A Grand Court judge on Monday refused an application for a judicial review that could have stopped the planned release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay.
The release of the mosquitoes is on hold pending another hearing scheduled for Tuesday when Justice Ingrid Mangatal will present her reasons for refusing the judicial review application.
Opponents of the GM mosquito project made their application to the court on July 13, a day before the mosquitoes were scheduled to be released.
The application sought a review of the May 18 decision of the National Conservation Council, which granted a permit to the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and British company Oxitec for the import and release of up to 22 million mosquitoes in West Bay.
“In essence, the challenge is mounted on the basis that the NCC’s decision is flawed on the basis of illegality and irrationality,” Justice Mangatal said during the brief hearing Monday.
“I have examined the grounds carefully … I have found that none of the grounds have been made and the judicial review application is therefore refused,” she said.
The judge did not have her written reasons for refusing the application completed by the time of the hearing Monday morning since the case was presented and considered in a truncated time frame due to the time-sensitive nature of the mosquito project.
Kerrie Cox of HSM Chambers, a lawyer for the applicant, told the judge he was instructed to make an application to appeal the decision to refuse the judicial review.
He requested a stay until counsel could take into account the judge’s reasons for refusal and to examine “whether an appeal has any merit.”
Solicitor General Jacqueline Wilson, representing co-respondents the National Conservation Council and the Department of Environment, said they would be “vigorously opposing any application for a stay.”
More than 75,000 genetically modified mosquitoes that were ready to be released were destroyed due to the initial stay. MRCU director Bill Petrie has explained that the wasted “batches” of mosquitoes would be a loss for the entire program because permits allow the MRCU and Oxitec to import and use only a particular quantity, which they cannot exceed.
The judge extended the stay until Tuesday, when she will present her reasons for refusing the application during a hearing at 2 p.m. in Grand Court.