High court Judge, Raulston Glasgow, has dented the hopes of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) in their bid to have 10 election petitions which they have filed, heard.
The UWP claims that the December 2019 general election victory of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) was achieved through fraud, treating, bribery and manipulation.
The UWP, in January 2020, filed petitions seeking to have the court overturn the results in St. Joseph, Mahaut, Morne Jaune, La Plaine, Castle Bruce, Salybia, Roseau Valley, Roseau Central, Roseau South and Wesley constituencies.
Attorneys for the DLP countered by asking the court to strike out the petitions for lack of merit.
Justice Glasgow, on Wednesday October 14, threw out all ten election petitions and awarded cost of $5,000.00 to the defendants.
In his 120-page judgment, Justice Glasgow stated, “The pleadings failed to include particulars that may assist to identify whether the claim breaches all the irregularities affected or may have affected, the outcome of the elections.”
“For instance,” Justice Glasgow continued, “other than a list of names, there is no information as to the basis on which the objections were made to any of the listed names.”
According to him, he is careful at arriving at his decision because the petitioners are entitled to bring evidence to substantiate their contentions.
“But I cannot agree, that the petitioners will know the case, and do not have not one factual basis set out on the pleadings to how a breach of the law and how it would have affected the outcome of the elections,” he stated.
On the issue of Mellisa Skerrit holding a Canadian passport and traveling on it, the judge stated that the petitioners failed to provide the necessary evidence to prove the principle of foreign law that would disqualify her.
“The petitioners failed to plead the alleged foreign law and accordingly, this also has been struck off,” he said.
“Even though I find that all of those respondents were properly joined, (except DBS) the pleadings against them are inadequate and insufficient…they did not disclose a cause of action, lack of necessary details etc and they are therefore struck out,” the judge said.
He also pointed out that while it was not the norm to award cost of such matters, he will depart from the norm.
“I have found good reasons to depart from these principles to strike out these petitions. The petitioners have repeated everything verbatim; they could have done that under a single or at the most two petitions. Instead, they had to waste paper, time, and money to respond to all ten petitioners which were unnecessary,” he remarked.
“I hereby order that all ten petitions be struck out and award cost of five thousand dollars to the respondents.”
*Editor’s note* DNO has been attempting to get a full written copy of the judges decision.
Below is a partial audio recording of Glasgow’s judgement. The audio is in two parts, part 2 pick ups at the end of part 1.