Opposition MP files lawsuit against Gov’t, GPF for unlawfully searching home, seizure of items and ‘wrongful arrest’

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In what he deems a violation of his Constitutional rights by the police, Opposition Member of Parliament, Christopher Jones, has filed a lawsuit against the State for unlawfully searching his home, seizing air-conditioning units, barber chairs and other equipment.

The legal proceedings were filed on August 31, 2020.

He is requesting that the High Court grant an Order for the items to be returned to him.

The lawsuit was filed by Jones’ attorneys Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels and Kezia Williams against the Acting Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum, Inspector Rodwell Sarrabo, Assistant Superintendent of Police Chibanauth Singh; Corporal Singh and the Attorney General,Anil Nandlall.

In the legal document, Jones is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 for 16 barber chairs and two (2) air-conditioning units worth $4.8 million.

The APNU+AFC MP, who also held the post of Director of Sports under the previous Government, is seeking in excess of $100,000 for trespass to his home at 609 Conciliation Drive, Tucville, Georgetown, along with another $100,000 for his arrest on August 21, this year, which he opines was ‘wrongful.’

According to Jones’ statement of claim, on August 20, 2020 at or about 18:30h during a power outage, the police who were armed, cordoned off his premises and demanded entry without informing him of any lawful reason for permitting them to do so and without a warrant.

Jones stated that he requested production of a search warrant which the police failed to provide and thus resulted in him denying them access to his premises.

Jones, with the aid of his lawyers, made an application to the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature for and was granted an interim conservatory Order dated and entered on August 20, 2020 restraining the police from entering and searching his premises.

However, according to Jones, although the order was in effect, on August 21 around 00:30h, the ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) trespassed on his premises by jumping across his fence and wrongfully seized his barber chairs and air-conditioning units.

The former Sports Director claimed that the police wrongfully restrained, arrested and detained him.

Jones further stated that the cops then transported him to various police stations and thereafter wrongfully restrained and imprisoned him in a cell at the Diamond Police Station.

He is also seeking to be awarded for exemplary damages since the execution of the search, entry and arrest were violent, aggressive, arbitrary, unconstitutional and devised to invoke, and did invoke fear into him and his family.

In addition to this, Jones’ lawyers are contending that the armed police officers and the cordoning off of Jones’ home were “unjustified and disproportionate” to the offence he is alleged to have committed.

The attorneys argued that the actions of the armed police ranks caused humiliation of Jones, who is a public figure.

Finally, Jones is requesting the that the High Court declare that his Constitutional rights were breached and is also asking for the interest on all damages awarded; costs and any such further or other orders the court sees fit in the circumstances.

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