Judge rules Police Service Commission suspension case can go ahead

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An interlocutory application by Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, seeking the dismissal of a constitutional action brought by the now expired Police Service Commission headed by Paul Slowe was Wednesday dismissed by High Court Judge Gino Persaud.

Nandlall had contended that the action which was filed in July 2021 could not proceed to finality because the PSC expired one month later in August 2021.

In the brief oral ruling, which offered a summary of reasons for the decision, Persaud said it was not logical or fair to throw out the substantive case because the life of Commission had ended.

Persaud observed that both the AG and Counsel representing the PSC were unable to find previous similar cases, making it a novel point that had not been ruled on before although he relied on regional cases to come to his decision.

In dismissing the application, Justice Persaud ordered no costs since the matter in the public interest but said that Slowe must now be substituted for the PSC as the applicant since no Commission is in place.

He said the Attorney for the PSC erred when the case was filed since they were well aware that at the time the members were all suspended and the life of the PSC would soon expire.

The PSC had instituted proceedings in the High Court against President Ali, Prime Minister Brigadier (retired) Mark Phillips, Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie and the Attorney General.

The PSC wanted a declaration that the suspension of the Chairman and members of the PSC by President Ali was contrary to and in violation of the Constitution of Guyana, in particular articles 225 (6) and 210 (3). The PSC was suspended by President Ali on June 16, 2021.

The fixed date application, also against the Secretary of the PSC, was filed by attorneys Selwyn Pieters, Dexter Todd and Dexter Smartt on behalf of the PSC.

Earlier, Nandlall challenged the naming of President Ali as a respondent since the constitution shields the President from prosecution through Presidential immunity articulated under Article 182 (1) of the Constitution.

In September, Justice Persaud upheld this constitutional shield and ordered that Dr. Ali’s name be removed from constitutional action.

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