State appeals High Court Judge ruling in Salisbury arrest matter

Some of the arrested residents smile and wave after a court appearance in 2016. File photo

The state has lodged an appeal in the matter pertaining to residents of Salisbury who were arrested following protest action which rocked the community in 2015 and in which a High Court Judge had ruled in favor of the,

In the long-running case, attorney representing the residents, Cara Shillingford had filed a motion questioning the constitutionality of the Riot Act, under which they were arrested.

Senior Counsel Tony Astaphan had asked the court to “strike out the motion” because, “it was frivolous, vexatious or an abuse of the process of the Court.”

However, recently Justice Birnie Stephenson ruled that there were merits in Shillingford’s motion and the matter is now set for May 24, 2018.

However, the state has appealed the matter which will be heard before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal.

In her 16-page ruling on the matter, Justice Stephenson had said, “The Court has taken cognizance of the fact that what is being claimed includes a breach of the Claimants Constitutional Rights and this Court is of the considered view that given the nature of the Claimants case, striking out would be inappropriate. Further considering the allegations being made by the Claimants, the Court should be slow and hesitant to drive the Claimants from the seat of judgment.”

Anthony Astaphan SC, lawyer for the State, said the Appeal raises serious questions in law and it has “strong prospects of success.”

“The Learned Judge erred in law and misdirected herself when she failed to consider the issues of law and construction raised in the Fixed Date Claim Form and therefore dismissed the Appellants’ application to strike out on the erroneous ground that issues of fact were pleaded and raised,” lawyers for the state said in the appeal.

Grounds for appeal include, “the Claimants/Respondents have no constitutional rights which were breached by the Proclamation and orders to disperse under the Riot Act” and the fundamental rights provisions of the Constitution are not “absolute and do not guarantee or protect the right to block highways or commit acts of violence or riot.”

“Consequently, the Riot Act does not contravene any of the provision of the fundamental rights provisions…hence the Riot Act is reasonably justified in a democratic society,” attorneys for the state claimed in the appeal.

They further stated that the ruling of the trial Judge was “wrong in law” and in the circumstance, the Applicants “respectfully ask that they be granted leave to appeal the judgment of the Learned Judge.”

Over 50 residents from Salisbury were issued with summons after they are charged under the Riot Act following protest action in the community.

In May and June 2015 the community was engulfed in disturbances as the police and residents faced off. The first action was in protest of poor farm road conditions in the area.

It was eventually broken up by the police and the second protest, in June, took place after the police swooped into the community and arrested six residents on allegations that they were part of the first protest.

Both actions were described as “riotous” by the police.

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47 Comments

  1. May 4, 2018

    That’s how Tony gets his piece of the pie, Skerrit letting him try all dem stupid cases :-D

  2. Ibo France
    May 4, 2018

    Anon, it’s quite obvious that you’re a non-entity seeking attention. Anything your undersized brain perceives to be anti-government you become insanely enraged. This just proves what a colossal nincompoop you are. Some times desperate circumstances call for desperate measures. The great, late Malcolm X once stated ‘by any means necessary.’. Rioting is extreme behavior, so if people begin to riot , it’s mostly due to desperation. You remind me of a chained dog in its owner’s front yard. Every barks at passing car. It is simpletons and ignoramuses like you who create the enabling environment for the victimization and marginalization of the poor. In the country

    • Ibo France
      May 6, 2018

      Correction:” You remind me of a chained dog in its owner’s front yard that barks at every passing car.”

  3. May 4, 2018

    Good question What do you want PM from the people of Salisbury because you know that there votes are not for sale… It’s like Donald Trump who is going around campaigning to stay in power for 2018 – 2020 November 2018 is election in the USA, so if the Democrats win the election in the House he will be “Impeached ” and he doesn’t want that, it’s like our PM will continue his hand outs for votes, we the people have to change the narrative there.

    • May 9, 2018

      You are stupid to think that Trump is worried about getting elected for a second term or impeachment !!

