Reacting to the Supreme Court ruling that quashed his arrest and found that the police search of his home was unlawful, Dr Mahesh Reddy has stated that the “judgement has struck a blow against the excessive use of power by the authorities for every resident of Bermuda”.
In a hearing on Friday, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said both the summary arrest by the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and the subsequent search of Dr Reddy’s home was unlawful. He also ordered BPS to return any items seized to the physician.
Justice Kawaley stated in his ruling: “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. This was a fatal failure to consider crucially relevant matters.”
Without any coherent explanation as to why the intrusive approach was adopted over obvious and apparently viable options, Justice Kawaley ruled that the arrest was unlawful and that the conduct of the police was “unreasonable or irrational”.
In a statement released after the ruling, Dr Reddy said: “The Chief Justice of Bermuda held that my arrest was ‘an excessively intrusive deployment of executive power’.
“He held that the decision of the police to send a team of officers to my house at 7am on a weekday morning under the pretext of searching my home and then arresting me was ‘unreasonable and/or irrational’.
“The Chief Justice has ordered that my arrest be quashed, that the search of my home was unlawful, that everything seized from me be returned and that compensation should be awarded.”
“With respect, that is the right decision in any country that values its people and their constitutionally-protected liberties above a government’s abuse of its power,” he said.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank God during this most trying of times; to thank my professional body for their unmitigated commitment; to thank all the staff at the BHCS for their unquestioning loyalty; to thank my family for their unwavering belief, but most of all to thank the hundreds of patients that have remained unflinching in their support.
Dr Reddy’s lawyers will discuss the Supreme Court ruling further at a news conference on Monday.
Justice Kawaley also ruled in favour of the Attorney General, and found that the statute used to arrest Dr Reddy was not unconstitutional, which means the matter is expected to be returned to the courts. The Chief Justice adjourned the application on damages to a later date, including the issue of costs.
Dr Reddy, who is the Chief Medical Officer at Bermuda Healthcare Services, was arrested on May 9, 2016 in connection with an investigation into allegations that he ordered unnecessary diagnostic scans on patients.
The police investigation into BHCS began in 2012 and continues. Since Dr Reddy’s arrest last year, police conducted two more raids on former Premier Dr Ewart Brown’s clinics in February.
A lawsuit has also been filed by the Bermuda Government in Boston that accused Lahey Health of colluding with Dr Brown to gain access to local business, which Dr Brown has vowed to fight to the end.