Nov 05, 2022 News
…as file sent to DPP for advice
Kaieteur News – An investigation into the alleged unlawful arrest and subsequent release of Attorney-at-Law, Tameika Clarke, by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has been completed by the Guyana Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
Kaieteur News understands that the file has been sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali- Hack.
Clarke was detained by SOCU on October 28, 2022 for advising her client to remain silent during the course of a criminal investigation conducted by the Unit.
On Friday at noon, scores of lawyers draped in their robes and holding placards protested SOCU’s Headquarters on Camp Street, Georgetown over Clarke’s arrest. Tameika Clarke, Attorney-at- Law told Reporters that she is dissatisfied with the progress of the investigation into the incident.
“I am not satisfied because I would have expected by now that the Commissioner of Police would have issued a statement at least acknowledging certain basic principles, such that a Counsel has the right to instruct the client to remain silent and I have not heard any word to date from the Commissioner of Police,” Clarke said.
The Attorney disclosed that legal proceedings against SOCU will be filed sometime by Monday noting that it is important to prevent a recurrence.
President of the Bar Association, Pauline Chase, described Clarke’s detention as “disgraceful”. “It has been a week and we have not had any positive movement and we issued a statement on the same day calling for a number of actions to be taken and we have seen no movement there…You see Lawyers out here but this is a wider issue, it is a rule of law issue, it is a fundamental right issue, the right to Counsel. The right to remain silent is ingrained, these are none negotiable rights and it affects us all,” the Bar Association President stated.
The Guyana Bar Association had called on the Police Commissioner to issue an apology to Clarke, compensate her for unlawful detention and launch a full investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, SC in a video statement released just after the protest said the Government of Guyana does not condone what happened to Clarke.
“Our Government is committed to the rule of law, we are committed to obedience of the Constitution, we are committed to ensure that the rights and freedom of our people are respected and the laws of this land are upheld,” he said noting that the Government has no policy to be subversive to the rule of law or the Constitution of Guyana. Nandlall said he intervened and advised the SOCU officers to release Clarke after which he offered her an apology for the regrettable incident.
“…Fortunately my advice was accepted, so I thought that this was water under the bridge. I received, a letter for a pre action from a lawyer purporting to act for Ms. Clarke. The Police Officer and Police Commissioner received similar letters,” Nandlall disclosed noting that Clarke is demanding compensation to the tune of $50M.
The Attorney General added, “This young lady would not have spent more than 10 minutes under this alleged police restraints, she was not physically incarcerated in a cell, she was simply requested to move from part of the building, from the lower flat to the upper flat, apparently her cell phone was taken from her and based upon her own statement, she was prevented from leaving the building”.
The Attorney General said too that Clarke’s detention did not exceed 15 minutes. “…$50 Million is being demanded as compensation, while I am in the process of replying to that letter, I am aware of pursuits being made across the Caribbean to get statements to emanate about the conduct of the police…so one must begin to ask whether it is that the young lady’s best interest is being pursued or is there another agenda at play,” Nandlall said deeming the compensation requested as “absorbent and as excessive.”
Nonetheless, the Attorney General said he will respond to the letter received from Clarke’s Attorney for he believes that the matter should be resolved amicably.
“…I hope that what is unfolding in the public domain does not continue to mitigate against the best interest of the young lady who has been allegedly violated,” Nandlall said.
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