Habeas corpus hearing relating to 13-year-old--
Attorney General granted leave to intervene in interest of public
--Justice B.S. Roy inspects two orphanages By George Barclay
Guyana Chronicle
June 11, 2004

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YESTERDAY afternoon High Court Judge, Mr. Beasraj S. Roy, visited two orphanages, one of which will be selected to accommodate 13-year old Bibi Natalia Hamid while she is under the jurisdiction of the Court.

The girl is the subject of habeas corpus proceedings brought by her mother Bibi Shameeza Hamid, in which she had accused City businessman Reeaz Khan of abducting her daughter, and had asked that the girl be produced in Court.

The judge had ordered Khan to produce the girl and he did so.

But the judge had also ordered that the girl be kept in the protective custody of her mother and aunt at their West Coast of Demerara residence until the matter was fully heard and determined.

But while the order was still in force, there was an allegation that the girl had been removed from her aunt's home and taken to a Children's Home at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara. It is believed that the child escaped from that institution.

In the developments that followed, Counsel Nigel Hughes for the applicant informed the Court that the girl, who is still a minor, had filed a petition to marry Reeaz Khan.

But Hughes went on to submit that the petition by the girl could not be legally entertained, a submission with which the judge agreed.

Hughes had also said that the utterances of the girl brought her into the realms of contempt and he had asked that the matter of contempt should, like the habeas corpus, be also dealt with in Chambers.

In the meantime, Khan was also cited for contempt and is to appear before a Bail Court Judge on June 14, 2004, in answer to the contempt charge. Khan also appeared before a West Demerara Magistrate yesterday, in answer to a private criminal charge for abduction. (See other story on this page.)

Present on the resumption of the habeas corpus proceedings yesterday morning, were Mr. Nigel Hughes, Counsel for the applicant; Mr. Harnanan, of the Attorney General's Chambers representing, Human Services and Social Security Minister Ms Bibi Shadick; Assistant Commissioner of Law Enforcement Mr. Henry Green; and Attorney General Mr. Doodnauth Singh, Senior Counsel (SC).

Up to late yesterday the girl was still under Police protection. The judge had first decided to send her to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC), Essequibo, while she was under the jurisdiction of the Court, but it was found that the facilities there were unsuitable.

The Attorney General had come to Court to seek permission to intervene in the matter in the interest of the public. His request was granted by the judge.

Minister Shadick, too, had come to the Court to clear up a report in another section of the print media, which had given the wrong impression that Mr. Hughes had reported to the Court that the Minister acted in collaboration with the businessman in taking the child of out of the custody of the aunt and sending her to the Mahaica Home, from where it is said she fled with the businessman.

When confronted by the Minister in Court yesterday, Mr. Hughes explained that he did not accuse the Minister of any wrong doing and simply attributed the removal of the girl from the custody of the aunt and mother to another place without the knowledge of the custodians or the Court.

Hughes also said that that information was related to him by his client, the mother of the child.

The Minister said that such information by the woman could not be truthful, since the mother was the person who placed the girl in the bus that took her to Mahaica.

Khan, 36, had filed a petition to the Court to marry the young girl, claiming that much love and affection had grown between them. No date has yet been fixed for the hearing.

The girl is accused of fleeing from the custody of her aunt and her mother, where she had been placed by an order of the Court pending the hearing of habeas corpus proceedings brought by her mother, who is claiming that the businessman had abducted the child.

The child is also accused of flouting the Court's Order.

Following yesterday's session in Chambers, Mr. Nigel Hughes told the Press that contrary to the judge's order, the girl was found in possession of a cellular phone, which she was forbidden to carry.

When the hearing resumes this morning, the judge is expected to name the home in which the child will be accommodated for the duration of the Court proceedings.

Yesterday the young lady appeared to be dressed in the same attire she wore to Court on Monday.