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Dissatisfied with the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to discontinue the private criminal charge against Attorney-at-Law Nirvan Singh for allegedly inciting racial hostility, the victim, Shawnette Bollers, a former police constable, intends to challenge that decision right up to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
“The DPP’s power is neither divine nor absolute. It is circumscribed by the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court and its final appellate Court, the CCJ. It is circumscribed by my client’s God ultimately. I close with my client’s instructions – ‘let this go all the way to the CCJ,’” Bollers’ Attorney, Eusi Anderson, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Singh was initially charged and placed on $100,000 bail when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court in April.
However, when the matter was called on Wednesday (May 18), the Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs read a letter addressed to the Chief Magistrate, in which the DPP exercised powers conferred on her to discontinue to the charge against Singh. Article 187 (1) confers the DPP with this power.
Singh was accused of inciting racial hostility by calling Bollers a “black money” and “black people have no purpose in life.” According to Anderson, the DPP offered no reason for the withdrawal.
“The DPP’s letter is absolutely silent on the reasons for the exercise of her power to discontinue. The DPP’s letter is also silent on the status of the police file which is allegedly before her for advice,” the Attorney said.
It was noted that Wednesday’s hearing was intended to disclose statements. Bollers, through her attorney, had indicated to inform the Court that she had a number of international experts on race relations, who would be in a position help the Court understand why the terms “black money” and “money” ought not to be used to people of African descent.
Further, Anderson pointed out that the letter to the Court was dated April 27, 2022 – close to one month ago.
“Shawnetter Bollers did not get this letter. Her Attorney Eusi Anderson did not obtain a copy of this letter. The letter is dated 27th April, 2022. There was almost a month in which to provide copies of same to both Ms Bollers and her Attorney, even as a courtesy,” Anderson said.
It was pointed out that Wednesday marked 58 days since the incident and no charge has been laid by the police – not for assault, not for the racist language.
“…it has been 58 days since the incident and no confrontation has been held with Nirvan Singh and Shawnette Bollers, it has been 56 days since Ms. Bollers made her report and no action was taken by any authority to engage Ms. Bollers in confrontation with Mr. Nirvan Singh. It has been 25 days since Stabroek News reported on 23rd April, 2022 that the DPP’s Chambers was looking to the file having received it for advice,” Anderson further pointed out.
He said his client is left to wonder what did the DPP advised on or perused if the Guyana Police Force never investigated the incident as per normal. Anderson added that key questions to be answered.
The Attorney also reminded that the DPP is the chief lawyer for victims in Guyana, and therefore ought to act in the best interest of victims.
“Is Shawnette Bollers not alleging victimhood, is she not Guyanese, doesn’t her tax dollars qualify her for the dignity and respect of commentary on the status of the file the DPP received on or around 23rd April, 2022,” he questioned.
Anderson is therefore calling on the DPP to make public all documents she considered in the exercise of her discretion to discontinue the case. “Failure to do so on or before Monday 23rd May, 2022 will result in legal proceedings,” he warned.