Justice B.S. Roy clears the air… No case against Reeaz Khan
- urges media to report on case accurately, fairly
June 5, 2004
JUSTICE B.S Roy, yesterday, diffused allegations that the high court was conducting criminal proceedings against city businessman, Reeaz Khan.
In open court, Justice Roy noted that the matter being dealt with at the moment by the court only relates to a 13-year-old child.
“Let me diffuse your mind of the belief that a man is on trial here. As I speak, no criminal matter against anyone is before this court.”
He urged the media to report on the case with accuracy and fairness while issuing a reminder that the matter concerns a child and should be handled with sensitivity.
He noted that yesterday’s proceedings was conducted solely to accept the report from the probation welfare office and to receive an affidavit in answer from the Minister of Labour, Human Services and Social Security, Bibi Shadick.
A Habeas Corpus was filed by the child’s mother, Bibi Hamid against Minister Shadick.
On account of the sensitive nature of the matter, the trial judge adjourned the proceedings to chambers and conferred with Commander of ‘A’ Division, Paul Slowe; representatives from the probation and welfare division; Red Thread Women’s Association; the mother and aunt of the child, and their lawyers. The 13-year-old was, however, absent.
Justice Roy warned that continued irresponsible reporting on the matter by some sections of the media could jeopardize the possibility of the matter being tried in open court later.
The judge noted that if any criminal act has been committed, it is the function of the Police Force and the Director of Public Prosecutions to determine such.
It was noted that pursuant to a writ of Habeas Corpus application, which was made by the mother of the child, Bibi Shameeza Hamid, the court ordered Khan to produce the teen.
The trial judge noted that the court order was complied with and on May 20, the girl was brought to court.
At that forum, the court made an order that the child remain in the joint custody of her mother and aunt until further ordered.
The court then allowed a period of 14 days for a report by the Probation and Welfare department to be submitted.
That report was handed over to the trial judge, yesterday.
It was noted that this action was taken by the court with the consent of Hamid’s attorneys.
In open court yesterday, Justice Roy made it clear that no motion for contempt has been filed before him in respect of the allegations that Reeaz Khan breached the May 28 court order to stay away from the child.
He said, if that were the case, then an application citing contempt of the order should have been filed.
He reiterated that absolutely nothing of a criminal nature had come before him with regards to Khan.
Yesterday, a number of directives and orders were given during the discussion in chambers to various persons, and Commander Slowe is to issue a report to the court within 48 hours.
The matter has been adjourned to Monday.
This revelation by the Judge contradicts numerous reports carried in Stabroek News that implied that Khan is to stand trial in the High Court.
Meanwhile, representatives from a number of organisations picketed outside the Court, yesterday morning. The organisations included the Red Thread, Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA), Men of Purpose, Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) along with religious organisations.
The representatives flaunted placards bearing messages that called for Government to increase the age of sexual consent from 12.
‘Parliament and the political parties have failed to protect our children,’ one placard read, while another said ‘Children do not have basic human rights!’ ‘Change the laws now.’
Emblazoned on other cards were slogans such as ‘national institutions have failed to protect our children;’ ‘War against sexual predators;’ ‘Stop the abduction and trafficking of our children;’ ‘Child marriages must be abolished;’ ‘Stop the rich and powerful from getting away with murder’ and ‘raise the age of sexual consent to 16 now!’
Representative of GHRA noted that the demonstration was intended to prompt Government to fast track certain changes to article 69, 1 –2 and article 70 of the Constitution which allows children to indulge in sexual activity from a young age.
Representative of Men of Purpose, Frederick Cox said his organisation is taking a stand to advocate the responsible behaviour of men in society and uphold moral and social values.
Justice Roy said the views of these organisations represent the collective consciences of the country in so far as children and related issues are concerned, and as such, a representative was invited into chambers.
Even as the picketing continued, several concerned Guyanese viewing the protest were heard enquiring as to the real truth of the matter concerning the 13-year-old and Khan.
Several comments were made to the effect that because Stabroek News has only carried the mother’s version of the story, the real truth could not be ascertained.
One woman openly conveyed her confusion over the numerous inaccuracies cited in Hamid’s story publicised in the media.
The paper in its rush to tell the woman’s story ignored the many irregularities in it on many occasions.
While expressing concern for the outcome of the matter concerning the child, most persons, yesterday, opined that there were some issues that need clarification.
“Something wrong somewhere with this story,” one woman was heard saying. “Every time she give an interview, she saying something different, we sorry fuh the child, yes, because she young, but this woman like she trying to hide something.”