Strike out motion denied
The Electoral Court has dismissed a motion by the Associate Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Lealailepule Rimoni Aiafi, to strike out allegations of illegal practices during the election against him.
The decision was reached by a panel of judges chaired by Chief Justice, His Honour Patu Tiava’asue Falefatu Sapolu on Wednesday.
The allegations against Leala are in an election petition filed by former Member of Parliament, Ale Vena Ale.
The allegation of illegal practices against Lealailepule is based on the qualification of voters.
The hearing has been set for next Tuesday 19 April 2016.
On Wednesday, the Court dismissed a strike out motion by the first respondent, Leaalailepule Rimoni Aiafi.
Lawyer, Sarona Ponifasio, is representing Lealailepule. She said if the petitioner was successful in the General Election, he would never have raised these allegations and challenged the qualification of voters in court.
She added that the voters in question are qualified to vote under the law.
But Ale’s lawyer, Maiava Visekota Peteru, disagreed.
She said many of the voters have no kinship connections to the constituency. She said that while some voters registered under the election roll may reside in the district, but they have no kinship to the constituency.
Muriel Lui is representing the second respondent, which is the Office of the Electoral Commissioner.
Ms. Lui also filed an application to strike out the claim against her client.
In delivering the decision, Chief Justice Patu dismissed the strike out application by the first respondent.
He also dismissed the strike out application by the second respondent as a party to this matter.
The application filed by the petitioner for a discovery order was also refused by the court.
The Chief Justice ordered the petitioner to summon the voters to appear when the trial begins.
He also order the first respondent to serve the voters whose qualification are being challenged in the counter allegations and to summon those voters to appear on the day of the trial.
Chief Justice also made it clear to counsels that all voters should be served by Monday 18 April 2016.