High Court dismisses UNC election petitions

Friday, August 19, 2016 - 13:15

High Court Judge Justice Mira Dean-Armorer has dismissed the United National Congress’ (UNC) election petition matters. 

The ruling was delivered just before 3pm at the Hall of Justice.

The decision means that the results of the 2015 elections stand.

On making her ruling, Justice Dean-Amourer ruled that the EBC had indeed acted illegally in extending the polls, but says it was not enough to invalidate the results.

She said in her ruling: "Torrential rains and flooding on the 7th September 2015, may have impelled the EBC to issue the directive which they did. Nonetheless, the uncontrollable weather conditions did not confer on the EBC the power to direct that the law be broken.

SEE ALSO: Persad-Bissessar: High Court ruling vindicates UNC

"The EBC, itself a creature of statute, ought at all times to abide by the clear dictates of the law and ought not to purport to dispense with those dictates even if faced with an apparently insurmountable problem.

"Accordingly, it is my view and I hold that the extension of the poll on the 7th September, 2015 was illegal and election officers who failed to close the poll at 6.00pm acted in breach of Section 27(1) of the Election Rules obedience to which is required by Section 35(1) of the ROPA."

In dismissing the petition, she added: "I have, in these Petitions, strove to hold the balance to protect the will of the majority while ensuring that the patent mistakes have not reduced the election of 2015 to a mere sham. 

"For reasons stated supra, it has been my view that the election of 2015 in Trinidad and Tobago were substantially in accordance with the prescribed law and it does not appear to me that the breaches affected the result. It is therefore my view and I hold that the Petition should be and is hereby dismissed."

The UNC has indicated that they will appeal the ruling.

The UNC had asked the High Court to declare the September 7th, 2015 results in the constituencies of Toco/Sangre Grande, Tunapuna, St Joseph, San Fernando West, and Moruga/Tableland null and void because of what, it says, was an illegal decision by the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to grant an additional hour for voting in Trinidad due to bad weather.

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