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May 18, 2016

2 Men Walk Free from Major Heroin Charge

Herbert Panton

Two men were accused last December with the possession of twelve kilos of heroin, but even though tests from the National Forensic Laboratory showed that the substance was not the drug, charges were not dropped. Today, Herbert Panton, Attorney for Richard McDonald made a submission before the court asking Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser to dismiss the case against McDonald and Giovanni Requeña. The Senior Magistrate agreed and the men walked free.  Even though there was a good ending, McDonald says that his name was tarnished, his business ruined and he is prepared to sue the police department.   McDonald says he was forced into financial difficulties and his daughters who were attending the University of Belize had to be pulled out due to the hard ships.

 

Herbert Panton, Attorney for Richard McDonald

“The undercover police officer tested—you know there are these portable testing things—tested the substance and instead of the substance turning green, which would have indicated heroin, it turned brown. So that from December of last year, the police knew that what they had in their possession as twelve kilos of brown sand and they knew that from December of last year. But they dragged this matter on, my client has lost tremendous business as a tour operator; nobody in the industry wants to deal with him. In any event, we proceeded, disclosure was ordered three months ago and the trial was set for today’s date. Today, the police still could not produce a certificate from the Forensic Services indicating that what was inside those twelve packages was in fact heroin and given that reality, the magistrate upheld our application and the matter was thrown out.”

 

Reporter

“Earlier you had indicated intentions of suing the police department for destroying the business of your client. Is that still the intent?”

 

Herbert Panton

“Well I will sit down with my client and wait for his instructions, but the reality is for the last seven, eight, nine months, he has been persona non-grata in the industry. All his connections in San Pedro he has lost; all his connections in Caye Caulker he has lost. The B.T.B. sat on his tour operator license for three, four months all because before the police had any factual evidence in hand, they proceeded to plaster this man’s name in the media. And so there is a cost, there is a consequence for that and unfortunately it won’t be borne by them; it is the government of Belize that is going to have to pay him.”

 

Richard McDonald

Reporter

“Now Mister McDonald, you have been disgraced through the courts and your reputation has been tarnished by this incident. Talk to us about the level of business that has been lost; I can imagine it is a substantial amount.”

 

Richard McDonald, Freed of Drug Charges

“Well there is no sum as to my character and the business that I provided was something more than professionalism. It was something like VIP all the way so we had key resorts that we did business with. Unfortunately when this happened, the resorts have a name that they have to keep as well so there is no hard feelings towards them, because it is not their fault; it is the fault of the Police Department. So like my lawyers said, we are going to sit down and figure out just exactly how much we’ve lost and how much the government will have to face. But today I am really happy because just like how the media could have put me as a bad guy, today they see that I am not the bad guy that police wanted me to be. So now I am happy and I’m vindicated.”

 

On December thirty-first, 2015 police escorted the two men to the Belize City Magistrate’s Court where they were jointly charged with two counts each of supplying a controlled drug and possession of a controlled drug with intent to supply. Both men are now vindicated. 

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1 Response for “2 Men Walk Free from Major Heroin Charge”

  1. Hatari says:

    And once again the Police Department screws it all up. Can’t they do anything properly? What a waste of tax dollars.

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