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Aug 8, 2005

Jailed for assault, man blames Ombudsboy

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Almost every day we refer citizens disgruntled at the police or government officials to the Ombudsman’s office for mediation. But who do you turn to when you have a complaint against the Ombudsman or in this case, his deputy? That’s the predicament faced tonight by thirty-five year old Jorge Estrada, a resident of Pelican Street in Belize City. This morning, Estrada visited our studios to report an incident that took place last Thursday. He says that when he arrived home that day, Deputy Ombudsman Lionel Castillo’s car was blocking his entrance. Estrada claims that he yelled three times for Castillo to move the vehicle. When there was no response, Estrada admits he picked up a baseball bat.

Jorge Estrada,
“I told him to move his car and he told me he was not going to move it. So I told him if you don’t move it, I’ll move it for you. So I bruk one of his glass from his car and then he haul his firearm and fired a shot after me, which in I move on and I bruk another glass from him, and that was the problem that we have.”

Janelle Chanona
“And you are saying that because of Mr. Castillo’s job you feel that you have been victimized?”

Jorge Estrada
“Yes, victimized.”

Janelle Chanona
“How so?”

Jorge Estrada
“Well because the arresting officer arrest me on Thursday about eight o’clock, eight-thirty and I was kept there until today, and I think they could have charged me from Friday, so I can go to the court. They keep me four days. Today make it five days that I appear in court so I could make bail.”

“I would want at least an apology about it, because then I think I was violated, my rights were violated and I didn’t have the time to file any report against him why he used his licensed firearm to fire a shot at me.”

This afternoon, News Five contacted Ombudsman Paul Rodriguez for reaction and he categorically denies any involvement in Estrada’s period of detention, having determined the case to be strictly a police matter. According to Rodriguez, Castillo has denied drawing his weapon and has the testimony of several neighbours in the area to support his claim. Jorge Estrada was charged with three offences including use of threatening words against Castillo and his young child, aggravated assault, and damage to property. Estrada is the stepfather of the mother of Castillo’s child.

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