More licks for the Independent Liberal Party (ILP).
Their ill-advised application for judicial review, aimed at stopping United National Congress (UNC) candidate, Adrian Shazad Ali from contesting Monday’s Local Government Elections, backfired badly in the courts.
Now the ILP not only faces shame and a total wipe out on Monday, but legal costs for their ill-advised court campaign.
Ali is now cleared to contest the Munroe Road/Caroni Savannah seat in the Chaguanas Borough Corporation.
Judgment was handed down on Sunday morning by Justice Ricky Rahim who had heard submissions on Friday, and who reserved his judgment.
At a special sitting at the Hall of Justice, Port-of-Spain, Rahim ruled that the ILP’s claim had no reasonable prospect for success if the application were to be granted.
In a 21-page judgment, Rahim said that ordinarily the court would not deliver written reasons for decisions on applications for permission to file for judicial review but has chosen to do so in this case for two reasons.
“Firstly, it is in the public’s interest that the reasons be provided prior to the taking of the poll and secondly, the court wants to ensure that all parties have recourse to the court’s reasons should any of them decide to exercise their right of appeal prior to the election which takes place tomorrow, said the judge.
Last Wednesday, the ILP filed the application against the Election and Boundaries Commission (EBC) claiming that Ali was not resident to the address which he gave the Returning Officer on nomination day earlier this month and was therefore ineligible to contest the seat.
Ali had stated that his address was #41B Clarke Road, Charlieville. But so-called investigations carried out by the ILP revealed that Ali was a resident at #69 Mon Plaisir Road, Cunupia. The ILP claimed that following the discovery, it wrote to the EBC requesting that Ali be disqualified, but no action was taken.
The application was heard on Friday at the San Fernando High Court with documents such as company forms and utility bills which showed the differences in addresses being relied upon by the ILP to bolster its arguments.
Rahim said the material facts provided and those which were reasonably likely to be provided if permission was granted, “fall way short of that required to displace the presumption.”
“The mere fact that different addresses have been stated on company forms and a WASA bill is grossly insufficient in the court’s view even assuming that other evidence of residence is likely to become available. A court can reasonably conclude that certain evidence is likely to become available but it ought not to go beyond the bounds of what is reasonable and speculate.
“The applicant is unable in that regard to demonstrate that the interested party (Ali) was not properly registered in keeping with the Registration Rules which appear to accept that an applicant for registration may have more than one place of residence and is permitted an option as to his registration,” said Rahim.
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, and Gerald Ramdeen, represented Ali, while leader of the ILP Rekha Ramjit appeared for her party. lDeborah Peake SC, and Ravi Heffes-Doon appeared for the EBC.