A formal appeal has now been lodged with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) by members of the Roosevelt Skerrit-led 2014 election team who are before the court for election treating.
This, after the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) granted the DLP’s lawyers permission to apply for leave to appeal the ECSC’s recent decision on the matter at the CCJ.
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 as argued by the DLP lawyers but in a 2-1 majority decision, the ECSC dismissed the high court’s decision and remitted the matter back to the magistrate’s court which it ruled had jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Meanwhile, the lawyer for the appellants, Anthony Astaphan SC, stated that they had argued that they had a right to appeal and alternatively because that appeal raised issues of great public importance concerning the election jurisdiction of the court and public policy.
“All the matters have been stayed and we have decided to try to get this matter heard expeditiously before the CCJ and to comply with all the orders imposed by the court of appeal,” Astaphan stated.
Cara Shillingford, who represents the applicants, did not object to the granting of leave on the issues of great public importance.