Bristol in Court abandoned a key agrument in Referendum Case

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:15 PM- George's, Grenada

ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, November 23, 2016 – GIS:  In the Referendum case, in which an injunction was sought to stop the Supervisor of Elections from going ahead with the Referendum tomorrow, the applicant was represented by a powerful battery of lawyers.

The lead lawyer for the Claimant was Mr. James Bristol, who from time to time acts as a High Court Judge. With him in this case was Ms. Claudette Joseph, who has served as the Registrar of the Court.

A key argument advanced for the Claimant by her lead lawyer Mr. Bristol was that a certain FORM in the Referendum Regulations requires that the actual date of the Referendum be on the referendum ballot paper, or else the Referendum be invalid.

That argument, said Dr Francis Alexis QC for the Supervisor of Elections, was a complete misreading by Mr Bristol of what is a very simple FORM. Dr Alexis took the court through a detailed and methodical examination of the Form to show that the Form has three distinct components, namely, the Ballot Paper, the Counterfoil to the Ballot Paper, and the Stub to which the Ballot Paper is attached.

The date which Mr. Bristol was referring to, Alexis pointed out, is not on the Ballot Paper, the Ballot Paper being clearly defined by the law as being the sheet of paper on which a voter votes to approve or not approve a constitutional amendment Bill. Instead, the date is on the Stub to which the Ballot Paper is attached, and that Stub is not visible to any voter.

Therefore, Dr. Alexis reasoned, there is absolutely no merit whatsoever in the submission by Mr. Bristol that a date has to be on the Ballot Paper.

On Dr Alexis thus taking the court through that FORM, Mr. Bristol at once told the presiding Judge, the Hon Madame Justice Wynante Roberts that, given that explanation, he Mr. Bristol was abandoning the claim that the Referendum date has to be on the Ballot Paper. Mr. Bristol accordingly withdrew that argument of his.

From Chairman of Constitution Reform Advisory Committee,Dr. Francis Alexis.




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