Mere days after the mother of Police Special Branch Officer Kristoff De Nobrega, who is being investigated for shooting death of 23-year-old father of one, Quindon Bacchus moved to the High Court challenging her son’s unlawful detention on close arrest, he has since been placed on ‘open arrest.’
In a Habeas Corpus proceedings filed on her son’s behalf, Marlin De Nobrega, through Attorney-at-Law Kezia Williams, was granted an order compelling the Police Commissioner to immediately bring De Nobrega before the court to decide whether his confinement is lawful.
High Court Judge Sandil Kissoon heard that the Police Special Branch Officer was under close arrest by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) since June 12. The shooting took place on June 10 at Haslington, East Coast Demerara (ECD).
Citing Article 139 (4) of the Constitution, Marlin argued that the deadline for the Police to detain her son for no more than 72 hours had expired.
She noted that Section 10 (8) of the Police (Discipline) Act, Chap 17:0 states that a member of the Force placed under close arrest and charged with an offence against discipline shall not, unless the Commissioner otherwise directs, be detained under close arrest for a period longer than 24 hours.
The mother further advanced that Section 10 (9) of the Police (Discipline) Act stipulates that where it is not practical for a direction to be given by the Commissioner within 24 hours from the time the member of the Force has been placed under arrest, it should not continue for a period exceeding eight days.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall, Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken, and Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, were listed as respondents.
On June 10, the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) reported that Bacchus allegedly opened fire on them.
Later that day, the CCU reported that the 23-year-old father of one was shot after he opened fire on an undercover Policeman to who he was allegedly attempting to sell an unlicensed firearm during a sting operation.
However, the dead’s man family has since dubbed the shooting “purposeful,” claiming that De Nobrega and Bacchus had “past beef”.
Shortly after the shooting, a video surfaced on social media, showing that it was the Police rank who shot at Bacchus.
On Tuesday, a massive protest erupted at Golden Grove, ECD, the community where Bacchus resided and made its way to several villages after a controversial Facebook page posing as a news agency posted that De Nobrega was released from custody.
The GPF has since clarified that the Officer, who was on close arrest, is now on open arrest. In an open arrest, any member of the Force is deprived of all privileges and leave until the case is disposed of, and he shall attend all parades and do duty as required.
Close arrest, on the other hand, in the case of a member of the Force of or above the rank of inspector, he shall be confined to his quarters under guard, and in the case of any other member of the Force below the rank of inspector to some suitable place in the police station premises other than the prisoners’ cell under guard.
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA), which is currently investigating Bacchus’ killing, is expected to submit a report of findings on Monday, President Irfaan Ali announced Tuesday.