Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Wednesday | October 14, 2009
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Court rules for Election Petitions Act necessary - Dabdoub
Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter

Attorney-at-law Abe Dabdoub has called for court rules to be made under the Election Petitions Act so that election petitions can be heard expeditiously.

Dabdoub made the call yesterday in the Supreme Court when defeated People's National Party (PNP) candidate for North Clarendon, Horace Dalley, was forced to withdraw a petition brought against member of parliament, Laurence Broderick.

Dalley withdrew the case against Broderick, claiming in court that the two-year delay in having the petition heard had resulted in the unavailability of most of the witnesses. His lawyer, Dabdoub, said some of the witnesses had gone abroad on the farm-work programme while others had migrated from the constituency.

"This case brings to home the urgency for court rules to be made under the Election Petitions Act so that election petition cases are heard within the 90 days after they are filed as stipulated by law," Dabdoub stressed.

Section 19A of the Election Petitions Act states that the trial of an election petition shall, so far as practicable consistently with the interests of justice, commence within 90 days of the date of filing of the petition and be continued from day to day until conclusion.

Dalley was contending that there were irregularities in the constituency during the general election on September 3, 2007. He had lost the seat by 227 votes.

Broderick was a respondent in the case and was represented by attorney-at-law Kirk Anderson, instructed by DunnCox.

Dalley said in court documents that persons who were duly enumerated were not allowed to vote because their names were not on the voters' list.

In withdrawing the petition, Dabdoub said it would be a waste of judicial time to proceed with the petition knowing that the evidence would not be enough for a true determination of the issue.

Dabdoub pointed out that election petitions were at times "dragged out" because some lawyers who represented the respondents took a lot of preliminary points which should have been taken during the hearing of the petition. He said court rules would prevent such delays.

Justice Andrew Rattray granted the order for the petition to be discontinued.


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