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Jan 19, 2016

Calvin Cumberbatch Arraigned for New Year’s Weekend Traffic Fatalities

Calvin Cumberbath

Well-known Belize City money lender Pamela Bennett and Burrell Boom resident Alfredo Navarette perished in a horrible traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway on January second. Bennett and her husband Calvin Cumberbath were heading out of the city, while Navarette was heading into the city when the fatal collision occurred. Today, Cumberbath who is believed to have been behind the steering wheel and was seriously injured was taken to court; he faces four charges. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Thirty-five-year-old Calvin Cumberbatch, his right arm fastened in several places by a metal brace, alighted from his attorney’s vehicle in front of the Supreme Court Building shortly after two p.m. today.  Visibly in pain from injuries sustained during a fatal road traffic accident on January second, he appeared before Magistrate Carlon Mendoza this afternoon where he was arraigned on a slew of charges stemming from a deadly collision which claimed two lives, including that of his wife Pamela Bennett.  Attorney Audrey Matura-Shepherd spoke on his behalf following the indictment.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Calvin Cumberbatch

“We were shocked to hear that he would be brought to court so quick.  First of all, yesterday we learned from the news that he was charged yesterday.  That is not true.  I’ve been in touch with Corporal Shalom who is the lead investigator in this matter.  He knew that my client wasn’t in a good condition, Mr. Cumberbatch is still ill and will go back for another surgery so we were shocked.  We got in touch with the corporal which he himself didn’t know about it but we had an understanding that as soon as he got better we would take him into the police station.”

 

While that may have been the intention, Rural Eastern Division Commander, Senior Superintendent Edward Broaster, in a press conference on Monday, told the media that charges were expected to be brought against Cumberbatch later that same day.

 

Edward Broaster

Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster, Commander, Rural Eastern Division [File: January 18th, 2016]

“As it pertains to the fatal on New Year’s Day we are expecting Mr. Cumberbatch to come in today to Ladyville Police Station where he’ll be charged for those fatalities.”

 

Reporter

“He will be charged for…”

 

Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster

“…those fatalities.”

 

Those imputations, a total of six, were read to him this afternoon.  Two counts for negligently causing the deaths of Pamela Bennett and Alfredo Navarette and four others related to the incident.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“He went through the arraignment and was granted bail and there’s nothing much, we just have the new court date for April eighteenth at which time, under the new rules, he has to be given his disclosure and there should be an early date for trial.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What were the charges that were read to him today?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Manslaughter by negligence, causing death by careless conduct, not keeping on the right hand side of the highway.”

 

It is unclear at this point whether the city council employee is indeed responsible for the crash.  Cumberbatch being the lone survivor of the ordeal, police are proceeding with evidence gathered against him.

 

Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster [File: January 18th, 2016]

“He will be charged based on the evidence and the investigation that we’ve carried out, yes.”

 

Reporter

“Was it ascertained that it was speeding, drinking and under the influence?”

 

Sr. Supt. Edward Broaster

“We cannot say whether or not he was speeding.  At this time we have not gotten back the toxicology report regarding his alcoholic, blood concentration.  Nevertheless, the investigation is indicating that he is the person at fault in the accident and caused the accident.”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Not wanting to delay this process anymore, clearly there being a decision made without hearing his side of the story, we took him in to the police station this morning.  He was then charged and brought for arraignment today.  It went so quick but what we had been told by the investigator which I know is the normal process is that that file would have been taken to the D.P.P.  The police themselves know that they don’t have any witnesses and so but when the disclosure comes we’ll see what they have.  You usually take those files to the D.P.P., in some instances like this where you still don’t have everything you would take it to a coroner’s inquest.  So to learn about that on the news was shocking but in Belize you never know what could happen.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Have the police shared anything with you as the attorney with regards to findings of the investigation?  Blood/alcohol level or anything that would be used in this particular prosecution?”

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“Absolutely nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I am telling you that it is a surprise.  Mister Cumberbatch was served with a notice of intended prosecution shortly after the accident, like a day or two after, and under that the police had up to ninety days within which to charge him.  Usually you wait for someone to recover and are able to come to the court.  My client is in court in pain, but maybe it’s best to just get it over with because that was clearly the intention of the police to charge him.”

 

It’s a rough patch for Cumberbatch who was critically injured during a deadly shooting in May 2015 which claimed the life of twenty-seven-year-old Mark Gentle, Pamela Bennett’s son.  Now the money lender’s husband has been charged for her demise. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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