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The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Friday arrested and held in custody attorney–at-law, Ms. Tamieka Clarke, for allegedly exercising attorney/client privilege by advising her client, who was being questioned by the police, of the right to remain silent. The right to remain silent is protected in the Constitution of Guyana.
The Guyana Bar Association in a statement said the arrest amounts to police seeking to destroy the foundations of Guyana’s democracy; demanded an apology from the police, the release of their colleague, compensation, full investigation into the incident, and disciplinary action, including full termination for person(s) responsible for the arrest and detainment.
The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers also condemned the action of the police, and demanded an investigation into the matter, likewise an apology for their colleague’s arrest. The body pointed out that Article 144(7) of the Constitution of Co-operative Republic of Guyana protects the attorney/client privilege in advising clients of their right to remain silent.
Clarke, who has since been released, was represented by attorney-at-law Mr. Nigel Hughes.
Read full text of the statements below:
Guyana Bar Association
The Rule of Law and the fundamental right to Counsel are stated to be hallmarks of a democratic society. Today the actions of the members of the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) towards our colleague, Ms. Tamieka Clarke, Attorney-at-Law sought to destroy these foundations of our democracy
It has come to our attention that around 10 am today, Friday 28th October, 2022, our colleague, Ms. Tamieka Clarke, Attorney-at-Law and member of the Association was arrested and kept in custody by members of the Guyana Police Force’s Specially Organised Crime Unit.
From all indications, this arrest was prompted by the Attorney-at-Law’s advice to a client to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent and follows a threat made to the Attorney-at-Law earlier this week that she would be arrested if her client does not give a Statement to the Police on a matter they are investigating.
The Bar Association unreservedly and unequivocally condemns the actions of the Guyana Police Force. Such action is disturbing, perverse, unlawful, oppressive and wholly unacceptable.
We call on the Commissioner of Police to:
– forthwith issue an apology to Ms. Tamieka Clarke, Attorney-at-Law;
– compensate Ms. Clarke for her unlawful imprisonment;
– launch a full investigation into the matter at hand with such necessary disciplinary action enforced swiftly including charges being laid against the offending officer(s), there being no lawful grounds for the arrest; and
– disciplinary action including termination of any officer(s) who were aware of and allowed this type conduct.
We understand that through the intervention of Counsel, Ms. Clarke has since been released. The Bar Association inclusive of its Criminal Bar Committee do not take this matter lightly and will take all necessary steps to ensure that our members can exercise their professional duties without intimidation and that the Rule of Law is upheld.
Guyana Association of Women Lawyers
Guyana Association of Women Lawyers condemns the arrest of Counsel by Special Organised Crime Unit
The Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL) vehemently condemns the actions taken by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) in arresting Attorney-at-Law, Tamieka Clarke. SOCU by
their actions intimidated Ms. Clarke and prevented her from executing her duties to her client. At no time should an Attorney-at-Law be fearful of executing his/her duties.
An Attorney-at-Law has the legal right and responsibility to offer legal counsel to their client. One such responsibility is to remind the client that he/she cannot be compelled to give evidence in a criminal matter, which is enshrined in Article 144(7) of the Constitution of Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The Attorney-at-Law advising her client that he has a right to remain silent during an interview is not outside of the scope of the law.
We call on the Commissioner of Police to issue an apology and cause an investigation to be promptly conducted into the actions of SOCU.