Attorney Basil Williams arrested after visiting client at hospital
July 14, 2002
Attorney-at-law Basil Williams was held by the police yesterday for three hours after he went to render his services to a patient at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).
Attorney-at-law Robert Corbin accompanied Williams to the Brickdam Police Station after Williams was picked up by two policemen at his home.
Contacted after Williams was released yesterday afternoon, Corbin said it was recorded in the book at the station that Williams was arrested, but the charge remained uncertain.
President of the Guyana Bar Association, Nigel Hughes, and fellow lawyers Roysdale Forde and Shaun Allicock went down to the station to give their support.
After some time had elapsed and no charge was laid, Corbin inquired from the police what the position was on the matter. He said he was told that instructions would have to come from higher up, since no senior officer was available. Corbin said he then suggested to the police that they would all leave the station since nothing was being done. But he said the police advised him that they would be charged with aiding and abetting the escape of a prisoner were they to leave.
At around 5:30 pm, Commander of the A Division, Larry George, arrived and a few minutes later, Williams was allowed to leave. He was told that he would be contacted if the police wanted any further information.
Corbin recounted that Williams had earlier gone to the hospital had spoken with his client who was hospitalised. A doctor later discharged the patient and she was leaving the hospital accompanied by two female relatives when a policeman approached them. Williams was leaving the hospital at the same time. Corbin said the policeman, in his statement, said he inquired whether the woman had been discharged and was told yes. The policeman said he told the group that he would have to inform his base which he attempted to contact but did not get through.
Corbin said the woman and her two relatives left in a car and Williams went away separately in his vehicle.
“I repeatedly asked the policeman if that was all that transpired and he said yes. So, clearly there was no transgression on my client’s part,” he stated.
While at home, around 1:00 p.m., Corbin said, Williams observed an Impact vehicle with a senior police officer and ranks had pulled up. When Williams went outside to find out what they were there for he was told they were checking out an incident which occurred at GPHC earlier that day. The policemen eventually went away.
But some time later when Williams was about to leave his home with his family, he noticed two uniformed ranks standing outside his home. He again inquired what they were doing there. The policemen said they were instructed to invite him to the police station.
Williams’ family went back inside the house and he went with the policemen to the station in his car. Williams contacted Corbin along the way and he accompanied him to the station. Corbin described the incident as a serious development. “I don’t believe this arrest is normal. Attorneys who attempt to give assistance to people in need should not be subjected to such harassment. We gave an oath to uphold the laws and Constitution.”