Nandlall says charge should have never been filed since there is a High Court case

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…over the ownership of the law books

Nandlall making his way from Court on Thursday

Former Attorney General and attorney- at-law, Anil Nandlall- who was on Thursday arrested by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) and placed before the Magistrates’ court with the charge of larceny by a bailee, that he fraudulently converted to his own use and benefit 14 Commonwealth Law Reports, valued at $2.3 million- said that charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that he instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of those very books.

On Tuesday, the day after he was initially detained by SOCU for questioning in relation to the law books, Nandlall filed legal proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court, against Attorney General, Basil Williams, SC, to prove that the books are his property.

Following the legal arguments in court, the Chief Justice (ag), Roxanne George-Wilshire granted the Conservatory Order, restraining officers of SOCU and the Guyana Police Force from seizing or detaining the said books.

Nandlall is a post on Facebook said that “the truth is that this charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that I have instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of these very books. This charge should have awaited the determination of those proceedings in accordance with Article 153 of the Constitution. This Article provides, inter alia, that if a citizen’s fundamental rights arises in relation to criminal proceedings, those constitutional rights issues must be first determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, before the criminal proceedings are to proceed.”

According to Nandlall “many believe that Basil Williams has instructed the institution of these charges, simply to provide himself with the defence of justification in the libel and slander suit which I have filed against him. Unfortunately for him, the law is not an ass.”

In April, Nandlall sued Williams for $125 million in compensation for the “considerable distress, anxiety and public humiliation” he reportedly faced by the utterances from Williams in relation to the missing law books.

Nandlall had previously said that when he was appointed Attorney General, he requested as part of his contract of service for the Government of Guyana to stand the expense for his subscriptions for the Commonwealth Law Books. He had subscribed to Lexis Nexis, the publishers of the Law reports.

His contentions were corroborated publicly by then President Donald Ramotar.

After he was released on his own recognizance form Court, Nandlall told the media that the state paid for his subscription “because when I took this job, I took it at a loss of income, that I was earning much more and part of the package which I negotiated was the payment of my subscription for the law books.”

He said he was not surprised by the charge, which he stated was a long time coming, after he had begun criticising the performance of Attorney General Basil Williams.

“I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the turn of events. The Attorney General promised over a year ago that, should I continue to publicly criticise him, he will make these law books an issue and I will be charged,” Nandlall claimed.

Moreover he asserted that him being arrested and dragged in front of the Court  “has nothing to do with the law books. As I indicated earlier, it has a political and sinister motive. (But) the state will expend millions of tax payers’ money to prosecute this charge, and it will go nowhere.”

“Rest assured the criminal charge will be challenged and disposed of, shortly. Everyone who had an intentional hand in this persecutorial conspiracy and plot of vendetta will have to answer to the law. The majesty of the law will prevail in the end” Nandlall asserted.

See Nandlall’s full statement below:

Today, the inevitable eventually occurred. With all the allegations which they have made against me since they were in the Opposition, scraping at the very bottom of the barrel, they have finally come up with the charge of larceny by a bailee of the Law Reports. The charge is as frivolous as it is incredulous.

The truth is that this charge should never have been filed in light of the fact that I have instituted civil proceedings in the Constitutional Division of the High Court in relation to the ownership of these very books. This charge should have awaited the determination of those proceedings in accordance with Article 153 of the Constitution. This Article provides, inter alia, that if a citizen’s fundamental rights arises in relation to criminal proceedings, those constitutional rights issues must be first determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, before the criminal proceedings are to proceed.

Many believe that Basil Williams has instructed the institution of these charges, simply to provide himself with the defence of justification in the libel and slander suit which I have filed against him. Unfortunately for him, the law is not an ass.

Rest assured the criminal charge will be challenged and disposed of, shortly. Everyone who had an intentional hand in this persecutorial conspiracy and plot of vendetta will have to answer to the law. The majesty of the law will prevail in the end.

For now, I am happy that the world has seen how rapidly this Administration has descended into authoritarianism. Its own supporters are aghast. Perhaps, it is fitting that I, who have written so much over the past 2 years about the authoritarian conduct of this Government, its constitutional violations, and its manifest disregard for the rule of law, was the one that they used to showcase those very tendencies, as if to prove me right.

Even after the charge was filed, there were great machinations in relation to, before which Magistrate, I should appear. Many felt that the political direction was to keep me in Police custody. Even the Special Prosecutor retained, whom I have criticized severely, appeared to have found the manipulation of the system, unjust and repugnant. I salute him for his professionalism.

Eventually, a Magistrate decided to hear the matter. The charge was read. The Special Prosecutor did not object to bail. The learned Magistrate released me on my own recognizance. The magistrate maintained her independence. I salute her as well.

I harbor no illusion that this will be the only charge that will be instituted against me. I anticipate that many more will come in the same political mould, not only against me but against my political colleagues, as well. Over a decade ago, in a presentation to the PPP leadership, I had predicted that anytime we were removed from Government, politically inspired and concocted criminal charges will be used as a political weapon against every PPP leader. It is part of the political culture of the PNC. From the moment we left Office, this has been their agenda.

Sadly, for them, this will never break my spirit or the determination of the PPP to continue the struggle to free Guyana from this incompetent, corrupt and vengeful Government and to offer every Guyanese a better life. On the contrary, it makes us stronger. I have said before that we come from a history of struggle of which we see political persecution and imprisonment as a fundamental part.

I wish to thank all my Comrades and Legal colleagues for the tremendous demonstration of support they have shown to me over the last three days, more particularly, today. I must also thank so many friends, well-wishers and supporters both locally and overseas who have called or sent me messages of support and solidarity, especially in the social media. Your support is what keeps me inspired.

The struggle continues…. Round 2….

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