Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Senate seat appeal pushes other cases aside

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMBarbara Gayle
Panton: Has been asking for the authorities to provide space for additional judges to be appointed, but nothing has been done.

President of the Court of Appeal Justice Seymour Panton yesterday complained about the shortage of judges when he had to put aside other cases to expedite an appeal in connection with two Senate seats.

March 16 and 17 have been set aside for the hearing of the appeal filed by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness against a Constitutional Court ruling last month.

Panton said since 2007, he has been asking for the authorities to provide space for additional judges to be appointed, but nothing has been done. He further said the seven judges have been overburdened with work.

Holness breached Constitution

Last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that the Constitution was breached when Holness used undated, pre-signed resignation letters to remove Dr Christopher Tufton and Arthur Williams from the Senate in 2013.

Williams had taken the matter to court.

Holness is contending that the court erred in law and facts when it held that the letters were inconsistent with the Constitution, contrary to public policy, unlawful and accordingly null and void.

After Williams and Tufton returned to the Senate, Clerk to the Houses of Parliament Heather Cooke filed an application in the Supreme Court asking for a determination on the standing of both men and their replacements Dr Nigel Clarke and Jamaica College principal Ruel Reid in the Senate.

When that matter came before the court on Monday, the parties took the decision to ask for an expedited hearing in Holness' appeal.

The case brought by Cooke comes back before the Supreme Court today and it is expected that questions arising from that case will be sent to the Court of Appeal for a determination.

barbara.gayle@gleanerjm.com