Prisoners' redress motion won't affect Session opening
by George Barclay
October 4, 2003
JUSTICE Jainarayan Singh, who granted a nisi order in the prisoners' constitutional motion that has caused some lawyers to believe that the nisi order would affect the start of the October sessions if not discharged, agreed with attorney Glen Hanoman yesterday that the constitutional proceedings would have no effect on the sessions.
The judge made this disclosure yesterday afternoon, shortly before attorney Priya Manickchad, who is associated with Mr. Hanoman in representing eight dissatisfied prisoners, rose to reply to legal submissions by Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, who is representing the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Ms Manickchand and Mr. Hanoman, in an ex parte application, complained that the DPP on September 17, 2003 presented to the Supreme Court Registrar a list of accused persons against whom process has
commenced for indictable offences triable at the October sitting of the Demerara Assizes of the High Court commencing next Tuesday (October 7) pursuant to Section 7 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, Cap. 10:01.
After the lawyers successfully argued that the prisoners concerned had been incarcerated for quite some time and that they had been overlooked for an early trial, priority being given to prisoners such as treason accused Mark Benschop according to the DPP's list, the judge granted a nisi order of certiorari directing the DPP to show cause why her decision should not be quashed.
Mr. Ramjattan, who is representing the DPP, submitted that the nisi order was bad in law and called on the judge to either recall his order or have it discharged.
Ms Manickchand replied that the nisi order granted by the judge was well founded and cited a Guyana case in which a decision by Justice of Appeal Mr. Ian Chang had struck down the points now being raised by Mr. Ramjattan.
Earlier, when Mr. Ramjattan was making his submission, Attorney General Mr. Doodnauth Singh, S.C. who is also representing the Registrar, accused Mr. Ramjattan of misleading the Court.
Mr. Singh has been given 14 days within which to file an affidavit in answer.
Other lawyers, Mr. Benjamin Gibson, Ms Emily Dodson, Mr. Shaun Allicock and Mr. Nigel Hughes, who had applied on behalf of Benschop and other prisoners, including Hazrat Ali, for the right to intervene, will file their applications on Monday.
The judge will also rule on the submissions made so far on Monday.