Judge: GM mosquito project can proceed

(file photo)
Oxitec project manager Renaud Lacroix examines GM mosquito pupae in a lab on the MRCU premises. - PHOTOS: MATT LAMERS

The release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in West Bay can proceed, after a Grand Court judge on Tuesday refused an application for another stay of the project.

As of press time, the Mosquito Research and Control Unit and U.K. biotechnology company Oxitec – collaborators on the project – had not announced when the release will begin.

Kerrie Cox of HSM Chambers, a lawyer for the applicant, applied for a stay of the project pending an application for an appeal of Justice Ingrid Mangatal’s decision to refuse an application for judicial review, which she announced in court Monday.

Judge Mangatal said she did not believe the application for a judicial review was a “frivolous claim” and did not think applicant Dwene Ebanks had acted unreasonably in bringing it to court, and therefore would not give an order requiring him to pay for the respondent’s costs.

However, she said she did not believe there was a “real prospect” of an appeal succeeding.

“I am of the view that when the facts and circumstances of the case are viewed closely, there are greater risks … if I were to grant a stay at this time than if I were to refuse it,” the judge said.

MRCU Director Bill Petrie said he was “relieved” by the court’s decisions to refuse the application for judicial review and the stay.

“We need to get on with the job,” Mr. Petrie said. “This is quite urgent from a public health perspective, so … what we need to do now is get the project back on track.”

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