Six held under city riot proclamation
- magistrate says not officially notified of charge
July 3, 1998
Five persons out of six who were held, Thursday appeared before Senior Magistrate Dawn Gregory-Barnes charged under the new proclamation by President Janet Jagan. They were, however, not allowed to plead as the magistrate said she had not been officially notified about the new charge.
Gregory-Barnes placed the defendants on $1,500 bail and set a report date for the matter. She said that the court would be in a difficult position to deal with such charges since she has not been given guidelines. She also stated that she only knew about the new charge from the newspapers.
Sharon Henry, Trevor Forde, Raymond Stule, Ray Jack and Tyrone Wills, whose addresses were not given, are charged with assembling in a disorderly manner and refusing to disperse. A sixth person, Angela Williams, who is accused of the same offence, did not appear in court yesterday.
The court was told that on June 30, the defendants allegedly assembled together with four or more persons in a disorderly manner on Main Street, in a proclaimed district, and refused to disperse when requested to do so by a peace officer.
The defendants were represented by attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes who asked the magistrate how his clients could be placed on a non-existent charge.
To support his point, Hughes stated that the police charged his clients under Section 127 of the Laws of Guyana and the section states: "If any persons, to the number of five or more assemble together in a disorderly manner in any public place in a proclaimed district, or in any place adjacent to that way or place each of those persons who refuses to disperse when required to do so by a peace officer shall be liable to a fine of $150 or imprisonment for three months."
Hughes stated that in the particulars of the charge, the police have "four or more persons" and according to him that does not constitute a charge.
However, the magistrate placed the defendants on bail and set the matter for report on July 15.
The new charge came into effect on Monday under Section 123 (1) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Cap 8:02 following a proclamation by the President that Georgetown was a location where there is a riotous situation and a serious breach of the peace has occurred.