Decision on boundaries injunction case expected next week, hearing continues


Justice Marlene Carter called a halt to the day’s proceedings late Thursday afternoon, indicating that much information had been presented, and it is likely, given the urgency of the case, that she would give a decision early next week.


Meanwhile, lawyers for both parties would continue to make their case on Friday, with the government seeking to have the injunction dismissed, while the opposition lawyers would be making a case for the judicial review of the boundaries report and associated issues.


Lawyer Sylvester Anthony, a member of the government’s legal team, commented on the status of the proceedings.


“The matter has been adjourned to tomorrow, and whatever request to be made by the judge would be addressed, but as of now, the injunction, which is in place, remains in place, at least until we get back here tomorrow.


“We made an application for the discharge of the injunction, which was granted on the 16th of January. The Court has reserved on that and the matter is adjourned until tomorrow.”


Chris Hamel-Smith, the senior counsel representing the opposition interests indicated that the judge is proceeding in a fair and balanced manner.


“The judge has been given a lot of information today. If she is going to do her job professionally and well, she needs the opportunity to reflect and think about what she has been told… She thought that it would be helpful if we gave her the chance to reflect and come back tomorrow, with a view of giving her decision on Monday or Tuesday. I thought that to be very sensible, balanced and fair,” said Hamel-Smith.


Earlier in the day, legal counsel for the government, Anthony Astaphan, presented their case proposing that there was no violation of the constitution in approving the boundaries document in parliament and having it gazetted. He asserted that the legal process was completed before the injunction was served.


But in a packed courtroom, Hamel-Smith countered with a lengthy discourse about the difference between printing and publishing the gazette, proposing that the government had not published the gazette to make the proclamation an effected law. He indicated, as proof, that attempts to obtain copies of the gazette in question were unsuccessful for some time, and as such he questioned the validity of the government’s claim.


Meanwhile, Judge Carter has directed Senior Counsel Astaphan to direct the Electoral Commission to stop advertising the boundary changes, and to cease behaving as if an injunction was not in effect.


The hearing resumes at 9:00 a.m., Friday, at the Judicial Complex on East Independence Square.


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