Supreme Court meets here today
A number of interesting cases are down on the Cause List of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) when it meets in Dominic for five days beginning today Monday, November 11.
The ECSC is expected to decide whether the battle between journalist, now politician, Lennox Linton and chartered accountant Kieron Pinard-Byrne will move to the Privy Council, after the ECSC over-turned a High Court decision which ruled that journalist Linton had libeled Pinard-Byrne.
Another matter on the list is Civil Appeal No 6 of 2013 between Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit et al v Hector John. That matter deals with the election of former president Eluid Williams and that ruling was handed down by Justice Lionel Jones on February 22, 2013.
Earlier, Justice Jones in analyzing validity of the case stated that he accepts as the Respondent/Claimant (Opposition Leader Hector John) contends that he, John, has a significant role to play in the process of the election of a president and for this reason, "I hold that his locus standi is indisputable."
He also questioned a certificate produced by the Speaker of the House of Assembly certifying the election of Williams as President of Dominica.
"It seems to me that from the above, the integrity of the Speaker's Certificate is in question and a clear path to the Court under Section 103 remains open. I hold in the circumstances that this court has jurisdiction to entertain this claim," Justice Jones stated.
According to Justice Jones, after giving careful consideration to the arguments and authorities cited in this matter and in all the circumstances, "I hold that the Court has jurisdiction and the claim in not frivolous, vexatious nor an abuse of the process of the court".
"The framers of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica never intended that the election of the President, the Head of State should become entangled in controversy. The role of every participant in the process is clearly spelt out. But like in all spheres of life, dispute arises from time to time," Justice Jones said. "It is beyond dispute, he said that the Constitution is the supreme law and the powers of Government and the Parliament are "circumscribed by the Constitution."
The Judge further stated that where there has been any breach of the Constitution the "courts have the final say."
Whether the ECSC agrees with Justice Jones or not, that the case should or should not be heard by the court, the case now has only academic significance since President Williams ended his one-year term before the court could decide on the matter.
Additionally, the ECSC will rule on the appeal against the conviction of Herbert Xavier who was convicted of murder. Xavier and his two sister, Manuela and Loretta, were jailed for 15 years after a jury found them guilty of murdering their brother, Harrison Williams, in Soufriere in 2010.