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CCJ Grants DLP Candidates Leave to Appeal Supreme Court Decision for Judicial Review in 2014 Election Treating Case

by: - July 14, 2020
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The Hon Prime Minister and DLP candidates who won seats in the 2014 general elections have gotten leave to appeal a decision by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to have the high court hear a case accusing the DLP of treating.

Treating involves an election candidate or their agents offer material incentives for people to vote for them or to abstain from voting.

Mervin John Baptiste, Antoine Defoe, and Edincot St. Valle filed complaints against all 15 elected candidates of the Dominica Labour Party claiming they were involved in treating leading up to the election; which the DLP won 15-6 against the United Workers Party.

The complainants cited two concerts put on by the DLP, featuring international acts, Donnie McClurkin and Morgan Heritage, as acts of treating meant to corruptly influence the outcome of the election.

The DLP, through its lawyer, Anthony Astaphan, QC filed for judicial review alleging that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to issue the said summons and the matter was one of an election petition.

High Court Judge, Bernie Stephenson ruled in favor of the DLP candidates stating that the magistrate who signed the summons erred in law.

The appellants through their lawyer, Cara Shillingford, argued before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court that the individuals are charged with an election offense and so cannot fall under an election petition.

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court heard an appeal and issued their judgement upholding the request for judicial review.

When the decision came back from the OECS Court in May, Astaphan said he was surprised by the ruling but that they would appeal to the final court of appeal, the Caribbean Court of Justice.

In a hearing this morning, the DLP team was given leave to file this appeal.

The CCJ grants leave to appeal where in its opinion the question involved in the appeal is one that by reason of its great general or public importance, or otherwise, ought to be submitted to the court.

Execution of the judgement of the OECS Supreme Court- that is judicial review by the magistrate’s court -have been stayed pending the decision of the CCJ.