Judge to de­cide if deputy mayor faked res­i­dency

The Telegram (St. John’s) - - LOCAL - BY GLEN WHIFFEN glen.whiffen@tc.tc

Jus­tice David Ors­born is tak­ing some time to con­sider his de­ci­sion in an un­usual case that could have far­reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions for the Wit­less Bay town coun­cil.

But that de­pends on how far Ors­born will go with his de­ci­sion re­gard­ing a by­elec­tion last fall to fill two va­cant seats on town coun­cil.

In the hours be­fore nom­i­na­tions closed on Sept. 27, 2016, lo­cal busi­ness­man and de­vel­oper Fraser Paul filed his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers.

On the doc­u­ments he de­clared he was re­sid­ing at 104 Gal­lows Rd. and had been a res­i­dent of the town at that ad­dress for at least the prior 30 days, as is re­quired un­der the Mu­nic­i­pal Elec­tions Act.

Not so, said Gal­lows Road res­i­dent Lorna Yard.

Yard stated the house that Paul claimed to be liv­ing in had been va­cant all along, and Paul un­law­fully got nom­i­nated and later elected to the town coun­cil.

He cur­rently sits as deputy mayor.

Yard took Paul to court over the is­sue.

The case was heard over about three days of court time at New­found­land Supreme Court in St. John’s.

A string of wit­nesses tes­ti­fied for each side — many Gal­lows Road res­i­dents sup­port­ing Yard’s po­si­tion that the house was va­cant.

They said they did not see any ac­tiv­ity at the house, no garbage col­lec­tion, no ve­hi­cles in the drive­way, no main­te­nance and no lights on.

Other wit­nesses tes­ti­fied on be­half of Paul that they had stopped in to speak to him at the house, or saw him and his ve­hi­cles in the drive­way.

There were also pho­tos submitted by Paul that ap­pears to show items be­ing taken from the house on mov­ing day fol­low­ing the by­elec­tion (Paul had built a new house in the town), but Yard’s lawyer sug­gested the pho­tos were staged.

If the court finds Paul was not a res­i­dent of the town for 30 days prior to when he filed his nom­i­na­tion pa­pers, the by­elec­tion re­sults could be over­turned, re­mov­ing him from coun­cil.

It is un­cer­tain how that would af­fect any de­ci­sions made by the coun­cil that Paul had voted on since gain­ing a seat in the by­elec­tion.

It’s also un­known how that would af­fect Paul’s abil­ity to seek elec­tion in the up­com­ing gen­eral mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions in Septem­ber.

That will de­pend on Ors­born’s rul­ing, which he said he will file as soon as he can.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.