time – that is, lawyers for everyone else – And dragging all these people into the court. Mark Brantley, Oaklyn Peets, Calvin Fahie, Rohan Claxton, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General; and then the one in town, Spencer Brand, Oaklyn Peets, Calvin Fahie, Rohan Claxton, the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General – all of these parties were dragged into court on matters which were never properly filed. And so, the law is clear. In fact, one must wonder how these blunders occurred in the first place because the law on these matters is crystal clear, and the judge has laid it out painstakingly.”

Brantley described the judgement as the end of unfortunate efforts to prolong the election cycle through “bad petitions in the eyes of the law”, which he says were ill-conceived and misconceived.

The NRP Leader, Janice Daniel-Hodge, wrote in a Facebook post on the day of the judgement, “Justice Patrick Thompson Jr. has today rendered his decision to strike out the election petitions filed by NRP candidates Ms. Jaedee Caines and Dr. Patricia Bartlette. Today I borrow this quote from Mahatma Gandhi… “Evolution of democracy is not possible if we are not prepared to hear the other side.” We will not give up the fight for free and fair elections because we deserve a better Nevis.”

See the full judgment here: https://www.eccourts.org/dr-patricia-bartlette-v-mark-brantley-et-al-and-jaedee-s-k-caines-v-spencer-brand-et-al/.

 

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