Has the law changed in relation to obtaining a search warrant?

Dear Editor,

Recent reports in the print and electronic media indicate that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) which has been doing an excellent job so far applied to the court for a warrant to search the home of the former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall for, among other things, 15 Commonwealth Law Reports. SOCU alleged that Mr Nandlall is unlawfully keeping those books. Relative activities after then left me wondering. Wondering why SOCU applied in open court for the warrant. Wondering why the application for the search warrant was not made in chambers. Wondering why the Chief Magistrate took the unprecedented action to read the warrant in open court. Wondering why Her Worship instructed SOCU’s officials to return hours afterwards to uplift the warrant. Wondering why SOCU did not approach a Justice of the Peace and Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavits to endorse the warrant. Wondering if there a shortage of Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths to Affidavits in Georgetown as is the case in West Coast Berbice and other locations. Wondering if only a Chief Magistrate can endorse a warrant for SOCU to search a home for evidence in relation to an crime under investigation.  Wondering if in my policing days when I used to obtain and execute warrants signed by Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oaths to Affidavits and not the magistrates my actions were unlawful. Wondering if the law has changed in relation to obtaining a search warrant since I retired from the Guyana Police Force. Wondering when will those in authority will clear the air in respect of this legal morass. I am wondering. I am still wondering.

Yours faithfully,

Clinton Conway

Assistant Commissioner of

Police (ret’d)

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