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Appeal court reinstates election petitions in St Vincent
Published on March 8, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

no_justice_cottle.jpg
"No Justice Cottle". Image: Caribbean Democracy

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent -- Election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have been reinstated by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal sitting in Saint Lucia on Tuesday, citing apparent bias of the trial judge, Justice Brian Cottle.

brian_cottle2.jpg
Justice Brian Cottle
The NDP has challenged the results of the December 9, 2015, general elections in the Central Leeward and North Windward constituencies, asking the court to declare the opposition party as the winner of the elections in the contested districts or to order fresh by-elections there.

Cottle, who is no stranger to allegations of bias, had initially thrown out the petitions as improperly filed, but the NDP appealed that decision.

The Court of Appeal has now ruled that the order to strike out petitions be set aside, that the hearing of petitions and motions to strike be remitted to High Court to be heard expeditiously by a different judge.

The court also awarded costs to appellants in the lower court and in the court of appeal

The ruling Unity Labour Party (UDP) won eight of the 15 parliamentary seats while the remaining seven went to the NDP -- in a repeat of the 2010 election results.

Should just one seat change hands, the current UDP government would fall, after 16 years in office.
 
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Comments:

James H:

We read, have been reinstated “citing apparent bias of the trial judge”! What a thing in such a small country as ours! What an indictment on the part of this Judge! Court of Star Chamber ah’ Justice Brian Cottle?

( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Star+Chamber)

We as Vincentians should all take note, as it is a known but unspoken and unpalatable truth, that the Legal System in S.V.G is truly broken and is not fit for purpose! The separation of powers here is in name only and not in the on the ground operation, as the facts shows forth.

Just about every Public and Civic institution in the country suffers from the same malaise, corrupted by our resident Neo-Colonialist for his own nefarious ends, as all grubby Dictators do, the world over.

C. ben-David:

Will this provoke Gonsalves to seek to dissolve parliament and call fresh national elections to avoid the possibility of losing the elections petitions cases which would either see the opposition given these seats or new by-elections called with the ULP having to bear the cross of having stolen the previous elections?

According to our constitution, the decision to prorogue parliament rests with the Governor General. If he does so based on the PM’s advise before the petitions are heard, he risks destroying his reputation for all time because he will clearly and rightly be seen as biased when his sworn duty is to do what is best for our country, in this case allowing the courts to decide this issue in a timely fashion.

On the other hand, if the elections appeals go to court as today’s judgment decrees, winning the case would be very difficult because no Caribbean court, indeed no court anywhere in as democratic country, would easily overturn the electoral will of the people unless deliberate fraud is proven.

In other words, it would not be enough to argue that a series of unintentional errors were made by incompetent election personal because it is well known that such errors are made in nearly every election in every country around the world.

Vinciman:

This post is definitely misleading overall in the context of the rulings as per the petition, and in the matter of biasness on the part of Justice Cottle.

The question of “bias” which is the key word in this matter should be properly addressed. What does the court mean by “apparent bias of the judge”? Is it that he should not have advised or warn the petitioners about their inadvertent errors in the filing of the petition application, and of any chance that it will succeed in court? Well, it certainly did not... it was thrown out as being “improperly filed”!

In addition, was it because of what was stated by Justice Cottle, that gave the petitioners seemingly good grounds for a motion of no confidence on the part of the Judge and that of being bias? If so,in my opinion, there should have been no forewarning on Justice Cottle’s part, even though his sincerity should be applauded and not ridiculed, and his interpretation of the law in these matters was/is correct. It’s a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t!

My understanding is that the petition as it stands or rather limps, goes back to high court in SVG to be heard all over again by a different Judge as to the merit of the filing itself, and if proper procedures were followed in the filing of the petition. There is nothing more, nothing less. Nothing for the NDP and its supporters to celebrate over, and refer to as a "victory" as indicated by opposition leader Godwin Friday. Again, the law must prevail, and if so, this petition is bound to fail.

Vinci Vin:

One wonders whether Justice Cottle should be removed from the OECS judiciary for recklessness and incompetence. Could he be impeached? Wasn't he implicated in cases of bias and improper ruling in Antigua?

And having been close to Judith Jones Morgan and the PM as a lawyer in SVG, shouldn't he have recused himself from this case on the basis of potential conflict of interest? No matter what the outcome of this case, Justice Cottle's reputation, the election system in SVG, and the judicial system in SVG and perhaps the OECS have been significantly injured.

Vinci Vin

Vinciman:

There is no wonder about the filing of the petition, or irregularities speaking on both sides. In the former, Justice Cottle knows the law, (Many established and respected Prosecutors in the region can attest to it) and so do the lawyers for the ULP, there is no doubt about that.

If the premise for the rulings is the” illegality of the petition”, of the filing, of the surety, how wrong could become right… just so?

There is no biasness here at all. “If it wrong! It just wrong”! ... Period!
On the other hand, Justice Cottle is a judge who knows and practices jurisprudence well, a professional Vincy brother... No need to be ridiculed.

The irregularities on the other side are just plain “putsch”! NDP! Tek yo licks like a big man!

James H:

Vinciman is presenting himself here as being more “learned” than the Judges of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal! How clever a person this Vinciman is! And this is even though Vinciman has never graced the halls of a Law school!

Just accept it Vinciman, there was a presumption of bias by Cottle, there was an apparent bias by Justice Brian Cottle in his dealings with this case, so said the learned Judges and that was an unacceptable behaviour on his part. He was slapped down by the Appeal Court for his gross behaviour!

Cottel therefore, may be a professional Vincy brother to you Vinciman, but he was presumed to be bias in his dealings with the case before him, which is somewhat not surprising, since the whole legal system in SVG is now totally corrupted and is “not fit for purpose”.

