30 Jul 2014

Cooks petitioners warned about process

7:32 pm on 30 July 2014

The Chief Justice of the Cook Islands, Tom Weston, is warning candidates who are petitioning the election results not to waste the court's time.

Nine petitions have been filed with the High Court challenging the results of the July 9 elections in which the Cook Islands Party won a majority with 13 seats.

The C.I.P. has filed one petition, and the Democratic Party eight.

Mr Weston says the petitions could take up at least half of the ten weeks scheduled for all criminal and general hearings, and some of the petitions are raising "silly" issues.

He says all lawyers and parties need to focus on the main allegations as hearings will be restricted to two days.

Justice Weston says that in order to lower costs, it's likely all hearings will be held on Rarotonga and candidates may have to pay for travel if a petition must be heard outside the capital island.

Counsel will meet again on August 1st to review and finalise the hearing schedule.