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Feb 4, 2016

Byron James Awaits Decision in Murder Trial

Oscar Salgado

Earlier this week, Daniel Anderson was acquitted of the murder of Joyce Mitchell in a trial by judge without jury. Today, a second murder trial by judge alone concluded before Supreme Court Judge, Troadio Gonzalez; but Byron James of Belize City is still to learn his fate.  James was the suspect in the murder of Frank Vasquez which occurred on May ninth, 2012. Vasquez was shot multiples times to the head, shoulder, back and mid-section on Neal’s Pen Road, Belize City and died within days.   Prosecutor in the case, Kileru Awich called five witnesses to the stand including two relatives of Vasquez: his mother, Olivia Brown and his sister, Sherlyn Fitzgibbon. James’ attorney, Oscar Selgado, submitted that there was no identification parade conducted by the police and that Fitzgibbon had seen the accused from a distance which could not clearly determine his identity.  

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Byron James

“The defence contested the evidence from the crown on three points of law…the first being that there was no identification parade held and this practice is undesirable as was expressed by the Privy Council in the case of Aurelio Pook and the Queen and Leslie Pipersburgh and Patrick Rabateau against the Queen.  Also that the quality of identification made by the primary witness, Sherlyn Fitzgibbon, was poor and unsatisfactory because one, it was made at 10:30 p.m. on the night under what was poor lighting condition. Secondly, the main witness testified that she saw only half of the face of the person she alleged to have been Byron James. She also said under cross examination that she had never spoken to Byron James before; that she was not a friend of Byron James, but had merely seen Byron James on various occasions in the area of Neal Pen Road. Thirdly, that the same witness testified that at the time when she saw the incident, she ran out to the area and saw her brother, Frank Vasquez, laying down on the ground beside a car and she spoke to Frank Vasquez and he said something similar to these words, “Dah Pretty Bwai Fly shot me; the same Pretty Bwai Fly off Faber’s Road.” Fitzgibbon later said that the deceased went on to say—not to her, but to one of her cousins who was there—dah Byron James shot me.”

 

Judge Gonzalez has reserved his ruling for next week. Tonight James remains on remand at the Belize Central Prison as he awaits a verdict in the trial by judge without jury.

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