The Chairman of the ongoing prison unrest Commission of Inquiry, (retired) Justice James Patterson on Tuesday found himself engaged in a heated exchange with Counsel representing the interest of the Guyana Prison Service, Selwyn Pieters.
The start of Tuesday’s hearing was delayed for several minutes as Justice Patterson upbraided Pieters for showing video evidence of the March 3 unrest to the media without first making it available to the Commission.
The Chairman threatened to censure Pieters who in turn threatened to resign even as he defended his actions.
Referencing a News Source report, Mr. Patterson said the it was most “disquieting” to learn that the video was shown to the public before it was first handed over to the Commission.
The video showed an inmate being subdued by ranks from the task force inside the prison yard.
But the Chairman claimed that while video evidence was handed over to the Commission, that piece of video was not included.
Patterson said no such video of Mr Collison’s “take down” was with the Commission.
But Pieters claimed that he was unaware that the video was not handed over to the Commission. He said he had given an Officer instructions to hand over a copy.
But the Chairman insisted that it was wrong to have shown the video to the media without first showing it to the Commission.
“You are missing the point, the point is that it was divulged without it being in the possession of the Commission and it is wrong… you shouldn’t do it,” the Chairman said.
He then added, “that calls for censure.” At this point Pieters accepted the admonishment of the Chairman and apologized.
He insisted that outside of Commission he has a right to do what is necessary to ensure the defense of his clients. “I expected that the Commission had the video … I didn’t have knowledge of what was collected,” he said.
Chairman Patterson then indicated that he chose to believe him. “You have to believe me,” the Attorney responded before being greeted with a “no I don’t have to,” from the Chairman.
News Source saw a copy of the video of the prison unrest and reported on it long before Mr. Pieters became involved in the Commission of Inquiry and long before he arrived in Guyana.
The Attorney never showed any video related to the Prison Unrest to News Source.
News Source was able to view a video recording of the prison unrest that appeared to have been captured by a prison officer.