Ask the common man here about their experience with it! His verdict is equally damning! The whole system is totally rotten to the core, and is extensively corrupted through nepotism and Party politics. Party politics, one-upmanship, favouritism and exploitation reaches every fabric of the Legal system here, so why would the verdict of Justice Brian Cottle escape its corruption?

Our resident Neo-Colonialist has seen to it that his reach permeates every nook and cranny of Vincentian life. The road back to Masa assisted by flunkies and lackeys, servitude and his technical “slavery” of Vincentians was but a very short one!

Vinciman:

As mentioned before James, you were never good at definitions or even surmising at anything, not even concerning Vinciman so quit while you are behind, way behind!

Moreover, based on your absurd presumption that “the whole legal system in SVG is now totally corrupted and is “not fit for purpose”, can this absurd statement be applied to..., say ECCA? I suppose not, according to your faulty logic.

On the other hand, in my opinion, what the court is actually saying is “we’re not going to get involved in SVG’s political election petition squabble, therefore send it back. We will generalize to the effect that says Justice Cottle showed “apparent bias” in his handling of the matter”.

You James can continue to do the twist for as long as you like, seems that is the only thing you good at.

James H:

Just listen to yourself Vinciman, you must be an utter, utter fool! The article here states in its opening paragraph “Election petitions filed by the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) have been reinstated by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal sitting in Saint Lucia on Tuesday, citing apparent bias of the trial judge, Justice Brian Cottle.”

Reinstated! That is indeed “getting involved” in the case! They granted the Appeal! It is after all the Court of Appeal. You truly are dunce person Vinciman! Did you ever go to school?

Can someone please do educate this fool? Have a word with your PAPA Vinciman, if he could be faithful and to tell you the truth, after all he did grace the halls of a Law School.

Vinciman:

Reinstated-Restored to its former position James de clown, including all the errors etc in the filing of the application. Sent back to be heard by a different Judge. Even a dunce like myself knows that! So, what is your point really, other than trying to bully someone? Stop doing the twist, it ‘outta style since the sixties. You’re not even qualified to handle Vinciman, therefore, rest your mouth for a minute nah! Who you trying to scare? Moreover, a different Judge can come to the same conclusions as Justice Cottle and throw it out again as “improperly filed”, putting the question of “apparent bias” to rest.

James H:

You are indeed a most determined, obstinate and stubborn little fool Vinciman. You are here giving truth to that hackneyed saying, “there is no fool like an old Fool”!

The plaintiff won their appeal. They the litigant, won their application! What don’t you understand about that?

Vinciman:

You are right James "...the Court of Appeal has now ruled...that the hearing of petitions and motions to strike be remitted to High Court (in SVG) to be heard expeditiously by a different judge". This will be interpreted and understood by this "young" fool as "...to start all over again". You're the wise 'un! So, go rest yo mouth now! Chewps!

Vinciman:

Senior Counsel Astaphan says it best, oh James de wise. “We are, unfortunately, and, regrettably, back, literally, to square one, where we have to go back to another judge and argue, largely, the same issues all over again to decide whether or not the petitions should be struck out…There is no basis yet, for them to celebrate because the petitions are still liable to be struck out on the hearing of the next application…And all that the judgment of the court today (Tuesday) decided was that the matter must go back to a different judge for the hearing as to whether or not the petitions should be struck. There is nothing said today or decided today that has led to the petitions being granted…”

James H:

Glad that “reality” and common-sense have now got the better of you Vinciman!

As I understand it, the Plaintiff (The NDP) filed a case in the court before Justice Brian Cottle, and the Government, (The respondent) applied to Justice Brian Cottle, to have the Case thrown out of court, to which they were successful. Justice Brian Cottle agreed with them and throw the case out of court!

The Plaintiff (The NDP) appealed the decision of Justice Brian Cottle, and the case then went before the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal, their sitting in Saint Lucia.

DECISION: The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal sitting in Saint Lucia then found in favour of the Plaintiff, the NDP, their citing “apparent bias” on the part of the trial judge, Justice Brian Cottle.

Therefore, the decision by the Court of Appeal was a “slap-down” for the original trial Judge, Justice Brian Cottle. Moreover, worst for him is that the Court of Appeal cited that, he Justice Brian Cottle, “appeared bias” in the handling of the case that was originally put before him.

That is indeed a damning indictment on him and on any Judge whom it is found to be so, after all he, Justice Brian Cottle, was appointed as a “Court Judge” to be wholly and absolutely impartial in his dealings in the court and that “duty” they said he did not discharge.

But that is not in any way surprising for Cottle, as it is submitted here that he has form in this! And as he thus sits under the presumed “utter dictatorship” of the PAPA, what should we expect in SVG. The PAPA once reminded us, that “all Court Cases in SVG” must come back in the end before him for a final decision.

Hence, in this case, “The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal” findings, now reinstates the Plaintiff’s (The NDP) original case! Thus, by reinstating the Plaintiff’s case, “The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal” hopes that the case would thus have the trial that the N.D.P had hoped for. Therefore let us all hope that JUSTICE finally prevails!


Vinciman:

No James, it is you who reality and common sense have now got the better of.

In my first comment I said..."My understanding is that the petition as it stands or rather limps, goes back to high court in SVG to be heard all over again by a different Judge as to the merit of the filing itself, and if proper procedures were followed in the filing of the petition.(Back to square one!) There is nothing more, nothing less. Nothing for the NDP and its supporters to celebrate over, and refer to as a "victory" as indicated by opposition leader Godwin Friday. Again, the law must prevail, and if so, this petition is bound to fail".

But of course you missed this, and wanted to show me how well you can do the twist. Okay I got that, so what's next... You'll now show me how well you can do the shuffle? Chewps, rest yourself Binose in disguise!


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