Nandlall appeals CJ decision on search warrant order

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall last week appealed Chief Justice (acting) Roxane George’s recent decision to discharge an order previously directing Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, to show cause why a warrant issued by her to search his  residence for a quantity of law books, should not be quashed.

Nandlall argued that the judge was misdirected in law and as such he is asking the Court of Appeal to reverse, set aside, vacate or vary her decision.

In the court action Nandlall is listed as the appellant while Chief Magistrate Ann Mc Lennan is listed as the responded.

In the Notice of Appeal, the document states that Nandlall being dissatisfied with the decision of the Learned Hearing Judge, Justice George, made on the 12th day of December, 2017 hereby appeals to the Court of Appeal on several grounds.

The first ground states that the Learned Hearing Judge erred and misdirected herself in law when she “ failed to appreciate” that the search warrant dated the 27th of June, 2017, issued by the Learned Chief Magistrate was contrary to and in contravention of a valid and subsisting Conservatory Order she (Justice George) had granted on the 25th of April, 2017, preventing and/or restraining officers and/or agents of the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) and/or the Guyana Police Force of the State of Guyana from seizing and/or detaining fifteen (15) Law Reports of the Commonwealth referred to in the said Order as Commonwealth Law Reports for the years 2012 to May, 2015, in the possession of the Applicant and extended on the 10th day of May, 2017, and the 12th day of June, 2017.

The second ground states that the Learned Hearing Judge’s decision is erroneous and wrong in law in as much as the Learned Hearing Judge failed to appreciate that the Order or Rule Nisi of Certiorari was not directed to the legality of the act of the Learned Chief Magistrate nor the exercise of Her discretion nor in relation to her jurisdiction to issue such a warrant but was specifically directed to the search warrant itself on the specific ground that it was contrary to and in violation of the  conservatory order previously granted.

The third ground is that Justice George erred and misdirected herself in law when she refused to grant a Writ of Certiorari to move to the court, for the purpose of quashing the search warrant which was issued by Magistrate Mc Lennan to Brian Vieira, Special Superintendent of Police of the Special Organized Crime Unit, on 27th day of June, 2017 on the ground that the said search warrant was issued in excess of jurisdiction being contrary to and in violation of the conservatory order.

Nandlall argued that the decision of the Learned Magistrate is misconceived and wrong in law and ought to be set aside “ex debito justitae” and that the decision of the Learned Trial Judge is against the weight of the evidence.

In her ruling on December 12, 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.  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.

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