May 20, 2022 News
Kaieteur News – The People’s National Congress/ Reform (PNC/R) on Thursday condemned the decision of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C, to discontinue the private racial assault charge against attorney-at-law Nirvan Singh, son of former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Carl Singh.
Singh was charged on Wednesday April 20, for using racial slurs towards an Afro-Guyanese policewoman who was tasked with guarding his residence. He had made his first court appearance in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.It was alleged that Singh unlawfully excited and or attempted to excite racial hostility or ill-will against police constable Shawnette Bollers.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on March 20, 2022 at the corner of Middle and Cummings Streets, Georgetown, by means of words spoken by him in a public place, willfully excited and or attempted to excite hostility and ill-will against Bollers on the ground of her race as an Afro-Guyanese by using words directed to her and published by him, to wit: “black monkey”, “monkey” “black people have no purpose in life” contrary to the provisions of Section 2 (1) Racial Hostility Act Cap 23:0).
Chief Magistrate McLennan had granted bail in the sum of $100,000 and ordered the lawyer not to make contact or cause anyone to make contact with Bollers.
However, on Wednesday when the matter was called before Acting Chief Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, instead of the matter continuing, the magistrate received a letter from the DPP which stated that in exercise of the powers conferred on her by Article 187 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, “I hereby discontinue the charge in the above matter.”
Article 187:1 states, “The Director of Public Prosecutions (referred to in this article as ‘the Director’) shall have power in any case in which he or she considers it desirable to do so – (a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court, other than a court martial, in respect of any offence against the law of Guyana.(b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and (c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or her or any other person or authority.”
As such, the matter against attorney-at-law Nirvan Singh, who was charged for using racial slurs against the policewoman, was dismissed. In response to the DPP’s action, attorney-at-law Eusi Anderson, who is representing the policewoman, issued a statement in which it was stated that the matter will go as far as the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The lawyer stated, “The DPP’s letter contains 33 words and is one sentence long. It is signed by Dionne McCammon on behalf of the DPP.” He noted too, that the DPP showed no courtesy to send a copy of the letter to either himself or his client, especially since the letter is dated April 27, 2022.
“We live in modern democracies where it is still vogue for complaints to be ventilated in a Court of law and not in the Court of the DPP’s Chambers. Shawnette Bollers will speak her truth in a witness box in a Magistrates Court in the Republic of Guyana…The DPP’s power is neither divine nor absolute. It is circumscribed by the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court and its final appellate Court the CCJ. It is circumscribed by my client’s God ultimately. I close with my Client’s instructions- ‘let this go all the way to the CCJ’,” Anderson noted in his statement.
In a statement on the issue, the PNCR stated that the decision of the DPP must be condemned on two grounds; one being that she provided no explanation for her decision and two that she did not extend the courtesy of formally communicating her decision to the policewoman or her lawyer.
“The PNCR therefore fully supports the decision of Ms. Bollers, as reported by her lawyer, to take the case all the way to the CCJ. Her determination to fight for justice should serve as inspiration for us all. Ms. Bollers is assured of the support not only of the PNCR but also all those who want to rid Guyana of the scourge of Racism,” the statement further read. Meanwhile, policewoman Bollers on Thursday afternoon protested in front of the office of the DPP, located at Eve Leary, Georgetown. Bollers had made her intentions known to carry the matter to the CCJ.
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