Teen’s detention at NOC unconstitutional
- AG files motion to challenge judge’s order
Kaieteur News
June 16, 2004

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ATTORNEY General, Doodnauth Singh, yesterday filed a constitutional motion in the High Court seeking to set aside the order made by Justice B.S Roy last week to send the 13-year-old girl embroiled in the controversial relationship with city businessman, Reeaz Khan, to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC).

The motion cited the judge’s decision as being ‘unconstitutional’ and one, which ought not to have been granted since the judge had no jurisdiction, or power to send the teen to the correctional institution.

The motion was filed before Justice Yonnette Cummings-Edwards, yesterday. Justice Cummings-Edwards has ordered that it be served on Justice Roy.

The matter will be heard today before Justice Cummings-Edwards.

Last week, the Attorney General was granted leave to intervene in the controversial matter and had recommended a number of privately run foster homes to which the teen could be sent.

These homes were visited by Justice B.S. Roy and deemed unsuitable because they did not possess the requisite security arrangements for the girl, given her particular situation.

At last Friday’s hearing, Justice Roy ordered that the 13-year-old be sent to the correctional facility for two weeks during which time she is to receive counseling. After the counseling and reports from stakeholders, the way forward will be decided.

The judge warned officials of the institution that the teen was not a prisoner and should not be treated as such.

This newspaper understands that the Attorney General, who attended the hearing that was conducted in camera, objected to the trial judge’s order to send the child to the NOC, and told him that he had no authority to so do.

Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, who is representing the interest of the teen’s mother, Bibi Shameeza Hamid, in the case, reportedly disagreed with the Attorney General’s objection and opined that it was within the judge’s jurisdiction to make such an order.

Since then, the decision to send the child to the NOC has met with much criticism from a number of persons and organisations.

Residents on the Essequibo Coast have since called for the immediate removal of the child from the institution and expressed outrage and disgust that the girl has been put into a facility that is designed and geared for the correction of young offenders.

Some Essequibians deemed the action by the judge unconstitutional and illegal.

Many worried that the officials were not adhering to judge’s order and that the teen was being treated like a prisoner, since she was observed queuing up for food with the other inmates.

- The officials of the NOC have since explained that the structure of the correctional institution does not allow for preferential treatment of anyone.