Following his arrest for allegedly attempting to pervert the course of justice, attorney Chandra Sohan yesterday dismissed the accusation as baseless, while warning that the decision by the police to move against him could have implications for the ability of lawyers to properly represent their clients.
Sohan, a former magistrate, stressed yesterday that he was hired for his services as a lawyer for a witness in the preliminary inquiry (PI) into the murder charge against five men accused of murdering Number 70 Village carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt, and he could not understand why exactly he was held by the police.
On Wednesday, State Prosecutor Stacy Goodings, who replaced police prosecutor ASP Stephen Telford, told the court that Sohan had no authority in the proceedings.
However, according to Sohan, the witness approached him about one month ago for his services as a lawyer. He stressed that the court’s records and even Telford could verify that he played “little or no role” in the case.
Sohan, who noted that the witness was interested in recanting a statement, said he had been in touch with Telford. He added that the matter was dealt with when the witness appeared before Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh, who is presiding over the PI. “That was the end of it, the magistrate made a note of it and inquired from the prosecutor right there and then,” he stressed. “That was my only involvement in that matter.”
Sohan pointed out that he was placed in a cell at the Springlands Police Station on Wednesday. However, he said his lawyers were able to file habeas corpus proceedings and the Chief Justice ordered his release. “Other than that the police would have kept me in that little dungeon for God knows how long,” the attorney said. “As far as I am aware, they don’t have nothing to go on,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sohan emphasised that every person who is placed before the court is entitled to be represented by counsel. “These people came seeking my services and I provided it as best as I could,” he said, before arguing that the move by the police now raises a major issue for lawyers as to who they will represent and what services they are now able to provide. “You as a lawyer providing a service got to watch out now because somebody can come and say you corrupt because you providing your services,” he added.
He further stated that the matter would now have to be addressed by the Bar Association in Berbice and also the Guyana Bar Association.
Sohan also made mention of the damage the arrest has done to his reputation both as a person and as an attorney. He said articles on the issue have been aired, published and shared on social media.
Meanwhile, the PI continued yesterday at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court, where four witnesses took the stand to be cross-examined by the defence attorney Sanjeev Datadin.
The case will called next on August 3.
In November, 2016, Narinedatt’s lifeless body was discovered on the Number 70 Public Road.
It is alleged that United States-based Guyanese Bisram mastermind his murder and fled the country afterward.
Five other men, including Bisram’s bodyguard, were charged with the murder. Bisram, police have alleged, procured and commanded Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, and Niran Yacoob to murder Narinedatt between October 31 and November 1, 2016, at Number 70 Village, Berbice.
Bisram was arrested in Queens, New York on July 4 and remains behind bars pending the outcome of extradition proceedings set to commence next month.