Georgetown; – With thousands of conviction records, prisoner profiles, sentence particulars, and committal warrants destroyed, many legal minds, and those who are acquainted with the administration of the prison system, are adamant that the State will face a legal quandary or a massive judicial and penal confusion as it relates to the prisoners that are currently in custody.
While a duplicate record from a case file may offer some significant help, many are certain that since prisoners are known to provide false names when arrested and convicted, compounded by the non-existence of a finger print or photographic profile of a tried person on a case jacket, it will become difficult for the State to effectively and fairly determine who was convicted and who was not.
Moreover, there are legal arguments that a committal warrant cannot be recreated or written up for a second time by a magistrate or judge who did not hand down a sentence.
Several legal precedents were highlighted, involving cases where a person’s original conviction record was destroyed.
Outside of that, the laws of Guyana forbid the prison system from incarcerating a person without a warrant or an instrument that was issued by a convicting magistrate or judge, to commit that person to prison.
It is on that basis, many are contending that the State is in a legal quandary, and may be forced to release a large number of prisoners, since the prison is not in possession of a warrant to continue to detain several hundred prisoners, that are currently in their custody.
Efforts to solicit a comment from the Minister of Public Security by this publication have so far proven futile, while a staff at the office of the Chancellor of the Judiciary had told the Guyana Guardian that the publication would have to forward all queries to the Chancellor via a letter.
Of the more than one thousand prisoners that were removed from the Camp Street prison inferno yesterday evening, it is believed that more than five hundred of them are convicts for which the State will face an uphill task to legally keep in prison.
A similar situation can be triggered if the case jackets or warrants for remand prisoners cannot be found at the court registry.