Published Jun 23, 2017 at 12:09 pm
(Updated Jun 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm)
The Supreme Court has quashed the arrest of physician Mahesh Reddy, ruling that the summary arrest by the Bermuda Police Service was unlawful.
In a hearing today, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley made a further declaration that the subsequent search of Dr Reddys home was unlawful, ordered that any items seized be returned to him.
It is quite obvious based on the evidence before the court that the investigating officers did not evaluate the appropriateness of exercising the power of arrest in the way it was exercised as against other, less intrusive options, he wrote in the judgment. This was a fatal failure to consider crucially relevant matters.
He also wrote that the arrest was unlawful because, without any coherent explanation why the intrusive approach was adopted over obvious and apparently viable options, the decision to arrest was unreasonable or irrational.
The court also made a ruling in favour of the Attorney-General, finding that the statute used to arrest Dr Reddy was not unconstitutional.
The matter is expected to return to the courts, with Mr Justice Kawaley adjourning an application on damages in the case to a later date, along with a discussion of costs.
And Mark Diel, representing the BPS, told the court that an application to stay the decision pending an appeal could be forthcoming.
In a statement released after the decision was handed down, Dr Reddy said: Todays judgment has struck a blow against the excessive use of power by the authorities for every resident of Bermuda.
He added that the judgment was the right decision in any country that values its people and their constitutionally-protected liberties above a governments abuse of its power.
Dr Reddy, chief medical officer at Bermuda Healthcare Services, was arrested on May 9, 2016, in connection with an investigation into allegations that he ordered unnecessary scans on patients.
However, he said the arrest and search were an attempt to intimidate him into giving evidence against former premier Ewart Brown, who owns Bermuda Healthcare Services.
In a closely watched case, counsel Lord Peter Goldsmith, QC called the sting a pre-planned, heavy-handed raid, bent on carrying out the search from its outset.
Dr Reddy, the court heard, had been subjected to pressure by police since an investigation into Bermuda Healthcare Services began in 2012.
Mr Diel however argued that officers suspected Dr Reddy had committed an offence, and had reasonable grounds to perform the arrest.
Dr Reddy filed a lawsuit against police last July, with Dr Brown calling the arrest and search part of a larger and fruitless financial investigation aimed at alleged political corruption.
Two more police raids were carried out on Dr Browns clinics in February, followed by a suit filed by the Bermuda Government in the Boston courts, accusing Lahey Health of colluding with Dr Brown to gain access to local business.
Dr Brown has vowed to fight the allegations with our last cent and to our final breath.
For the judgment and Dr Reddys statement in full, click on the PDFs under Related Media.
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