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Mar 21, 2017

Court of Appeal Orders Retrial for 3 Accused of Murder

In October 2015, Judge Troadio “John” Gonzalez ruled that three Belize City men accused of the 2012 shooting murder of B.D.F. Soldier James Noralez had no case to answer.  The trio Tyrone Meighan, Brandon Baptist and Orel Leslie Junior were freed after Judge Gonzalez concluded that the evidence the prosecution relied on was circumstantial evidence and was from an accused suspect alleged to have been a part of the murder. But, today, the Court of Appeals heard submissions made by the crown represented by Sheneiza Smith of the D.P.P.’s office asking to bring back the murder charge against the men.  Crown Counsel Smith submitted that the learned trial judge erred in law by concluding that the evidence against the men was insufficient.  Noralez was lured to his death after being shot execution style multiple times to the body and left to die at the intersection of the George Price Highway and Faber’s Road Extension, Belize City. Attorneys for the men made submissions this afternoon. But the Court of Appeal concluded late this evening that the men be retried for murder. The three were taken to prison. We spoke with Bryan Neal, the attorney for Orel Leslie.

 

Bryan Neal

Bryan Neal, Attorney for Orel Leslie

“Well, they were acquitted originally so we were hoping that the acquittal holds through. The judges have ruled and so now we are going to review our options to apply for bail, but at this time we really have to review and wait for the reasons from the judges. So that is the next move for us to receive reasons and to consider applying for bail.”

 

Reporter

“What are some of the areas you saw them questioning the most about the ruling from the Supreme Court – the judgment?”

 

Bryan Neal

“The issue was really that the judge didn’t give his reasons why he acquitted the accused in terms of the no-case submission. So that was the main issue with it.”

 

Reporter

“Is there any clear indication…we know that normally bail isn’t allowed or bail isn’t granted for persons who are charged with murder. In this instance, is it a possible cause that these men may get bail?”

 

Bryan Neal

“Well it is a constitutional right to be freed and to be entitled to bail.”

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