CJ dismisses Lowenfield and Myers’ Constitutional Challenge

-Ordered to pay AG and DPP $200,000 costs each.

Today, the Honourable Chief Justice, Roxane George SC, dismissed a challenge filed by Keith Lowenfield and Roxane Myers, in which they alleged that Section 140 (2) of the Representation of the People Act breached their right to a fair trial, as guaranteed by Article 144, and their right to equality before the law, as guaranteed by Article 149 (D) of the Constitution, regarding certain criminal proceedings pending against them in the Magistrates’ Court.

Lowenfield and Myers, along with others, are charged with 28 criminal charges of attempting to commit fraud at the 2020 General and Regional Elections. These charges are pending at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Their lawyers took an objection in the Magistrates’ Court that Section 140 (2) of the Representation of the People Act breached their constitutional rights. The said Section states that:

No evidence of any deliberations of the Elections Commission or communications between members of the Commission regarding its business shall be admissible in any court.

Lowenfield and Myers claimed that they needed the deliberations or communications of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) as part of the facilities for the preparation of their defence in the criminal proceedings. As a result, they made an application for the criminal cases to be adjourned while they filed the constitutional challenge in the High Court. Amidst public criticisms, the Magistrate adjourned the criminal proceedings to await the decision of the High Court.

In the High Court, Lowenfield and Myers named the Attorney General (AG) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the constitutional action. On the 23rd of April, the Honourable Chief Justice ordered written submissions from all the parties, including GECOM, and fixed the matter for ruling on the 24th of May, 2024.

Today, the Chief Justice delivered her ruling. In dismissing the case, the Court agreed with the submissions of the AG, the DPP, and GECOM. The Court stated that Lowenfield and Myers were on a fishing expedition and “cast their net too wide.” The Court found no evidence that their constitutional rights were likely to be infringed. The Court also found that the public interest in ensuring that GECOM’s deliberations remain confidential overrides whatever constitutional rights Lowenfield and Myers enjoy. Finally, the Court ruled that there was no ground established that shows that

Section 140 (2) of the Representation of the People Act breached any provisions of the Constitution.

Significantly, this ruling now paves the way for the Magistrate to proceed with the criminal charges. The Attorney General appeared in person along with Shoshanna Lall, Assistant Solicitor General; Loretta Noel, Senior Legal Adviser and Pierre Squires, State Counsel. The Applicants were represented by Nigel Hughes and Iyanna Butts. The DPP was represented by Darshan Ramdhani KC and GECOM was represented by Kurt DaSilva.