Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate Rita Sahu registered an impressive victory in the Bijepur Assembly constituency in western Odisha when results of the bypoll were declared on Thursday. She defeated Sanat Gartia of the Bharatiya Janata Party by a record margin of 97,990 votes.Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik, who had campaigned for two days for the bypoll, congratulated Ms. Sahu for her “huge historic win, breaking all records in Odisha’s electoral history”.While Ms. Sahu polled 1,35,957 votes, Mr. Gartia secured 37,967 votes. Congress nominee Dillip Panda put up a dismal performance by bagging only 5,873 votes.CM vacates seatThe bypoll was necessitated after Mr. Patnaik, who contested from two Assembly seats for the first time in the elections held earlier this year, vacated Bijepur and retained Hinjili seat in his home district Ganjam in south Odisha.In fact, Mr. Patnaik was elected from Bijepur by defeating Mr. Gartia by 57,122 votes. He had bagged 1,10,604 votes, while Mr. Gartia had secured 53,482 votes and Congress nominee Ripunath Seth had got 14,344 votes.In the previous bypoll in Bijepur that was held in February 2018 following death of Ms. Sahu’s husband and then Congress MLA Subal Sahu, she had won as a BJD candidate by a margin of over 41,000 votes.The Congress, which had won the Bijepur seat in the three elections held before the February 2018 bypoll, has been gradually losing its vote share in the seat in the last three elections, primarily due to its weak leadership at the State level.Vote share upBut what came as a surprise for many this time was the drastic decrease in the BJP’s vote share within a short span of time. The party’s decline from 53,482 votes in the elections held earlier this year to 37,967 votes in the current bypoll has left many leaders of the party dumbfounded. The bonhomie between the party and the BJD in the aftermath of the general election was said to have been the contributing factor.While the Chief Minister led the BJD’s campaign, the BJP’s effort was led by Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who campaigned for two days. The campaign for the Congress was led by the party’s State unit president Niranjan Patnaik.
TORONTO – Ontario’s top court sharply rebuked a prominent judge on Thursday for repeatedly failing to explain why she had acquitted a man accused of beating and sexually assaulting a woman.In setting aside the acquittal and ordering the man face a new trial, the Appeal Court expressed dismay at the conduct displayed by Superior Court Justice Susanne Goodman.“Our order directing a new trial is a terrible result for everyone involved in this proceeding,” Justice David Doherty wrote for the court. “The trial judge’s failure to give reasons, despite her repeated promises to do so, has frustrated the proper administration of justice.”In a post-script to the decision, the Appeal Court said the judge had displayed similar behaviour in the past.“Nor is this the first time that this trial judge’s failure to provide reasons has required this court to order a new trial,” the Appeal Court said. “It must be the last time.”Roslyn Levine, a spokeswoman for Superior Court Chief Justice Forster Smith, told The Canadian Press that it would not be appropriate to contact the Toronto-based judge directly.“As this matter is now before the Canadian Judicial Council, it would be inappropriate for Chief Justice Smith to comment on it,” Levine said.The new issue arose after Goodman dismissed all charges against Stanislaw Sliwka in March last year. He was charged after a distressed woman, who can only be identified as A.C., called 911 from an apartment in March 2014.Police were “horrified” to find A.C. had been badly beaten and needed immediate medical assistance, court records show. Her injuries included severe bruising, swelling, numerous cuts, and bleeding to her face and head.During a nine-day trial, A.C. accused Sliwka of repeatedly physically and sexually assaulting her over many months when she lived with him. He denied the assaults. Instead, he called her a drunk who sometimes hurt herself when she fell. He also blamed her injuries on an unknown intruder that had broken into the apartment. His evidence contradicted police testimony.At the end of the trial, Goodman acquitted him, saying she had carefully considered the matter. She said she did not intend the acquittal to be taken as sign she totally believed him or totally disbelieved A.C., but said that on the whole, she was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt.“My detailed written reasons will be released on Monday, March 14, 2016,” Goodman said.However, Goodman, who has sat on the court since 2000, failed to release her reasons as promised. Over the following six months, prosecution lawyers repeatedly asked for them, only to be told by Goodman’s assistant that they would be forthcoming on a particular date. It never happened.When the prosecution wrote directly to Goodman last September to say the Crown would argue the appeal should go ahead on the basis that there were no written reasons for the acquittal, the judge simply didn’t respond.At an appeal hearing this month, the prosecution argued the brief comments Goodman made at trial weren’t intended to explain her decision and didn’t count as reasons. As such, they said, the not-guilty verdict had to be overturned.Sliwka argued in response that Goodman’s brief comments were adequate, and that her decision was properly based on trial evidence. The Appeal Court disagreed.“There is no way of knowing how the trial judge arrived at her verdicts,” Doherty wrote.In 2011, the Appeal Court ordered a new trial for a man charged with a weapons offence because Goodman took 25 months to deliver her ruling. In February, the court ordered a new hearing for woman challenging her detention order because Goodman had failed to deliver reasons for keeping her behind bars.