Privy Council declines to review St Kitts-Nevis 2004 election petition decision

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Rupert Herbert

BASSETERRE, St Kitts — The Privy Council in London has declined to hear an appeal by St Kitts and Nevis minister of tourism and international trade, Lindsay Grant, challenging a decision by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal in an election petition case he brought against then St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party representative Rupert Herbert, following the 2004 general elections.

“Having considered written submissions from the parties, we have agreed to report to Your Majesty as our opinion that permission cannot be granted because under 36 (7) of the Constitution there is no jurisdiction to appeal to the Privy Council,” the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled.

In the October 10 ruling, the Privy Council also ordered Grant to pay Herbert’s costs.

In December 2017, the Eastern Caribbean Appeal Court refused Grant leave to go to the Privy Council to challenge rulings of the two lower courts that ordered him to pay US$283,333.33 or EC$762,999.99 to the former Labour government minister. Grant nevertheless sought to persuade the Privy Council to review the decision.

The court of appeal had noted in its December 2017 judgment:

“When the Court of Appeal in the Federation of St Christopher and Nevis hears appeals from the High Court in election proceedings it occupies a unique position in the court’s hierarchy in that it is the final court of appeal. Section 36 (1) of the Constitution of St Christopher and Nevis vests jurisdiction to hear and determine cases related to the election of members to the National Assembly in the High Court and sections 6 and 7 deal with appeals from the decisions of the High Court in election cases. The effect of subsections 6 and 7 is that there is a right of appeal to the Court of Appeal from final decisions of the High Court in election cases and importantly for the purpose of this appeal, there is no right of appeal from a decision of the Court of Appeal to Her Majesty in Council (Privy Council). The Court of Appeal is the final Court in election proceedings. This affects the principle of stare decisis and how this court should deal with its previous decisions.”

“We therefore dismiss the notice of motion,” ordered Justice Fay with the concurrence of Dame Janice M. Pereira and Gertel Thom, justices of appeal.

Herbert was represented by Anthony Astaphan SC and Angelina Gracy-Sookoo of the Chambers of Sylvester Anthony.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. The same thing would happen with the frivolous appeals by the New Democratic Party in St. Vincent and the Grenadines of the December 2015 election results in two constituencies.

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