The businessman and the 13-year-old
Girl to remain at NOC, continue counselling
Stabroek News
June 26, 2004

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The 13-year-old girl involved in the controversial relationship with city businessman, Reeaz Khan, will remain in protective custody at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) and continue to undergo counselling for another two weeks.

Stabroek News understands that Justice BS Roy was pleased with the report presented by Social Worker/Counsellor, Lisa Thompson, yesterday.

Thompson had, on June 11 at the court's request, undertaken to counsel the child and submit a report based on her assessment at the end of the two-week period.

The matter has been adjourned to July 12 at 11 am.

Attorney-General Doodnauth Singh had formally objected to the child being sent to the NOC in a motion that was heard and later dismissed by Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards.

But right on the heels of the dismissal of the AG's application for Justice Roy's order to be repealed, Khan filed a notice of motion, similar to that of AG Singh, petitioning on the child's behalf (in the capacity of next friend) for the judge's order to be deemed "unconstitutional".

The AG had contended that the NOC is an institution reserved for young criminal offenders and that the child is likely to be stigmatised if she remains there.

In response, attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes had argued that the AG had no locus standi to sue the state on the child's behalf since the child's sole legal guardian is her mother, and her mother had not authorised the AG to take any such action on her behalf. Further, that the AG's application was "misconceived" and "a legal impossibility" since it amounted to one arm of the state suing another arm of the state.

Justice Roy's decision to send the child to the NOC, according to information this newspaper received, had been made following his visit to two foster homes at the suggestion of the AG. Reports are that when the judge, accompanied by friends of the court, including senior female attorneys, visited the homes, he was dissatisfied with security and other arrangements at those facilities. Concern had also been expressed after a cellular phone had been found on the child's person while she had been in the protective custody of the police.

Khan is expected to appear in court in relation to contempt proceedings against him next Monday.