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Mar 30, 2015

Herman Miranda Walks on Murder Charge

Herman Miranda & Oscar Selgado

This morning, the trial of Belize City resident Herman Miranda Junior ended in an acquittal after six years on remand. Miranda was accused of the September twenty-ninth, 2009 murder of Norman Gillett, a resident of Vernon Street who was gunned down on the compound of House of Commons, at the corner of Partridge and Vernon Streets. In court, a caution statement that was ruled inadmissible by the judge left the prosecutor Kileru Awich with no other evidence to prove the charge of murder against Miranda Junior. Justice Troadio Gonzalez then instructed the twelve member jury to return a not guilty verdict. As he exited the court, Miranda’s attorney Oscar Selgado told the media that his client had been beaten up and forced to confess to the crime in a caution statement on October second 2009, the day he was charged.

 

Oscar Selgado, Attorney

“The prosecution’s case was that he made an admission to the police on the twenty ninth of September 2009, thereby implicating himself criminally and confessed in the admission to the shooting death of Norman Gillett. The defense held that that confession was obtained by direct use of threat and force against Herman Miranda. The defense put Herman Miranda on the stand in a void aire and he gave sworn evidence to the court whereby he testified before the court that he was indeed beaten by the police and beaten to such an extent that he had to confess and to implicate himself. The crown called several police witnesses but didn’t call the police officer who was directly alleged to have beaten Herman Miranda and the Crown made no attempt to do so. So, in the voice aire the judge ruled that the statements given by Herman Miranda orally on the twenty ninth of September 2009 and in a written confession on October second 2009 were inadmissible because he was satisfied that they were obtained by  virtue of offense and oppression of Mr Miranda. So, that the statements were not given voluntarily. Even though the defense had made several submissions, the judge’s rules were not uphold in that he was not given his caution at any time and that the right to an attorney was not enforced; the judge say that those breaches were not fatal. What was fatal for the prosecution was the prosecution’s omission to have called to rebut the evidence given by Herman Miranda about the police who he named in the court to have beaten him.”

 

Miranda did not live far from the crime scene and according to police, he fit the description of a man seen fleeing the scene. Back then he handed over two guns to police; one which had been stolen from businessman Evan Tench for which he was charged with Handling Stolen Goods, two counts of Kept Unlicensed Firearms and one count of Kept Unlicensed Ammunition. Police back then said that shortly after the shooting they found him with two live rounds of nine millimeter ammunition. Miranda pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail, effective September twenty ninth, 2009. He was later found guilty for the unlicensed gun and sentenced to five years which he served as he waited to be tried for Gillett’s murder. 

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