By-election ordered for Dei Open

The Supreme Court today ordered a by-election for Dei open after an application filed by the Electoral Commission to review the decision of the National Court in February 07 2024 was unsuccessful.

The Electoral Commission sought a review citing two errors by the primary judge.

The first error EC cited was that the judge erred when he continued the trial of the election petition when the incumbent, Steven Pim had died and supported their argument by quoting s. 104(2)(g) of the Constitution.

The second error EC pointed out was that the judge failed to conclude that upon the death of the MP, and by virtue of the same law s.104(2)(g), a vacancy occurred and any current election petition concerning the electorate and the deceased member if Parliament abates.

Presiding Jude Justice Derek Hartshorn dismissed the application because there was no evidence given or submission made that will enable the court to find that, in this instance, there did exist exceptional circumstances or unexceptional circumstances showing a manifestation of substantial injustice.

Additionally, Hartshorn said the submission made by the EC to review the decision of the national court was also filed out of the 14 days period after the decision of the national court.

In welcoming the decision of the court, the petitioner’s lawyer Ismael Opahi said it has been a long time coming and said his client is now ready to go into by-elections.

“We’ve come a long way from the national court to now the Supreme Court, but this is the process of the law where all the avenues have to be exhausted for us to come to this point of which we will go into the by-election,” Opahi said.

Former Member for Dei, Wesley Nukundj who is the petitioner disputed the win by Steven Pim in the 2022 national election where the case went into full trial and a decision handed down on February  07 2024.

The Electoral Commission sought a review of this decision, however Justice Hartshorn upheld the decision of the primary judge and today ordered a by-election for Dei Open.

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