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Oct 30, 2014

Allison Major Challenges Firearms Act

This morning, in the courtroom of Justice Michelle Arana, attorney Arthur Saldivar and his client Allison Major filed a claim in which they are challenging the Firearms Act.  The suit succeeds the arrest and imprisonment of Major, as well as a family of seven, in April 2012 during which a pair of shotguns were discovered at a property on Peter Seco Street.  While nineteen-year-old Kent Lynch took responsibility for illegal possession of the weapons, Major was still dragged to court and remanded to the Belize Central Prison despite not residing at the address.  He subsequently was offered and met bail and the charge was dropped in November of last year.  Major, however, is suing for damages, claiming that his constitutional rights were trampled upon when the arresting officer failed to exercise discretion under the existing act.  Following their appearance in court today both men laid out the merits of the case to the media.

 

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Allison Major

Anthony Sylvestre

“We’ve brought this claim to the Supreme Court claiming damages, exemplary and aggravated damages for various breaches of Mr. Major’s constitutional rights in particular his right not to be charged unless there is reasonable suspicion.  As the public is well aware the provisions of the firearms act allows a person to be charged when applied, even if that person in real sense may not necessarily had had any knowledge of the particular ammunition or firearm and therefore there may not have been any reasonable basis for that person to be charged.  In the case of Mr. Major he wasn’t a resident, he did not live at the residence.  He was not even present and that notwithstanding, he was still sought after a group of persons who were present were charged, taken to court, one pleaded guilty and so in all the circumstances we see how the application of the firearms act causes grave injustice to a citizen and indeed any individual who actually is in the country of Belize.  And today’s first hearing was just the court just setting certain dates and we will return to court on November twenty-seventh.”

 

Reporter

“So in effect then you are trying to ask the court to strike down provisions of the firearms act that may be inconsistent with the constitutional rights of Mr. Major.”

 

Anthony Sylvestre

“Yes, well that is exactly the case.  We are applying to the court for certain declarations that the provisions of the firearms act is unconstitutional, in particular that it contravenes a citizen’s right not to be charged unless there is reasonable suspicion as we have elaborated on previously.”

 

Allison Major

Allison Major, Challenging Firearm Act

“Well, I wasn’t at the house, I didn’t live at the house. I have a relationship with the woman, yes I do and I just go back and front. At the time of the search, I wasn’t there and I see the complaint on the TV so I went to the police station and I asked them what happened and they said I am under arrest. From then to the courthouse to the prison and I spend my time there until I get a Supreme Court bail.”

 

Reporter

“Did the police at any time try to discuss with you how they would tie you to this weapon?”

 

Allison Major

“They just bring me straight from the station to the courthouse.”

 

The matter is set to be heard on November twenty-seventh.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Allison Major Challenges Firearms Act”

  1. CEO says:

    Laws with no sense and police with poor training.

    The PD always do nothing until there is a problem and then when there is a problem the get excessive.

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