Election Challenge Case Update

The High Court Judge will deliver his decision on an election petition filed by Ambassador Ian Liburd challenging the Constituency #1 results of the 2020 General Elections.

The central issue of the case refers to the 96 rejected ballots of which, according to Ambassador Liburd, more than 60 were cast in his favour.

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, so that a judge can easily identify them later on in the event of a challenge.

However the rejected ballots can still be identified because they are the only ones which were not punched with a puncher during the count.

Dane Hamilton QC gave submissions on behalf of the Returning Officer that although no special records were kept, there is enough to show that inspection is required.

Following oral arguments this morning from all parties regarding the application by Petitioner Ian Patches Liburd to inspect the rejected ballots from the 5th June election, Justice Trevor Ward QC has reserved his decision on the issues involved. The High Court Judge advised that he will aim to deliver his decision by Friday 25th September. Mr Douglas Mendes SC argued that justice requires that the electorate should have the representative of their choice. If Patches is correct that 60 of the rejected ballots were actually valid votes cast in his favour, then the electorate is being deprived of the representative which they have chosen and the wrong person is seated in the National Assembly.
Mr Anthony Astaphan SC argued that the rejected ballots were not isolated during the count and they have 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.

All parties agree 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, so that a judge can easily identify them later on in the event of a challenge. However the rejected ballots can still be identified because they are the only ones which were not punched with a puncher during the count. Dane Hamilton QC gave submissions on behalf of the Returning Officer that although no special records were kept, there is enough to show that inspection is required to get to the bottom of the matter and see that justice is done.

 

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