- Judge declines contempt
motion against police ranks
Former Guyana Defence Force Lieutenant, Diallo
George, was yesterday finally released on bail,
minutes after Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire
disallowed a contempt motion brought against two
police ranks. The motion had been filed by
George’s attorney, Nigel Hughes.
Hughes had moved to the High Court seeking to have
the two police ranks, an Assistant Superintendent
and a Constable, cited for contempt. They had
sought to have George return to the Camp Street
prison despite an order issued on March 18
granting him bail.
George is accused of the 2004 murder of Army
Private, Kwesi Todd, at Camp Jaguar, New River
His attorney Nigel Hughes had successfully moved
to the High Court for him to be granted his
Justice George-Wiltshire before whom the bail
application was made, had ordered that the state
pay damages to the tune of $575,000.
George has been in custody since 2004 and endured
two Preliminary Inquiries.
The judge also ordered that George’s Preliminary
Inquiry commence within seven days of her ruling
and should last no more than nine months.
If at the end of the Preliminary Inquiry, George
is committed to stand trial in the High Court, his
indictment must be presented before April 2011.
Lieutenant Diallo George signs the recognizance
for his release in the presence of his attorney
Nigel Hughes and his father Patrick George.
Attorney Hughes believes that there were
efforts on the part of the prison authorities to
frustrate the release of his client since the
issuing of the bail order last week.
According to Hughes, bail was posted the day the
order was made. His client was also ordered to
lodge his passport and this was done.
He claimed that when the order for his client’s
release was taken to the prison, an officer there,
Bandu, refused to honour it claiming that he
needed to see a body order before he could comply.
Hughes said that he contacted the Acting Registrar
of the Supreme Court, informing him of the
The Acting Registrar then made contact with the
prison officer to assure him that a bail order was
indeed issued by Justice George-Wiltshire and that
there was no need for a body order, but the
officer stuck to his position.
Hughes even sent a letter to the Commissioner of
Police but the situation remained the same.
All of this took place last Friday.
Yesterday the accused turned up in the Georgetown
Magistrates’ court six, before Magistrate Dale
Kingston, for the commencement of the third
There and then his attorney produced the order and
informed the Magistrate of the situation.
But the prosecutor intervened and informed the
Magistrate that she had received instructions to
have the prisoner returned to the Camp Street
George was subsequently placed in the court
lock-ups pending his return to Camp Street.
This prompted Hughes to again move to the High
Court, seeking to have the police prosecutor and
the arresting rank cited for contempt.
“It is obvious that the police have no intention
of obeying the court order,” Hughes told Justice
The Judge enquired if the accused had signed a
recognizance and Hughes replied that he was not
permitted to do so by Prison Officer Bandu.
The Police Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent
Fowler, when summoned before Justice
George-Wiltshire, admitted that she was aware of
the order but she claimed that she was of the
opinion that George was already out on bail.
She told the High Court that she was surprised
when she learnt that the accused was being brought
from the Camp Street Prison.
Fowler said that she communicated this position to
her immediate boss, Court Superintendent Maxine
Graham, who instructed her to return the accused
to the prison.
“Since there were some problems with the signing
of documents, I took it upon myself to have the
accused sent back to prison because he came from
there,” the Police Prosecutor told the High
“I did not mean any disrespect to the (High)
Court. I don’t know why the prison authorities
did not release him,” Assistant Superintendent
Constable Atkins who had placed George back into
the court lock-ups yesterday said in his defence
that he was merely following instructions from his
Justice George-Wiltshire accepted the explanations
of both Fowler and Atkins and ruled that there was
no prima facie case to support the motion for
She noted that in the absence of the signed
recognizance, the police were not authorized to
She then ordered that the recognizance be signed
in the High Court to prevent any further
“Although he lodged his bail the documentation
has to be done (before the accused is released on
bail),” the judge stated.
Eventually this was done and an elated George
subsequently walked out of the court with his pre
“It feels good to be out of prison after six
years. I cannot explain the way I feel right
now,” George told members of the media.
He said that he did experience some amount of
stress over the past weekend in light of what he
described as efforts to prolong his pre trial
“I lost a considerable amount of weight over the
weekend due to the stress they caused me.
Everything is okay now. I can’t complain
anymore,” he said.
The father of the accused, Patrick George, was
relieved that this stage of the proceedings has
been resolved favourably.
He said that since Justice George-Wiltshire’s
ruling on his son’s bail application, he has
witnessed firsthand a high level of disrespect for
court orders by both the police and prison
“I could not believe that I would have been
witnessing people displaying such arrogance and
pomposity towards an order by a high court judge.
I think if this is indicative of how this country
is heading, then we’re heading for a
catastrophe,” Patrick George told the media
immediately after his son was released.
Attorney Hughes said that what transpired was not
He referred to the granting of bail to another
murder accused, Donsford Dodson, a little over a
week ago. After that decision the police swooped
down on his office in search of the accused.
“Last week when Mr. Dodson was granted bail, the
police flagrantly violated the order of court.
They sent 16 policemen to my office, looking for a
man who had long gone home pursuant to the order
of court. We anticipated this but in this case the
obstruction came from the prison,” Hughes
He said that unfortunately the two police ranks
who were facing the contempt charge were being
According to Hughes, the senior police officers
who obviously gave the instructions are not brave
enough to come to court and say so.
But Hughes assured that this is certainly not the
end of the matter.
He informed that not only will contempt
proceedings be filed against the Director of
Prisons and the Prison Officer who refused to
release his client, but actions will be taken with
regards to damages.
So far this year, the High Court has ordered that
three murder accused be granted bail, given the
length of time they have been in custody without