  4. LifeandDeath
    May 4, 2018

    More Jokes in Dominica…Court ain’t good for Skerrit and his cronies but for the innocent people standing for their right, they ready to drag a whole village to Court.. It will get worse if Skerrit is not moved from office..

  5. Papa Dom
    May 4, 2018

    Tony you damn lie! No proclamation and order to disperse was made under the riot act and are you saying that the constitution is null and void hence your advise to skerritt to violate the constitution even though you and he knew that he had and did travel on his French passport?

  6. Let's Talk
    May 4, 2018

    The enemy of Dominica is Anthony Astaphan who is on record calling us cockroaches. He is not a lover of Dominica. Yes he is Dominican by birth and that he had no control over. When it was time to get a wife he went to Antigua and like Skerrit, he bought his house in the USA and moved his family there as a sign that he is not interested in a future in Dominica. I doubt he even uses a DA passport. Unfortunately he teamed up with someone just like him, by the name of Roosevelt Skerrit, and the two are only in Dominica for what they can get. Skerrit who was also born in Dominica, rejected our citizenship as a government Minister, when he took his french citizenship. He made sure his wife was US citizen and ensured that both of his children were born in the US. He then bought an expensive condo in NY and moved his family there. Like Tony the man has shown he has no interest in a future in DA. We are too blind and stupid man. He killed agriculture so I’m not surprised he at war with us

    • May 9, 2018

      Points to ponder !

  7. Tj
    May 4, 2018

    Don’t blame Tony. He has been given Il Papa blessings to rip Dominica off with tacit blessings from th P.M. This cancer must be removed.

  8. PA JBC Elijah
    May 3, 2018

    Where are the lawyers being paid by the State. When I worked as a State Attorney for a pittance compared to what I understand these people are being paid nowadays, those of us at the Ministry of Legal Affairs did all the work of the State before the Courts (with a high success rate). I, for one, single-handedly (SG ag.) had to face Counsels Alick Lawrence SC and Kemrajh Harrikssoon (a very Senior Lawyer from Trinidad-then Lecturer at the Hugh Wooding Law School-according to him) when they took the State to Court (asking to be paid EC$50,000,000.00 to EC$100,000,000.00- re Breach of Contract-Stockfarm Stadium-See: Civil Suit Dom HCV 0332 of 2001- and Court Appeal No. 10 of 2002) in which the Appellants were ordered to pay costs of EC$100,000.00 to the State. Nowadays is like there are no lawyers in the service of the State. Every little thing a lawyer is brought in. Anyway, everything is for a time, “even life itself.” This a matter that can be and should be dealt with otherwise.

  9. Jah Kal
    May 3, 2018

    Tony you cannot touch us in Salisbury u can come at all angle you cannot take our independance we showing u and your gooons we eh going nowhere you full of it don’t stay behind the microphone come on the ground come down to plat BAWI. Your JA.

    • KID ON THE BLOCK
      May 4, 2018

      Are you inviting him to a WAR ZONE?

  10. May 3, 2018

    The right to Protest; Demonstrate and Civil Disobedience is a fundamental Human right of all citizen of all countries all over the world. The persons who should be facing trial now are the Punjab PhD and his bunch of “ging-gan-goolies” who continue to disrespect and violate the rights of the Minority in Dominicans to be heard and treated equally. The ones who should be facing any Court action are the “Architects of Economic Slavery” the entire DLP administration.

  11. Original Mahaut Man
    May 3, 2018

    Wrong is wrong.When your government went up in the hills and kill innocent dreadlox what did you call it.

  12. Remaining true to party and country
    May 3, 2018

    The people of Salisbury, Marigot, Wesley, Roseau South, North and Central have already signaled how these matters should be resolved. Vote out the DLP.
    The courts will continue to be manipulated into giving injustice to Labour.

