Standing Order limits Opposition motion on Henry cousins’ murder

-motion cannot proceed as matter is in court

The Standing Orders of the National Assembly have prevented a motion brought by Opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Mrs. Geeta Chandan-Edmund, condemning the killings of Joel and Isaiah Henry and Haresh Singh from going through.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Manzoor Nadir

The Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Manzoor Nadir today said since the motion has been overtaken by developments and to entertain it as this time, would put the Assembly in contravention with its own Standing Orders.

“We are aware that three persons have been charged in respect to the murder of these young men and have been placed on remand ahead of intended preliminary inquiry. The police have stated publicly that they are in search of additional suspects,” the Speaker.

As such, entertaining the motion would jeopardise the ability of the justice system to conduct fair trials of persons before the court.

The Speaker also drew attention to motions prohibited by Standing Orders.

Standing Order 33(1) states “on a motion made and when necessary seconded, the Speaker shall propose the question to the Assembly and after debate, he shall then put the motion for a decision by the Assembly.”

He said while the Standing Order allows members of the National Assembly a right to move motions, it is “not absolute.”

“In these circumstances, it is limited by Standing Order 26(g) which states “in order that a motion is admissible, it shall satisfy the following conditions. It shall not relate to any matter which is under adjudication by a Court of Law.”

Given that persons have been charged for the murders and are now before the court, Mr. Nadir said the motion could not be heard.

He further explained: “The legal effect of that motion is not capable of being allowed at this time. This Standing Order gives effect to the sub judice principle, which relates that public statements must not be made regarding a pending case for fear of their impact on public opinion.”

He said the National Assembly is one of three co-equal branches of Government and is therefore, one of the most powerful state entities. It is not surprising that the Standing Order also limits other rights on the basis of the sub judice principle.

Earlier this month, Mr. Vinod Gopaul, Mr. Anil Sanchara and Mr. Akash Singh were arraigned for the brutal murders of Henry cousins. The cousins were found murdered in Cotton Tree Village, West Coast Berbice on September 6, 2020. A few days later, Haresh Singh’s body was found at a Number Two Village backdam.

The killings received widespread condemnation in and out of Guyana.

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