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Sep 17, 2015

Police Investigation into Rape at Palm Center Continues

Howell Gillett

On August thirty-first there was a very disturbing incident at the Palm Centre, which is a residential psychiatric care facility in Belmopan. Because of the nature of the allegation, and the fact that it is under investigation by the Police, officials could provide little information. The police provided News Five with more details, but explained why the case is a first for them, and a very challenging first.


Supt. Howell Gillett, Officer Commanding, Belmopan

“Yes I can confirm that on the thirty-first of August it was, a female patient at the Palm Centre, as you rightly names it, was sexually molested by another patient. The patient is an eighty-four year old female and the male person was twenty-two years of age. The patient was taken to the hospital and indeed it was confirmed that she was molested. We are finding it very challenging because both persons suffer from varied mental abilities. It is a first for us, but we are in the process of seeking legal advice to a way forward with how we proceed with this case. As I said just a while ago, both persons are of varied mental abilities.”


Mike Rudon

“One of the main challenges facing police at this time be perhaps a problem with prosecution because if, as you said, both persons have varied mental abilities; prosecution, if it eventually get to that point, it may be difficult.”


Supt. Howell Gillett

“That is correct. If a person is proven to be mentally disabled, the person cannot be prosecuted within our laws as it stands now in Belize.”


Mike Rudon

“Is there anything else that the police can do at this point? We have been told by the administrator at the Palm Centre that both persons are still there—maybe under special watch—but they are still there. Is there any intervention that the police can take at this point?”


Supt. Howell Gillett

“Well what we have done is that we have involved Human Development and they have been in and out talking to…because both persons are victims—the victim of the rape and the person because of their condition, as you rightly said. So we have that intervention at this time, going in and talking to them to ensure that they are taking their medication to time because I think that might have been one of the contributing factors for this case. so in that area, we are doing it, but there is little in my knowledge that can be done to separating them and we brought up some of the security issues…why this incident really took place and what could have been done to prevent it so that we don’t have any future occurrence like this one.”

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