    • KID ON THE BLOCK
      May 4, 2018

      Time will tell! How long ? Not long. coming soon. Election Day. Last time you all were saying… “CALL IT NUH!)… When it was called you all began crying, up till now you all can’t get over it. This time you UWPites gonna get cholawlaw. Labor gonna Daycalay you all. And this gonna be the end of UWP. MARK THOSE WORDS.

      • Da/born
        May 4, 2018

        So you feel because Labor has access to State funds CBI, this is sure victory? Maybe, without reform and unfair competition. That is your confidence . Elections are always free, but not always fair.

      • KID ON THE BLOCK
        May 4, 2018

        Da/born, when UWP got in power election was free and fair, right?
        Consttuencies where UWP won seats, the election in those areas were free and fair, right?
        Well bro, sorry for you all this coming election. After that whooping UWP going and get, that’s the end for the UWP PARTY.

      • Danziger
        May 7, 2018

        Di yo sa bwa moi encore ce Labour ALL THE WAY. Nous ka attend yo in 2020

  13. Dominican/West Indian
    May 3, 2018

    I think we all knew that the state was going to appeal the ruling of the “learned judge”. Let’s just hope it doesn’t get tied up with the Appeals Court for another two years.

  14. St. Joe
    May 3, 2018

    We need to shut down the country! Too much nonsense is being allowed to happen. Didn’t the hurricane taught us anything about Unity?

    I am ready !

  15. Massacre
    May 3, 2018

    Tony, “Let My people Go!” After the wrath that we saw last September , it seems like this was not enough for the DLP and their wicked ways.
    I am telling you people that these are warning signs that Dominicans need to change their ways and come together. These divisions that if permeating in Dominica is not healthy for normal living conditions. Politicians are causing havoc among us while they living the high life going overseas every week. Let us put our hearts and minds together and do this unity drive for the future of our people and country.

  16. Roseau
    May 3, 2018

    My People we cannot wait for someone else to come riding on a Horse to save us in Dominica. We have to save our selves. Think!
    All over the world people are going out there to save themselves.

  17. Give it a rest
    May 3, 2018

    Why mister so bent on this. smh. Like the country does not have more pressing matters at this time. Dominica always backward movement…

    • May 3, 2018

      When the boot is on the other foot it is always wrong. It appears that only the UWP should be allowed to appeal cases.

    • Remaining true to party and country
      May 3, 2018

      This is a wicket DLP government lead by SC Tony Astaphan, who is the de facto PM.

    • May 4, 2018

      Dominicans Tony Astaphan will continue to drag the case as long as possible so he can get more money out of the treasury, the people of Dominica and all the Judges that fall for his antics have to draw the line, the Government was wrong to treat it’s residences with disrespect , the people of Dominica have to put aside politic or they will never get a head when something is wrong it’s wrong. I hope the people of Salisbury get the justice they so deserve imaging some of the people ended up in hospital and what about the elderly lady that passed on, this will be a case that should vindicate the people and Tony Astaphan must be stopped .

  18. Let's Talk
    May 3, 2018

    Some matters are better resolved outside of court than in a court room. We should have settled that matter outside of court and its not too late. We need to meet Tony on aside and ask him to get that problem resolved peacefully… outside of court

    • Coveringmyhousenow
      May 3, 2018

      This is a Constitutional matter which must be decided at the courts. Then and only then will both parties know what to expect if such an event do occur in the future. It is in everyones interest to know what the law has to say about the Riot Act. Every legal brain in Dominica and the OECS are interested in the Courts ruling. Understand DNO readers are the best legal brains, there is no need to seek the court guidance.
      No need to bash anyone. We all will be wiser in the end.

    • John Jay
      May 4, 2018

      Where will get him to settle this matter in Florida. This man only come to Dominica when he has to.

  19. May 3, 2018

    Tony gonna make another killing, he is smiling all the way to the bank, while people still under tapolin
    oh yes how Skerrit dem love allu :-D :-D

  20. KID ON THE BLOCK
    May 3, 2018

    If lessons are not taught respect won’t be gained.

