CCJ reserves decision in election treating matter (with CCJ video)

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reserved its decision after hearing arguments from lawyers in the 2014 election treating case.

Mervin John Baptiste, Antoine Defoe, and Edincot St. Valle filed complaints against all 15 elected candidates of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) after the 2014 general election claiming they were involved in treating leading up to the election which the DLP won 15-6 against the United Workers Party (UWP).

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 high court ruled that the magistrate did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter but in a 2-1 majority decision, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court dismissed the high court’s decision and remitted the matter back to the high court saying it had jurisdiction to hear the matter.

The matter was then taken to the Caribbean Court f Justice (CCJ).

Anthony Astaphan SC, the lawyer representing the DLP candidates, asked the judges to look at the “holistic picture” of the case and that the only court that had jurisdiction to deal with election matters inclusive of alleged “corrupt practice” was the high court.

“We stand by our submissions…and the decision of Justice of Appeal Blenman is the correct decision,” Astaphan said in reference to Justice Blenham’s dissenting view in the ECSC decision.

Justice of Appeal, Louise Esther Blenman, in her dissenting decision said she was “unable to agree with the decision of her Brothers Justice of Appeal Mario Michel, and Paul Webster.

”I have had the benefit of reading, in draft, the judgment of my learned brother Webster JA [Ag.], with which my learned brother Michel JA has concurred, and I am unable to agree with his reasoning and conclusion,” Justice Blenham concluded.

In her arguments, lawyer for the respondents, Cara Shillingford told the CJJ Judges that “elected politicians are not above the law.”

“The rule of law requires everyone to be treated the same. I welcome electoral reform in Dominica and so also do the people of Dominica,” she said. She told the court that the respondents decided to use one of the processes available to them under the law and have in “no way abused the process of the court.”

She urged the judges to uphold the 2-1 majority decision of the ECSC and remit the matter to the magistrate’s court for trial.

The full video of the CCJ’s hearing on the matter is posted below.

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8 Comments

  1. Patricia Garraway-Inglis
    December 12, 2020

    Congratulations to her Parents! I recall her Dad having to literally fight for the scholarship which she earned and was well deserved! Her grandfather would have been proud of her. A great role model Wishing ber continued success !

  2. Neg Mawon
    December 11, 2020

    Justice has been delayed, and so Justice has been denied to the Dominican people. In the matter of dual citizenship, the judge Gretel Thom, refused to make the holder of the French passport exhibit it in the court. The only person who possessed his passport was the politician RS. The Electoral Laws, the Constitution was disobeyed by that politician. More illegal acts ensued, because wrongs were not corrected.

  3. Franny
    December 11, 2020

    Sick people .. that’s to show u how currupt these institutions are… Why are they reserving their dicisions???? I tell you that these bloody ccj and United Nations caricom are currupt institutions.. they are all scratching each other’s back in curruption … They can never be unbiased and fair.. they all up in their necks in curruption.. look at it people .. see what happened in the general election .. they sent their regional forces in our country on our soil to terrorize a sleeping community so tht skerite could have an election … How on Earth can that happen.. dominivans don’t have a right to protest in their own country now?? So if Dominjcans decide they goin to protest or stand up to get ride of that currupt government they are goin to be attacked by regional forces .. people who have no allegiance to our country..?????? What kind of thing is that ? That is madness

    • click here
      December 14, 2020

      They are the government’s mercenaries set upon the people at the will of the sitting government. They know our local police are ill equipped, ill trained and understaffed. The police station (fire station too) is a complete dump and disgrace. Inside there untidy!!! so why not use soldiers who have no families or ties here and will shoot ANYONE when ordered to. when they done they will go back to wherever they come from.

  4. Ibo France
    December 11, 2020

    @Roger Burnett

    I wholeheartedly agree with you. Miss Shillingford’s presentation was quite impressive. All Dominicans, regardless of political persuasion, should be proud to be a Dominican because of this young attorney’s brilliant presentation before the law lords of the CCJ.

    This young rising star’s stock has gone sky high. She was knowledgeable, confident, courageous and coherent.

    If I ever become entangled with the law, I would wish for Miss Shillingford to be my defense attorney.

  5. Roger Burnett
    December 11, 2020

    Regardless of the outcome, Miss Shillingford’s presentation was brilliant. She is a credit to Dominica.

  6. Jonathan Y St Jean
    December 11, 2020

    light is beginning to shine in the judicial tunnel. The shade of the Senior council is being moved to the side, so light will shine, to start the healing of the political cancer we have seen emerge in Dominica and other islands. The plaintiffs and Cara Shillingford must be congratulated for sticking with the issue and peacefully seeking redress for democracy, whilst enablers of the corrupt regime kept casting aspersions, that it was a waste of time and money. I’m hoping that this crack by the judicial challenge to the bribing and treating practice, will give pause to the new order of winning elections by “any means necessary”. The fight isn’t over but hope is alive and democracy has been given life support. I hope it leads to the beginning of the end for voodoo politics and in your face political malfeasance, that Skerritt and his enablers have brought to Dominica. The double doctorate dude didn’t understand what history has taught us. Good always wins in the end

  7. dissident
    December 10, 2020

    De call for de appeal was lightning fast….now you reserve your decision.
    I smell a rat!!!
    You people are so predictable when a case against dlp comes in front all you face. Stop acting like someone have his foot on all you kneck!!!!
    You all acting like all you fraid to rule against dlp and Skerrit.
    Money makes de devil dance!!!!

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