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Jun 27, 2014

Deon Bruce granted stay of execution from being extradited

Deon Bruce

The extradition appeal of Deon Bruce was also before the Court of Appeal. Back in January of this year, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith granted an extradition request on twenty-eight Bruce who is wanted in Chicago, USA on a long list of charges including murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm.  The U.S. authorities want him for the shooting death of Aaron Carter, at whom Bruce allegedly fired and killed in July 2010. His attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, went to the Supreme Court where the magistrate’s decision was upheld. She then applied to the Court of Appeal seeking a stay of the extradition. Today, Bruce got a temporary reprieve.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Deon Bruce

“The prosecution in this case, the office of the Attorney General or Solicitor General did not object to the application we made. Basically, what that application means is that while we are taking the application to the Supreme Court on Deon’s behalf, we are asking that there be a stay so that the order of the magistrate and the decision of the Foreign Minister to extradite him be stayed until there is the appeal. Otherwise we will just be going through an academic exercise at the Court of Appeal. So that’s the gist of it.”

 

Reporter

“That stay was granted?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Yes, that stay was granted, now we have to wait to see when we will have the matter heard on appeal. When you apply for a stay it’s important because if you don’t do that the process could have been continued, he could have been extradited and when you go to the Court of Appeal you are just going through an exercise arguing which there is no need for. The thing is now it does take some time to get on the Court of Appeal listing. I don’t know how quick we will get this one but I hope by the need of the year it will be in the October session or if not it will be until next year’s first session. But I know that the Court of Appeal has a lot of matters so we will be hoping that ours is dealt with expeditiously.”

 

Reporter

“Could you give us, or just break it down for us because a lot of people myself included are confused when it comes to extraditions. We know there are people here for years going from one court to another. What stage is your client at and what legal recourses does he have after this?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Well I would say he is alike at the second going on to the third stage. So the matter was going on at the Magistrate court, they ruled against him, so we had appealed, well we don’t really appeal we applied for a Habious Corpus and we applied for judicial review, we didn’t win that so now we are appealing the decision of that judge. In the process we did the stay, however, after the decision of the Supreme Court, we had the option to appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice. And even after the Caribbean Court of Justice makes a decision we also have the final system which would be to go to the Foreign Minister, to ask the Foreign Minister to use his discretion and not allow the extradition, but you have to go through all that process before you reach the Foreign Minister. And what is happening that now the people are being extradited. In the past the Solicitor General’s office would just go lodge this at the court, the magistrate gives an order and the person is picked up and left. But now people are getting their attorneys and we are going through the full process with the hope that as you use the entire process.  When you reach the final phase, you are able to then, get the Minister, the Foreign Minister, who is the ultimate person who has to sign the order….not the court…the minister. Then you get to appeal to that person to say please consider my situation don’t extradite me.”

 

Some of that might be very familiar to Belizeans. Recently after years in the court system Rhett Fuller order for extradition was set aside by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington.

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