Acting Chief Justice Roxane George SC, last week discharged an order previously directing Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, to show cause why a warrant issued by her to search the residence of former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, for a quantity of law books, should not be quashed.
In her ruling last Tuesday, the Chief Justice noted that the court found no evidence that the Magistrate knew of a conservatory order, and that the matter was within the jurisdiction of the said Magistrate.
In the circumstances, Justice George ruled that the order nisi of certiorari granted to Nandlall on July 6, 2017 calling on the magistrate to show cause, be discharged; awarding the state costs in the sum of $50,000.
The conservatory order had been previously granted to Nandlall, by Justice Dawn Gregory prohibiting the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) from taking custody of the law reports.
The search warrant was issued to Brian Vieira, Special Superintendent of Police of SOCU, dated June 27, 2017.
The order nisi for the Chief Magistrate to show cause, was granted on the ground that the search warrant was issued in excess of jurisdiction being contrary to, and in violation of a conservatory order.
The magistrate was represented by attorney-at-law, Judy Stuart-Adonis.
Nandlall, meanwhile, was represented by attorneys Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin.
Nandlall had told this newspaper that after getting wind that SOCU was applying for the warrant to search his Bel Air property, he rushed down to the court to let them know the act was unlawful.
In the conservatory order, agents of SOCU or the Guyana Police Force were prevented from “seizing and/or detaining the property” of Nandlall, which was described as “Commonwealth Law Reports for the years 2012 to May, 2015.”
Nandlall’s contention has been that the PPP/C government purchased the books for him. The former AG served under the Donald Ramotar administration.
In his application for the order, he had stated that the books were purchased as part of the terms of his employment contract, which he negotiated with Ramotar, a claim the former president validated.
Nandlall is currently facing charges before the Magistrate’s Court, for allegedly fraudulently converting the 14 law reports to his own use.
The police have said that planned searches of Nandlall’s home were abandoned after he became aware of the search warrants.
In a press statement, they had also said the conservatory order which Nandlall says would shield him from searches for the law books, does not pertain to the 14 volumes.
According to the police/SOCU the conservatory order restrains them from executing a warrant, searching and seizing ‘Commonwealth Law Reports,’ while the thrust of their search was for 14 ‘Law Reports of the Commonwealth.’
These, the lawmen said, are not the subject of the conservatory order, but are of the criminal charges against Nandlall.