Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade has withdrawn proceedings against the State in which he was asking for his client, embattled Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to be immediately released from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown.
Mingo had been in custody since Tuesday pending investigations into allegations of electoral fraud.
Wade told the court this morning that the 72 hours detention period has not yet expired, and that he will wait until after to decide on the way forward. The 72 hours comes to an end at 14:30hrs today, according to Wade.
By way of writ of habeas corpus, Mingo on Thursday filed proceedings contesting his “unlawful detention” to the court, and has asked that the Commissioner of Police appear before the Judge, for the court to determine whether the detention is lawful. The Returning Officer is being represented by Roysdale Forde and Wade.
During the hearing of the matter this morning, Justice Rishi Persaud advised Wade to withdraw the proceedings and await the expiration of the 72 hours, and see what happens, and advise himself. “I would take guidance from the court. I have been in practice for five years, and the court has always guided me,” Wade concluded.
In his address to the court, Wade indicated that he no longer wished to go ahead with the proceedings as the police is allowing him access to his client. He told the court that the police have been inviting him to meet and interview his client.
According to Wade, in a few hours the case will become academic, since the police will have to release his client from custody at 14:30hrs today, at the expiration of the 72 hours, in keeping with his constitutional rights. Wade told the court that the offences Mingo is alleged to have committed occurred five months ago, and the police could have invited his client in for questioning, but did not do so.
Wade begged the court to make certain amendments to the application he filed as it related to his submissions regarding Article 144 of the Constitution. He asked that this be amended to read Article 139 of the Constitution. But this application was refused by the Judge.
“The application was misconceived,” noted Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who is representing the State in the proceedings. He told the court that Wade is “absolutely confused” as it relates to what he is asking the court to do.
Nandlall argued that the question of lawyers being denied access to their clients does not warrant habeas corpus proceedings. Nandlall submitted that there are several case laws, even one by the CCJ and the Guyana Court of Appeal which outlines that courts do not sit in academic matters.
“The detention is not unlawful. I think my friend [Wade] is confusing concepts. Any civilized country has the power to detain persons on certain grounds,” Nandlall added.
Nandlall referenced Article 139 of the Constitution in support of his position. “The 72 hours have not expired as yet, the issue of unlawful detention could only arise after the 72 hours have expired. The police are acting lawfully,” Nandlall noted.
“There is no evidence before the court about unlawfulness and the constitution justifies the holding of a person for 72 hours on the basis of reasonable suspicion,” Nandlall added. In light of the circumstances, the Attorney General asked that the matter be dismissed and invited the court to hear him on costs.
Instead, Wade withdrew the application. No costs were awarded.