    • Let's Talk
      May 3, 2018

      @ kid on the block, I agree with you that Dominicans must teach Anthony Astaphan a lesson so respect could be earned

    • Ibo France
      May 3, 2018

      Martin Luther King Jr. engaged in civil disobedience in an attempt to end racial discrimination and to procure specific freedoms for a marginalized minority. The residents of Salisbury demonstrated spiritedly for the right to access their farms to make a living. There is a troubling pattern with the Skerrit’s maladministration. Every time the working poor agitates for anything to improve their lot, Skerrit uses the big stick approach by employing the military might of the State’s Security Forces against these defenceless people. You judge a man’s true character from the way he treats people who have nothing to offer him. The misleader has shown no empathy for most vulnerable people among us. He treats them with scorn, repudiation, disgust and animus. He needs to fly off into the sunset and allow Dominicans to breathe again.

      • May 3, 2018

        More rubish, if blocking the road, setting fires and stoning police is a spirited demonstration god help us all. What military might? The police were stoned some were injured yet you continue with this stupid blue propaganda you sound uneducated and uninformed.

      • Original Mahaut Man
        May 3, 2018

        Blocking and setting the high way on fire is this a peaceful demonstration.Can you name one of dr martin demonstration that was violence.I f you don’t make examples of the unlawful people what next.

    • May 3, 2018

      Another one that sitting on his brain :-D :-D
      You dont gain respect, it has to be earn :-D :-D

    • A dog walking on all four feet, with its nose to the ground instincts guides it better than all of your commonsense guides you!

      You are a brainwashed kindergarten dropout fool, who understands nothing than the rubbish Tony and Roosevelt and the Labor Party in general feeds feeds you! If there was any merit to Tony petition to the court, the court would have ruled in his and Skerrit favor.

      An idiot like you talking about lesson and respect: No government can teach a nation of people lessons and respect with a gun! If anything all the the government gun and their lawyer will do, is instigate a nation uprising as we saw in 1979, which will lead to the destruction of the government!

      The elected members of Government are the actual nobody in the country; the people who elected them are the power (is the power in the country) and the quicker the people join forces and fight back politically; kicking Roosevelt and his vicious gang out there will be no peace in Dominica!

    • viewsexpressed
      May 4, 2018

      Respect has to be gained and acknowledged where the, according the our constitution , we as a people whether in Salisbury Roseau Viellecase or wherever , have that constitutional right to protests overwhelmingly. That so called Tony, has no right to talk on behalf of this case. He has been cuddling Skerrit for years, where we the people have been crying out for judicial intervention where we question the Bin Bobol thievery actions and also the Ferlizer Bobol thievery . The head of state need to be opened on this act of thievery on our poor people. Skerrit just go to hell with Tony Astaphan.

    • Da passports
      May 4, 2018

      I disagree, dominicans been taught a hard lesson year after year for 18 years, and they still don’t respect themselves or Dominica

  21. Jah Bless
    May 3, 2018

    There is so much work to be done in this country instead of dragging the hard working people of Salisbury to court. Wast of the States already limited resources. Shame on you Tony

    • May 4, 2018

      Not only shame on Tony Astaphan but shame on Roosvelt Skerrit too.

  22. Salisbury strong
    May 3, 2018

    Aren’t you all tired of wasting tax payers money? .Enough is enough!! LEAVE THE PEOPLE ALONE!

    • Johnnie Boy
      May 3, 2018

      I am in agreement with your comment 100 %

  23. Roy Williams
    May 3, 2018

    Skeritt is asking all Dominicans to come together and at the same time, pending hundreds of dollars to appeal a case against the people. You arrested the people, you are not satisfied, you either want them to go to jail or pay money at the courts, what does you hope to gain, Skeritt. :mrgreen:

    • Wisdom
      May 4, 2018

      Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars you mean

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