A judicial review ruling that police acted unlawfully in a doctor’s arrest and search of his house has been upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Mahesh Reddy’s 2017 Supreme Court victory against police after an early morning arrest was supported in a judgment handed down by the court, which dismissed a Bermuda Police Service appeal against an earlier ruling in Dr Reddy’s favour by the Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeal has upheld the Supreme Court decision and ruled that the police acted “unreasonably”.
The judgment, issued last Friday, said “the power to arrest does not arise simply because the police wished to be able to carry out a search”.
Dr Reddy was arrested in May 2016 as part of a long-running police investigation into Ewart Brown, a doctor and former premier with two medical practices, which offer diagnostic imaging scans.
Police raided Dr Reddy’s home at 7am, arrested him and searched his house for two hours.
Dr Brown and Dr Reddy have denied police allegations that they carried out medical fraud by ordering expensive patient scans that were not needed.
Dr Reddy is medical director at Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget, which was raided by police in February 2017 at the same time as a sweep of the Brown-Darrell Clinic in Smith’s.
Officers removed patient records, among other items, which sparked a separate lawsuit by Dr Brown’s patients.
The 2016 raid included the search of the purse of a female friend who was present, along with Dr Reddy’s wallet and a cabinet that held five patient files.
John Briggs, a senior police investigator, said in an affidavit that police believed, based on “protracted investigations”, that Dr Reddy was “involved in administering unnecessary diagnostic tests for financial gain”.
Police maintained the raid was part of “a large-scale fraud and corruption inquiry, which commenced in 2012” and that they were investigating allegations of money laundering.
Dr Reddy took his case before then Chief Justice, Ian Kawaley, who found that the arrest and search, conducted without a search warrant, was unlawful.
Dr Reddy added that police caused him embarrassment by questioning him at the airport in 2014 and 2015.
Dr Reddy was also questioned at New York’s JFK airport in 2016 by the US Department of Homeland Security.
He further accused police in an affidavit of taking away “confidential and sensitive patient information”.
Dr Reddy told police that if they wanted to question him, he would “make himself available at any time of the day or night in any part of the world, but asked the BPS not to harass him at the airport in Bermuda in front of his friends, colleagues and patients”.
Mr Briggs said later there had been “compelling reasons” for the arrest, but Mr Justice Kawaley wrote that Mr Briggs failed to detail those reasons for the court.
Police arrested Dr Reddy under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, but Mr Justice Kawaley ruled they had made a “fatal failure to consider crucially relevant matters”.
Mr Justice Kawaley quashed Dr Reddy’s arrest and bail, declared the search unlawful, and ordered police to return the seized items in his June 2017 ruling.
Police appealed, but Dr Brown launched his own Supreme Court action against the Attorney-General last December and listed his two clinics as complainants.
• To view the appeal judgment in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”
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