Internet Radio

Full Court to rule on Opposition Leader’s participation in budget cut case

Opposition Leader, David Granger

The Full Court of the High Court would early next month decide whether to overturn Chief Justice Ian Chang’s decision and again allow Opposition Leader David Granger to be party to an ongoing case on whether the House can cut the national budget.

Chang ruled on June 19 that Granger and Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh should be exempted from the 2012 Budget cut case because they enjoyed immunity.

After hearing lengthy arguments by Attorney General, Anil Nandlall and Granger’s Attorney-at-Law, Basil Williams, the Judges Rishi Persaud and James Bovell-Drakes set November 11 as the date for decision.

Nandlall is sticking with the Chief Justice’s ruling that Granger be excluded from the case while Williams is arguing that his client has a right to be heard in a matter in which he has an interest and the opposition collectively voted in favour of in the House.

Saying that he could not find any existing authorities to support part of his contention, Nandlall said Granger did not enjoy a right of appeal. “So we have the strange and unprecedented phenomenon of a defendant who, having been told by a judge that the plaintiff having been sued wrongfully, and the defendant rather than happily leave the precincts of the court…files an appeal against the judge’s order,” said Nandlall. He said Granger was not an aggrieved party in the matter

The Attorney General further contended that the Chief Justice’s ruling was a dismissal and if there was a right of appeal that should be taken to the Court of Appeal, not the Full Court. Alternatively Granger’s legal team, he suggested, could file for a stay in the proceedings of the budget case.

In his response, Williams countered by saying that Granger has a right to represent the opposition’s position taken in parliament. On the issue of whether Granger’s participation in the substantive case was struck out or dismissed, the defendant’s lawyer said that was a “misnomer.” “There couldn’t be a dismissal. There was no trial on the basis of the merits,” Williams said in reacting to the Attorney General’s assertion that he (Williams) had deliberately stayed away from using the word “dismissed.”

The substantive case being heard by the Chief Justice challenges the Opposition’s decision to cut the 2012 national estimates of revenue and expenditure.