Chief Justice rules against President
Guyana Chronicle
November 13, 2001

CHIEF Justice Carl Singh yesterday dismissed a summons by President Bharrat Jagdeo that sought to strike out the March 2001 election petition and held that Attorney-at-Law, Mr. Shaun Allicock had authority to act on behalf of petitioner Veronica Delph.

Among other things, Mr. Bernard De Santos, S.C., acting on behalf of Mr. Jagdeo, representative of the People's Progressive Party/Civic list of candidates for the elections, had asked that the election petition be struck out on the ground that it was null and void and of no legal effect.

The Chief Justice noted that the President, relying on the advice of his lawyer, had argued that the petitioner had expressly authorised Mr. Roysdale Forde, Attorney-at-Law, the address of whose chambers she had given as her address for service and place of business, but related notices were signed by Allicock as her duly authorised lawyer.

He argued that the notices were therefore null and void and of no legal effect.

But the Chief Justice found, "This was unfortunate advice."

"It was erroneous and apparently recklessly given since the Court's record shows that the petitioner did by authority to Attorney-at-law dated May 10, 2001, and filed in the Registry of the Court declare Mr. Allicock to be her Attorney-at-law, together with Mr. Roysdale Forde and for them to do all acts and things necessary in these proceedings on her behalf", he said.

He added: "It is to be observed that neither section of the National Assembly (Validity of Elections) Act, nor rule 2 of order 58 of the Rules of Court, set out any requirement for the authority to Attorney-at-law to be served with the copy of the Petition on any Respondent, and it is therefore my considered view and I would now so rule, that there was no obligation on the part of the petitioner to serve her authority to Mr. Allicock to act on her behalf in these proceedings, as her Attorney-at-law."

He said the description by other lawyer, Mr. Sanjeev Datadin of the petitioner's objection, with regard to service of a copy of the petition, as being an obligation to serve a whole copy of the petition, was meaningless and added nothing to his submissions, nor to the obligation of the petitioner strictly speaking to serve a copy of the petition on the respondents, since the non-service of the authority to attorney-at-law did not mean in his view, that anything less than a whole copy of the petition was in fact served on the applicant.

Another summons in which Mr. Jagdeo had appealed against a ruling of the Chief Justice for granting leave to the petitioner to file the appeal without the knowledge of the respondents, is still pending.

The Chief Justice is to give a ruling shortly in relation to another summons in which Mr. Ashton Chase, S.C., representing the Chief Elections Officer and the Chairman of the Elections Commission, is asking for further particulars.

Lawyers representing President Jagdeo yesterday were De Santos, Datadin and Mr. Mohabir Nandlall.

Forde and Allicock represented Delph who is challenging the election.