13-year-old's posting to NOC-
Judge throws out A.G.'s challenge
By George Barclay
June 22, 2004
JUSTICE Yonette Cummings-Edwards yesterday dismissed a motion by Attorney General Mr. Doodnauth Singh on the grounds that the A.G. did not have legal status to bring the motion in its present form
After one judge had sent 13-year-old Bibi Natalia Hamid to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) for protection, Guyana's Attorney General, who had intervened in the case "in the interest of the public", sought a Conservatory Order to knock down the judge's order.
Yesterday afternoon Justice Cummings-Edwards dismissed the A.G.'s motion, which had asked for:
(a) A Conservatory Order staying the execution of the Order of Honourable Mr. Justice B.S. Roy dated the 11th day of June 2004 in the matter of an application for a writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Subjiciendum Action No. 71-M of 2004.
(b) A declaration that the Order of Honourable Mr. Justice B.S. Roy made on the 11th day of June is unconstitutional, null and void.
Attorney-at-law Mr. Nigel Hughes, who represented the girl's mother Bibi Shameeza Hamid in the habeas corpus matter she brought to compel businessman Reeaz Khan to produce her daughter in Court, also appeared in the Constitutional Court where he applied for permission to intervene on behalf of the woman.
Mr Hughes argued that the Attorney General did not have any locus standi to appear in the matter since, (a) he, as Attorney General representing the State, cannot sue the State, and since (b) the judge who made the order complained about, was an arm of the State.
Attorney General Singh had made it clear that he, as the legal guardian of the Constitution, could not sit idly by and see the Constitution being violated without attempting to put things in order.
According Mr Singh, all he was seeking to do was to prevent the girl from continuing to undergo the stigma that she was subjected to by the order, which sent her to the New Opportunity Corps when she was not convicted of any crime to become a lawful inmate of that institution.
But the ruling of the Constitutional judge yesterday threw out the motion and told the A.G. that he did not have locus standi to present the motion as he did.
In her judgment, Mrs. Cummings-Edwards said, among other things, that having regard to the reasons given earlier the facts of the instant case and the authorities cited, the Attorney General has no legal status to bring the action in its present form as the applicant.
Justice Cummings-Edwards also said that the application of the Attorney General was misconceived.
The judge said that she was not concerned with the merits or demerits of the judge's order. She considered the A.G.'s claim for redress under the Constitution for what has been done by the judge; his claim against the State for what has been done in the exercise of the judicial power of the State, she emphasised.
The judge added that that was not "vicarious liability"; it was a liability of the State itself.
Justice Cummings-Edwards said that she had not gone into the constitutionality or unconstitutionality, or otherwise of Mr. Justice Roy's order.
The Attorney General took the order calmly before telling the judge, "Thank you, Madam."
Mr Doodnauth Singh, who has the right to appeal the ruling, gave no indication of his next move.
The 13-year-old girl, who is still at the New Opportunity, Onderneeming, Essequibo Coast, where she was sent for protection, is expected to have her case reviewed when she appears in Court before Justice B.S. Roy on Friday.