Ryan Crawford pleads not guilty; gets 11 top-ranking lawyers
Represented by a batch of top-ranking attorneys, attorney Ryan Crawford appeared at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court Friday morning to face five charges and pleaded not guilty to all of them.
He was released on his own recognizance.
The charges stemmed from an altercation he had with a Police officer on September 13, 2018, at the Yorkshire Public Road, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara. The confrontation was captured on a video that went viral on social media showing Crawford verbally abusing the Police officer who was requesting to see his documents.
Police hauled Crawford before the court on five charges: (1) Prohibition of Tinted Glass; (2) Failure to Produce Driver’s Licence; (3) Driving an Unfit Motor Vehicle; (4) Use of Obscene Language and (5) Riotous Behaviour.
The 46-year-old attorney appeared before Magistrate Peter Hugh.
Magistrate Hugh said he did not believe the Attorney will fail to appear in court and allowed him to go on his own recognizance and adjourned the matter to October 10 at the Mahaicony Magistrate’s Court.
Crawford’s lawyers who were with him in court were Sanjeev Datadin, Teni Housty and Pauline Chase. His other attorneys are Aneesa Chow, Ganesh Hira, Ramesh Rajkumar, Chandra Sohan, Horatio Edmonson, Lloyd Thomas, Eon Smith and Joel Edmond.
Crawford contended that the officer had no right to stop him and that stops should only be made on the suspicion of an offence being committed.
The Guyana Bar Association in a statement said police officers can only stop motorists if they reasonably suspect that a crime has been committed.
Commenting on the matter on Monday morning, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan acknowledged that there should be reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle but said random stop and search has led to the seizure of illegal items.
After the video went viral, Crawford explained that he was frustrated with the conduct of the policeman but apologized for his language.
In a social media post, the lawyer explained that on Thursday September 13 he was signaled from a line of vehicles travelling on the Mahaicony Public Road by a policeman who was standing on the opposite carriage.
After waiting for a while and not given any explanation or reason for the stop, Crawford said he became angry.
The Attorney admitted that his frustration led him to use “many colourful expletives” to get his point across to the officer for the illegal stops. He contended that “there were things said prior to the filming” that the public did not know about.