By Feona Morrison
In an order granted late yesterday afternoon, Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire ordered that Police Inspector Prem Narine be immed
iately released from detention. He was jailed for seven days by Magistrate Rondel Weever who found him guilty of misconduct in court.
Yesterday, Magistrate Weever found Inspector Prem Narine guilty of misconduct in court, without even conducting a trial, and sentenced him to imprisonment at the Camp Street jail. This was following the senior law enforcement official’s request of the Magistrate to “address him with respect” after she reportedly spoke to him in a loud tone.
After the Magistrate’s order of sentence, Inspector Narine complained of feeling unwell and was rushed to a private hospital where he was admitted under police guard. Subsequent to the Magistrate’s order, Attorneys-at-Law Siand Dhurjon and Everton Singh-Lammy moved to the High Court where they petitioned for Inspector Narine’s release.
In her ruling, Justice George-Wiltshire held that the punishment of seven days imprisonment was excessive, and as such set aside the Magistrate’s order. The Chief Justice ordered that there be a partial remission of the sentence to reflect detention from the time the order of sentence was passed (yesterday) to no later than 16:30hours of the said day.
In essence, Justice George-Wiltshire said that the time Inspector Narine spent in police custody was sufficient punishment.
Inspector Narine was called to testify yesterday in an ongoing trial before Magistrate Weever at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. Kaieteur News was reliably informed that Inspector Narine had attended court to testify in the matter of Police vs Mohamed Ali who is on trial for obtaining $2.1M in phone credit by falsely pretending to be Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence.
During the court proceedings, while testifying Inspector Narine had a lapse in memory and requested to refresh from his two-page statement. Certain sections of the Evidence Act make provisions for a witness to refresh from his/her statement.
The Magistrate is reported to have granted the request which allowed the senior police rank to read over certain parts of the statement before continuing his testimony.
Inspector Narine then made a second request to refresh from his statement which angered Ali who was seated in the prisoner’s docks. A source told Kaieteur News that the prisoner had an outburst and the Magistrate reportedly yelled at him to calm down. At this point, the Magistrate turned to Inspector Narine and told him that the court cannot allow him to see his statement for a second time.
But, she reportedly did so in a loud tone which caused Inspector Narine to ask her to speak to him with respect. According to the source, “I don’t think the Magistrate heard him (Inspector Narine). She didn’t hear him asking her to speak to him with respect. So (Inspector) Narine repeated himself and the Magistrate chased him out of the witness box and ordered that he be arrested.”
The source added that Inspector Narine complied with the Magistrate’s order but refused to be arrested by junior ranks. As such, the Magistrate commanded that an Inspector working at the court’s lock-up come and arrest Inspector Narine. The source added, “In court the Magistrate cited him for contempt. But like after she (the Magistrate) realized she didn’t had the powers to do such, she prepared a warrant stating that he insulted her. To my knowledge only a Judge can cite someone for contempt.”
According to the warrant seen by this publication, on May 22 at Court 8&9 in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court Inspector Narine unlawfully insulted Magistrate Rondel Weever and is guilty of misconduct before the court and by verbal order was removed from the court and is sentenced to seven days imprisonment.”
A Senior Police rank, however, believes that the Magistrate acted outside of her jurisdiction since she is a creature of statute. The rank questioned how his colleague could be found guilty of an offence when the court did not even conduct a trial. In any event, the senior police rank added even if a trial were to be conducted, the Magistrate would have had to recuse herself.
He added that the Magistrate should have put the allegation to Inspector Narine and allowed him a chance to petition for bail. “So, okay the Magistrate found him guilty she should have allowed him to petition for bail pending appeal,” the senior cop added.
In 2016, Inspector Narine, then a Corporal, was adjudged ‘Best Cop’ when the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown held its annual award ceremony. At that time, he was attached to the Major Crimes Investigations Unit which is responsible for solving many cold murder cases and dismantling criminal gangs.
Inspector Narine is currently stationed at the La Grange Police Station, West Bank Demerara. He was reportedly transferred there after he wrote a letter outlining instances of corruption among senior ranks of the Major Crimes Investigations Unit.
Among the matters investigated by Inspector Narine are trafficking in persons, possession of illegal firearm and ammunition, and robbery under-arms
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