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THE PATEA ELECTION PETITION

Succeeds on one Ground.

Election Di^clapad Void.

Each Party to pay Their Own

Costs.

Judgment was given this afternoon' in the Supreme Court by the Chief Justice Sir Robert Stout and Mr Justice

Williams in the Patea election petition case, their Honors giving "separate ten judgments.

The Chief Justice, after reviewing the petition and amendments, held that the Court had no power to add new claims to a petition, and therefore disallowed the amendments. His Hanor pointed out that a petition must state the facts and grounds relied "on in the prayer, but need not state particulars. The -Election Petitions Act provided that a petition shall allege specific grounds on which the petition shall be filed, and on no other grounds, and that the petition must be lodged 28 days_ after the declaration -of the election. In the present case two primary facts or additional grounds of petition were alleged in the amendment, whereas amendments were only allowed where the alterations were on secendary facts, such for instance, as th esubstitution of the name Rata for

Silverhope, or Rangitikei for Silverhope. With respect to the special grounds of the -petition, the first was * that the Returning Officer wrongfully disallowed the vote of Frederick Charles Saphir, of Taylorville. It appeared that Saphir a name was not on the roll, and therefore he should not have received a ballot paper. His Honor, therefore, held that there was.no ground undeT this head for declaring the election void. As to the case of the two Nes-

bitts, whose votes were both disallowed.

his Honor said the evidence showed that the person on the roll was the younger Nesbitt, and therefore the petition would fail on this ground. The ground that the 'Makirikiri booth had been closed had been abandoned by the petitioner. As to the absence of the Deputy Returning Officer from the Mangaonoho 'booth during the lunch hour, the evidence of young Haselden was to the effect that no one came to vote. There was the" additional fact that not one person was produced by the petitioner to prove that the absence of the deputy prevented a single vote from being recorded, and that the booth in question was at a small country place. 4£i?n this ground the election could tot 1 be declared void though there was an irregularity orthe part of the Deputy Returninp Officer. Then they came "to the last ground of the petition, that an elector named John Williamson, on the joll as "John Williams," was not allowed to vote by the "Deputy Returninp Officer at the Hunterville polling booth, although ie rightly 'claimed to. be the person named "John Williams* on the said roll. The evidence showed that the Registrar sent the name of John Williamson to the printer, but the name was printed as John Williams. There was no John Williams carpenter. John Williamson asked for a voting paper, but the Deputy Eeturning Officer declined to give him one. The question was, ought he to have been avowed to vote, and that, seeing that there was only a majority of ope was it a .reasonable inference that the result was affected thereby, and should the election be set aside? His" Honor then proceeded to quote a number of law cases on the subject, the purport of which was to show that persons whose names were wrongly spelled on the roll should not be debarred .froir voting, and that elections had been declared void because of the refusal tc allow such persons to vote. Ir the present case it had been clearly proved that John Williamson was the person entitled to vote, and the Deputy Returning- Officer, if he had any doubt, about the matter, should have referred it to the Returning- Officer. Therefore, on the ground that John Williamson should have been allowed to vote, the c-lectioa must be declared void. As to the question of costs, the petitioner had failed in the amendment and had only succeeded in one of the six ground" of the petition. The respondent was in no way responsible for the mistake of tho Deputy Returning Officer, and there was no reflection on. his'(respondent's) conduct whatever. He would therefore order that each party should pay their own costs.

His Honor Mr Justice Williams then delivered his judgment, concurring with the Chief Justice's decision. He held that the petitioner could not succeed in the amendment, seeing that no amendment setting forth .specific grounds of complaint could be made after the 28 days allowed by the Act, had elapsed; that Saphir's .vote had been rightly disallowed; that the weight of evidence with, respect to the Neebitts was against the contention of the petitioner; that the absence of the Deputy Returning Officer from the Mangaonoho booth did not justify a person concluding that no one was i>charge of the booth, and the weight of evidence was in favour of the contention that no one came to vote during the dinner hour; and that it was rot shown that it was reasonable or probable that a single voter was debarred from voting through the absence of the deputy; and that Williamson's vote ought to have been allowed, seeing tliat it was proved conclusively that he^tvas the person entitled to vote. Seeing, therefore, that there might have been an equality of votes had Williamson been allowed to record his .rote, the rejection of Williamson's vote rendered the election void. His Honor added that he concurred with the Chief Justice as to the costs.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/WH19011009.2.45

Bibliographic details

THE PATEA ELECTION PETITION, Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXV, Issue 10465, 9 October 1901

Word Count
920

THE PATEA ELECTION PETITION Wanganui Herald, Volume XXXV, Issue 10465, 9 October 1901

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