'Abducted' girl ordered to NOC for protection
Contempt and abduction charges filed against Reeaz Khan
By George Barclay
June 8, 2004
JUSTICE Beasraj S. Roy yesterday ordered that a 13-year old girl, who allegedly broke a Court Order relating to a habeas corpus application by her mother, must be kept at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC), Essequibo until Thursday when the Court proceedings will continue.
The new development came at the resumption of the hearing yesterday after counsel Nigel Hughes, representing the applicant Bibi Shameeza Hamid, reported that the girl and Reeaz Khan had flouted the Court Order and that the child was removed from the custody of her aunt, in contravention of the Order.
Hughes also reported that the girl had herself filed a petition to the Court yesterday, seeking to marry businessman Reeaz Khan, a move which Hughes said, cannot be legally entertained, since the girl is a minor and cannot file such a petition without the consent of her parents or guardian.
In the same tone, counsel for the applicant told the Court that on behalf of the applicant, he had filed contempt charges against Reeaz Khan and also a private criminal charge for abduction against the businessman.
The Court once again took the opportunity to complain about the tardiness of the reports in certain sections of the press (not the Chronicle).
Justice Roy claimed that certain reports tended to bring disrepute to the administration of justice and declared his intention to take steps against the offenders at a later date.
The habeas corpus case had its genesis in an application before Justice Roy resulting in the judge ordering Reeaz Khan to produce the girl in Court. Khan complied with the Order.
At the last hearing, the judge ordered that the girl, who was believed to be in the custody of the businessman, be removed to the custody of her aunt and mother.
But according to counsel, the child was taken in custody of the aunt, when in another development without the consent of the Court, officials of the Ministry of Human Resources sent the girl to the Mahaica Home for children, where it is alleged she again came into contact with Reeaz Khan, and later her whereabouts were unknown.
Hughes said that because of the nature of the content of the girl's petition and her behaviour in relation to the Court by breaching the Order, he would ask that her case be dealt with in camera (in the judge's chambers).
Accompanied by her lawyer, Ms Martindale Howard, the pretty 13-year-old Natalia Hamid attired in a maroon top and black pants, appeared in Court yesterday.
Hughes objected to the legal appearance on the grounds that the girl was a minor and cannot retain a lawyer. Reacting, the judge said that he could not take recognizance of the lawyer since the girl was a minor.
The lawyer explained that she had not been retained by the girl, but by someone, who was related to the child.
Before entering the judge's chambers, the young lady issued a four-page document to the press in which she castigated her mother for being violent and unmotherly. In the document, the child claimed that she would prefer to commit suicide rather than be under the control of her mother.
When the young lady came out of the judge's chambers, she was in the company of Police Officer Paul Slowe, the Commander of "A" Division.
Lawyer Mr. Nigel Hughes said that the case would continue on Thursday when certain details would be worked out.
In the meantime, Hughes said, the girl would be kept at the New Opportunity Corps. ughes
In relation to the petition by the girl for permission to marry at the age of 13, Section 30, 31 of the Marriage Act, Chapter 45:01 states that a girl under 16 years of age cannot be married except with the permission of the Court.
The girl may petition the Court for permission to marry, but the Court may only grant that permission if it is satisfied that the girl is either pregnant or delivered of child.