Prisoner’s Constitutional Motion hearing--
Applicant’s lawyer given three days to file affidavit in answer
By George Barclay
Guyana Chronicle
October 17, 2003

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VETERAN Attorney-at-law, Mr. Benjamin Gibson, who had sought to represent treason accused Mark Benschop at the Prisoners Constitutional Redress Motion, yesterday filed a summons seeking to intervene in the matter and to have the Motion thrown out.

At the hearing yesterday, lawyer for the applicant prisoners, Ms Priya Manickchand, objected to the summons pointing out that Mr Gibson had no status to file the summons. She declared her intention to oppose “it to the hilt”.

Ms Manickchand was given three days leave to file an affidavit in answer to Mr. Gibson’s summons.

Further hearing was adjourned to November 3.

The judge, Mr Winston Moore leaves the country tomorrow for two weeks, but he will be back in time for the hearing of the arguments in relation to the summons.

The summons filed by Mr. Gibson yesterday in the Constitutional matter of prisoner Seetal P. Sookdeo against the DPP, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, and the Attorney General of Guyana, had asked all parties to attend the judge in Chambers to discuss the matter yesterday

Among other things that summons on behalf of Mark Benschop, sought leave to intervene in Notice of Motion No. 153 – M of 2003.

It also asked that the said Notice of Motion be struck out for being an abuse of the process of the Court.

Gibson had filed an affidavit in answer signed by Mark Benschop in which he alleged that he had the right to intervene in the proceedings.

At first, the judge was inclined to throw out the affidavit, but yesterday he said that in order to save time he would accept the affidavit in support of the summons, which was filed yesterday.

The Nisi Order was granted to Ms Manickchand and Mr. Glen Hanoman, who are representing the applicant prisoners – Kenneth Richardson, Seetal Sookdeo, and six others.

They are seeking constitutional redress under Article 153 of the Constitution for contravention of their fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by Articles, 40, 139, 141, 144 and 149 of the Constitution of Guyana. They are saying, too, that their rights are being contravened by listing the name of Treason accused Mark Benschop as Number One on the hearing list along with other prisoners who had recently been committed to stand trial in preference to persons who had been awaiting trial for years.

The substantive hearing of the Motion is fixed for November 14.

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