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Nandlall moves to High Court to quash SOCU search warrant

Moves have been made by former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, in the High Court to quash a search warrant the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has obtained to search his property to locate, among other things, the 15 law books he is alleged to be unlawfully holding.

Nandlall approached Justice Franklin Holder seeking that an Order of Rule Nisi of Certiorari be issued and directed to Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan. The order, if granted, will ask McLennan to show cause as to why the search warrant issued by her should not be moved to the High Court for the purpose of being quashed.

The grounds cited in Nandlall’s submission made clear that the move by McLennan to grant a search warrant is in violation of a Conservatory Order of acting Chief Justice Roxane George, Senior Counsel (SC), which bars ranks of SOCU and the Guyana Police Force (GPF) in acting in this regard.

Justice Holder granted the Order yesterday.

According to Nandlall’s submission this Conservatory Order, granted by Justice George, was first made on April 25, 2017, and extended on May 10, 2017, and on June 11, 2017.

However, he contends that SOCU is exploiting a typographical error in its move to secure a search warrant. The initial Conservatory Order made on April 25, 2017, referred to the law books as the Commonwealth Law Reports (CLR). However, the law books are actually titled the Law Reports of the Commonwealth, which are sourced from (Butterworths) Lexis Nexis, United Kingdom (LRC).

SOCU in “exploiting” the typographical error has expressed the view that the Commonwealth Law Reports are source of decisions emanating from Australia, according to Nandlall. “I have never seen law books from Austrailia….at no point during the court proceedings have law books from Australia been mentioned. From the beginning it has been clear that the law books in question are the Lexis Nexis publications, despite the typographical error,” he said.

The search warrant, issued by McLennan, had been granted to Special Superintendent of Police Brian Vieira of SOCU. The police confirmed on Tuesday (July 4, 2017) that the planned searches were abandoned after Nandlall became aware that the search warrant was issued.

SOCU’s actions related to the widely commented on issue of law books, which – as Nandlall and Former President, Donald Ramotar have explained – were paid for by the State as a condition of his service as Attorney General.

Nandlall has already been charged in the matter and released on his own recognizance.

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