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CJ dismisses election petition against MP for South Choiseul

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MP Galo

The High Court yesterday dismissed the election petition case against the MP for South Choiseul, Sammy Galo, on the grounds that it was frivolous and vexatious and containing insufficient grounds to warrant its hearing.

Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer in dismissing the Election Petition filed on 15 July 2021 also directed that a certificate confirming the validity of the election of Galo as the duly elected candidate for the South Choiseul Constituency be issued to: The Governor-General, the Speaker of the National Parliament, and the Electoral Commission.

Palmer in his ruling stated that: “I am satisfied the pleadings and the Election Petition filed 15 July 2021 be dismissed as frivolous and vexatious and containing insufficient grounds to warrant the hearing of the Petition.”

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Runner-up Tozen Leokana was the petitioner after he lost to Galo by just one vote. Galo polled 1671 whilst Leokana 1670 in the election. Galo replaces his father, Robertson, who previously won the seat but was removed by an election petition in 2020.

In his petition, Leokana claimed that there were breaches by the Returning Officer and counting officials of their duties pursuant to section 112(1)(d) of the Electoral Act. The Petition claimed that as result of those breaches the petitioner had a majority of valid and lawful votes and sought a recount be allowed of the votes.

Galo’s lawyer in return made an application for summary dismissal of the petition on the grounds that it was frivolous and vexatious, and or there were insufficient grounds that warrant a hearing. The high court eventually dismissed the case.

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