Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2019. 3:50 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin has found that there is a serious issue to be tried on the matter of whether the writ of the referendum is properly issued, considering that no settlement has been proposed – only that Belizeans decide whether to approve taking the claim to the International Court of Justice.
He, therefore, granted an interim injunction to postpone the referendum until the court can try the matter.
However, Defense counsel Lisa Shoman will apply as early as tomorrow to vary the order as above. The attorney for the claimants Eamon Courtenay plans to oppose it.
Shoman is asking if Chief Election Officer Josephine Tamai can be restrained per Section 5 (3) of Referendum Act from certifying results of the referendum until the court hears the case or otherwise since referendum has not yet been held. She told reporters that it was more of a technical issue and not originally part of the claim.
But a win is a win for Courtenay, and a big one considering the team assembling the claim could find no direct authorities on halting referenda. He and party leader John Briceño paid tribute to all who put together the case including party legal counsel Anthony Sylvester.
Meanwhile attorney general and defendant Michael Peyrefitte said the real losers in this matter are the people of Belize who are now effectively restrained from giving their opinion – unless the Government can get a speedy appeal to the next highest court the court of appeal before next Wednesday.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, another defendant has called an urgent press briefing for later this afternoon in Belize City.
We will have much more on this momentous decision as the day progresses.
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