The first hearing of the People’s United Party’s challenge to the Public Safety Act Regulations, Sarstoon Order of 2016, took place this morning at the Supreme Court. But when the case goes back to court, it may be likely that the crux of the case will be moot. That’s because the regulations expire in just 10 days’ time. Senior Counsel Andrew Marshalleck, representing his party leader John Briceno, explained why the case was adjourned and the reasons they brought it:
Andrew Marshalleck, Senior Counsel- Representing John Briceno: The first hearing of any claim of this nature is normally case management, it’s when the court schedules out what steps are to be taken and when, in order to try the claim, but what happened here today is that because of the early date that was fixed, the time for government and the governor general to file papers in defense hasn’t yet expired. So that nothing has yet been filed an indication was given that they need time in order to respond to it. The date was therefore adjourned to June 27th.
Andrew Marshalleck, Senior Counsel- Representing John Briceno: Yes, that’s to be expected. That through for any case and we expect that by the time the hearing came on, the law would have been expired. The issues that arise from that is something we anticipate and we have to confront head on.
Reporter: Speak to us about the grounds basically of this challenge.
Andrew Marshalleck, Senior Counsel- Representing John Briceno: The grounds of the challenge is that the governor general in deciding to promulgate the SI, acted outside the scope of his authority as conformed by the provisions of the public safety act, in that the trigger for making a law of this nature is that he must be satisfied that there is a risk to public safety caused by some risk of civil commotion and again we say that there is nothing that happened or that was likely to happen that would have given rise to any civil commotion which would have entitled him to do as he did.
According to Marshalleck, arguments on whether the case will continue if the regulations are not renewed will be heard by presiding Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. But he is of the opinion that it will be helpful for the country to know the extent to which the Act can be used. Either way, Briceno told reporters that Government will not be allowed to slide by on this matter.