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Mar 11, 2015

Private Prosecutor Named in Murder Trial

Sylvio Espinoza

There is a significant development in the upcoming trial in respect of the murder of former educator and political scientist, Carlos Espat, who was found dead inside his home back in September of 2010. Four months after his body was found at his apartment at the corner of King and Albert Streets, police arrested and charged twenty-two year old Sylvio Espinoza, a Nicaraguan national, who at the time was living in Belize City. Espinosa has been behind bars since he was arraigned in the lower court on January fifth, 2011. The matter came up today and Espinosa learnt that a private prosecutor has been appointed to prosecute his case. Espinosa, who is represented by attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd, learnt that his trial, which is set to commence on Monday, will be prosecuted by senior crown counsel and well known attorney, Ellis Arnold. The confirmation came this morning from the D.P.P., Cheryl-Lynn Vidal. Vidal was asked if this is the first ever such appointment of a private prosecutor for a murder trial, and she explained that a fiat is required to authorize a private attorney to prosecute in conjunction with her office. Attorneys for News Five point out that in the case when a private attorney is engaged, the D.P.P. or her prosecutor would be joined at the Bar by the private attorney who represents the victim or the victim’s family during the trial of the accused. The private attorney, however, cannot take over the prosecution of criminal matters.  Espat was found dead in his bathroom on September fourth, 2010.  He had been bashed in the chest and head with a blunt object. At the time, police said that there were no signs of forced entry at Espat’s apartment. Carlos was the brother of former Minister of Tourism and Albert Area Representative Mark Espat who now has a diplomatic appointment.

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