Attorney detained by SOCU to sue for false imprisonment

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Legal proceedings are expected to be filed on behalf of attorney Tameika Clarke who was arrested on Friday by ranks of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) after she advised her client to remain silent during attempts to take a statement from him.

At a press conference shortly after, attorney Nigel Hughes noted that legal proceedings are important to prevent a recurrence.

“Unless we want to live in a country where there is authoritarian rule … every attempt by the state to restrict the liberty of a citizen unlawfully needs to be condemned by a decision of the court in the strongest possible manner,” Hughes said.

In this regard, Clarke will not only be commencing proceedings for her false imprisonment but will also be seeking exemplary damages.

“Every time a lawyer goes to the police station with a client and they say to the client remain silent, the law enforcement agency will lock up the client and the lawyer, that is the consequence of this,” Hughes reasoned.

“That’s why this has to be vindicated by the court and we will see if the judiciary has a view that is as strong as those of us at the bar who think that this is an absolute outrage,” he added.

Attorney Nigel Hughes

Clarke’s client was arrested on Friday, October 21, 2022 and released on his own recognizance the same day. He was told to report to SOCU on Tuesday, October 25, and had done so with Clarke but they were instructed to return on Thursday, October 27 at 13:00hrs because SOCU was not ready for her client’s statement.

During the press conference, Clarke explained that she informed the officer-in-charge of the investigation, Superintendent Krishnadat Ramana, that her client will return but noted that the man will not be providing a statement and wanted to remain silent.

“Ramana told me you and your client are going to come back on Thursday at 1 PM and if your client does not give a statement on Thursday at 1 PM, I will arrest you,” Clarke explained.

“I said you are arresting me for advising my client to remain silent? He said counsel all I can advise you is that counsel will need counsel,” she added.

Clarke noted that when she returned on Thursday, she was advised that Superintendent Ramana was busy and to return on Friday, October 28 at 9:00hrs.

“My client arrived a few minutes before me on Friday … when I arrived my client came out and we spoke, my client told me while he was there, they had a statement there already and was asking him to read it and sign it,” she said.

On Clarke’s advice, the man informed the officers at SOCU that he is following his attorney’s advice and will not be providing a statement.

When Superintendent Ramana arrived, Clarke said that he inquired from the officers whether she was preventing her client from giving a statement and instructed them to arrest her for obstruction.

Clarke was released after the arrival of her attorneys.

Head of the Guyana Bar Association Pauline Chase

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, S.C., was instrumental in securing Clarke’s release.

“I spoke with Ms. Clarke and I informed her of my intervention and my advice and I offered my apologies as a colleague of the Bar for the unfortunate incident,” Nandlall said.

The Guyana Bar Association and the Association of Women Lawyers asl issued statements condemning the arrest and describing it as “disturbing, perverse, unlawful, oppressive and wholly unacceptable.”

The Bar Association has since called on the Commissioner of Police to issue an apology to Clarke, compensate her for her unlawful imprisonment, launch a full investigation into the matter and institute disciplinary action including termination of any officers involved in the matter.

The Guyana Police Force also issued a statement noting that the force is aware of the statement issued by the Bar Association in relation to allegations of the arrest of Clarke and as such the Police Office of Professional Responsibility has been instructed to launch an investigation into the allegations.

1 Comment
  1. Matthew says

    I somehow think there is more to this story, however if true……somebody does not have a clue. The person who ordered the arrest needs retraining or a new job.

    attorneys cannot be arrested for advising their clients even if they are advising that 33 is not the majority of 65. No sir.

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