Mitchell et Al v The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General

JurisdictionGrenada
JudgePeterkin J.A.
Judgment Date17 May 1986
Neutral CitationGD 1986 CA 9
Docket NumberCivil Appeal No. 3 of 1986
CourtCourt of Appeal (Grenada)
Date17 May 1986

Court of Appeal

Haynes, P., Peterkin, J.A., Liverpool, J.A.

Civil Appeal No. 3 of 1986

Mitchell et al
and
The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General
Appearances:

For the appellants:

Ian Ramsey and Carlton Williams for Bernard Coard

Epos Grant and Maurice Tenn for Phyllis Coard

Clarence Hughes S.C., Delano Harrison and Mrs. Jacqueline Samuels-Brown for 16 others.

For the first respondent:

Miss Velma Hylton Q.C., Doodnauth Singh S.C. and Keith Friday

For the second respondent

K. Hudson-Phillips Q.C. and Ulric Dougan

Jurisdiction - High Court — Whether Constitution of Grenada, ss. 16 and 102 established a separate court to deal with constitutional matters. Request by appellants for referral of issue of the jurisdiction of the High Court of Grenada to the Court of Appeal of the O.E.C.S. Evidence that the issue had already been litigated. The court held that there was no evidence to suggest that there should be two high courts for Grenada, one of which dealt only with constitutional matters. Motion struck out in previous proceedings as being an abuse of process of the court.

Peterkin J.A.
1

This is an appeal from the decision of the Chief Justice dismissing an interlocutory Notice of Motion brought by the appellants, and deeming it an abuse of the process of the court.

2

Apart from a few minor exceptions which were not argued, and consequently not dealt with, the Motion by and large challenged the jurisdiction of the High Court to try the appellants. It posed a number of questions, and requested that the Chief Justice refer them to the O.E.C.S. Court for the determination by that Court of the issues raised. In short, it was a referral motion brought under sections 16 and 102 of the Grenada Constitution Order.

3

Section 16, Sub-sections (3) and (4) reads:

“(3) If in any proceedings in any court (other than the Court of Appeal, the High Court or a court martial) any question arises as to the contravention of any of the provisions of sections 2 to 15 (inclusive) of this Constitution, the person presiding in that Court may, and shall if any party to the proceedings so requests, refer the question to the High Court unless, in his opinion, the raising of the question is merely frivolous or vexatious. (4) Where any question is referred to the High Court in pursuance of subsection (3) of this suction, the High Court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall dispose of the case in accordance with that decision or, if that decision is the subject of an appeal to the Court of Appeal or to Her Majesty in Council, in accordance with the decision of the Court of Appeal or, as the case may be, of Her Majesty in Council.

4

Section 102, sub-sections (1) and (2) reads:

“Where any question as to the interpretation of this Constitution arises in any court of law established for Grenada (other than the Court of Appeal, the High Court or a court martial) and the court is of opinion that the question involves a substantial question of law, the court shall refer the question to the High Court.

(2) Where any question is referred to the High Court in pursuance of this section, the High Court shall give its decision upon the question and the court in which the question arose shall dispose of the case in accordance with that decision or, if the decision is the subject of an appeal to the Court of Appeal or Her Majesty in Council, in accordance with the decision of the Court of Appeal or, as the case may be, Her Majesty in Council.”

5

When the Motion came on for...

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