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Feb 3, 2015

Mendez’s Case Could Be Heard in Orange Walk Supreme Court

As we said, six charges have been laid on Doctor Mendez. Four counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature upon a minor sometime between 2006 and 2007, in November 2009 and in September of 2010 and in 2011. In respect of the other minor, the charges are for common assault sometime between 2005 and 2006 and in May 2009…all in Orange Walk Town. Because of the time that has lapsed, the charges were brought at the Magistrate’s Court, but Mendez’s attorney says that the doctor could be tried at the Supreme Court level.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now, Mister Bennett, there seems to be a move to have the actual trial be held in the Supreme Court. Can you explain to us why this is so and what process this entails?”

 

Marco Tulio Mendez

Andrew Bennett, Attorney for Marco Tulio Mendez

“Yes, the Crown has elected to treat this matter as an indictable matter. If you have had a chance to read the charge, the dates go all the way back to 2005. Had it been that they would have elected to treat this as a summary matter, it would have been affected by the statute of limitation; which means that they had to bring the charge within six months of the date of the offence. So, that is a very critical piece of the entire hearing.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“In terms of Statutes of Limitations, if I may, as it concerns rape and other crimes of similar nature. There is certain time frame within certain allegations can be made and proven. This is relatively lesser, if I may, when compared to carnal knowledge and rape. I asked you earlier, with regards to the burden of proof in this case, isn’t there also a statute of limitation that would apply seeing that is an allegation that needs to be proven by the crown?”

 

Andrew Bennett

Andrew Bennett

“Well, to address, there are two things that you raised just now; burden of proof and statute of limitations. As it relates to the charge, the D.P.P. or the Crown has elected to treat this matter as an indictable matter it doesn’t have any limitation. As it relates to the burden of proof that is entirely on the crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt throughout the entire breadth of the case that he is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What bearing, if any, would this particular matter have on Dr. Mendez’s professional career as a pediatrician?”

 

Andrew Bennett

“Well, ultimately, as it is natural with any action or allegation made in the court, there is ultimately, whether you are innocent or guilty, there will be some stigma. So, I am pretty sure that it will be a very difficult time for Dr Tulio Mendez. But, he will have his day in court and the Crown will have its day in court. That is of relevance as it is now.”

 

On Wednesday, we’ll have more on that interview. While Doctor Mendez is the first elected official to be charged criminal and arraigned, two ministers have also been taken to court. Lake I Area Rep., and Minister of State Mark King, was arraigned back in February 2013 for Aggravated Assault, Using Threatening Words and Disorderly Conduct. And more recently, Cayo Northeast Area Rep, the former junior minister of immigration, Elvin Penner, was charged for a string of immigration offenses. 

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