Court of Appeal ends 2022 session – ruling on Laura Valabhji’s bail set for Jan. 31
The Seychelles Court of Appeal closed for the year 2022 on Friday having disposed of 156 cases which included appeal cases and miscellaneous applications in civil and criminal matters.
The President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Anthony Fernando, released the figures in his closing remarks following the last session for the year.
“We are left with, as of today, 63 appeals both civil and criminal, which are inclusive of the 32 appeals listed for the April 2023 session. We also have as of today 10 miscellaneous applications, 8 civil and 2 criminal matters, to deal with in 2023,” said Fernando.
Among the cases that appeared before the Court of Appeal was that of the request for bail for Laura Valabhji, the wife of a prominent businessman in Seychelles, Mukesh Valabhji.
Laura Valabhji filed an appeal against a ruling made by Chief Justice Rony Govinden in the Supreme Court on March 25, 2022, to refuse her bail in the case of illegal possession of arms and ammunition.
The court said it would convene on January 31 to give its ruling on the matter as “the documents are many and require proper consideration.”
Among the cases that appeared before the Court of Appeal was that of the request for bail for Laura Valabhji (2nd right)
Fernando cautioned lawyers to take care in filing the grounds of appeal and heads of argument and to do so in accordance with the time limits set out in the Court of Appeal rules and the practice directions issued by the court.
“Do not file grounds of appeal that are vague, repetitive, or voluminous. Also, when filing authorities, please highlight the relevant parts, rather than simply giving us bundles of authorities,” he said.
The President of the Court of Appeal said that “we have noticed that over a period of time heads of argument are filed in most instances, at the last moment, giving us Justices hardly any time to go through them. Often they are filed a day or two before the hearing.”
He added that “this is a disservice you do to the Court and more to the clients who depend on you and have paid for your services. The time has come to put a stop to this bad practice that has been condoned by Court.”
Fernando also called on justices “to bear in mind that we should deliver our judgments on time unless there is very good reason for postponing the delivery of the judgment. We should not be insensitive to the feelings of those litigants awaiting anxiously to see the outcome of their cases. We should always, put ourselves in their position.”
He added that it has been his wish to deliver judgments of cases heard during a session at the end of the session.
“At its most, a judgment of a case should not be delayed for a period of more than two months after the conclusion of the hearing and that too, only for very good reason. We Judges and lawyers should strive for expeditious delivery of justice to keep up the respect and trust people have in the Judiciary,” said Fernando.
The Seychelles Court of Appeal sits for three terms each year and these are during the vacation of the Supreme Court and are generally in April, August and December.