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May 12, 2017

John DeShaies, Accused of Theft and Suspect in Double Murder, Out On Bail

John DeShaies

Fifty-four-year-old John Deshaies was granted bail this morning, but as soon as he met bail, he was rearrested and tonight remains in police custody.  The Canadian national was charged a week ago for the theft of fifty-seven thousand dollars of electronic equipment from the Placencia casino in the south. But Deshaies is also the suspect in the double murder of his landlady Francesca Matus and her U.S. boyfriend, Drew Thomas DeVoursney.  He has not been charged for those homicides, but all eyes have been on Deshaies in the local and international media. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Just before ten a.m. today, Canadian national John Deshaies was paraded down the steps of the Supreme Court in Belize City. It’s his second appearance before a judge in exactly one week; this time, however, the outcome was positive for him because, after spending a week in lockdown, he would no longer be on the inside of a jail cell.  Justice Antoinette Moore granted the fifty-four-year-old bail of twenty thousand dollars, plus two ten-thousand-dollar sureties, which he was able to meet around one o’clock this afternoon. At the bail hearing today, attorneys Kevin Arthurs and Dickie Bradley appeared on behalf of the accused.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley, Attorney for John Deshaies

“It was not as difficult as Mister Arthurs and myself had been up last night preparing for the submissions because the word was that in fact the government attorneys would be asking for Mister Deshaies to be further remanded in relation to another matter. Kevin is of the considered view and has further information to support that that the charge levied against Mister John Deshaies in relation to some bogus theft in Placencia; that will completely fall apart. But that there was no need for his freedom to have been taken away.”

 

Prosecutor Jacqueline Willoughby did not object to bail, which came with conditions. Deshaies must check in with the Corozal Police Station every Friday; he must also surrender his Canadian passport and not travel outside of Belize. Deshaies was also warned not to interfere with any witnesses or complainants. But according to Attorney Bradley, his client is not guilty of any crime.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“There was no objection to him applying for bail on a matter of a theft which let me say this for the records; he was merely on behalf of the owner of those things, keeping a watchful eye to see that they were secured. He didn’t steal any of those items and he did not criminally handled any items that were stolen and that matter will be cleared up and nothing will come out of that matter.”

 

The bail hearing was with respect to the charges of Theft and Handling Stolen Goods for the over fifty-seven thousand dollars worth of electronic items stolen from the Placencia Casino. But it is no secret that Deshaies is a person of interest in the double murders of Canadian American couple, fifty-two-year-old Francesca Matus and her thirty-six-year-old boyfriend, Drew Thomas DeVoursney.

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“Mister Deshaies name has been all over the world. The American and Canadian media have been in constant touch with Kevin Arthurs and Steven Perera in relation to this matter; I see calls right now on my phone because for some reason they have put out his name that he is a suspect in the double murder of two foreigners—one American, one Canadian. Mister Deshaies told me that he was extensively interviewed by officers claiming to be members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the United States, who asked and he cooperated and gave a blood sample and other information. He completed cooperated with the F.B.I. officers.”

 

But were Deshaies rights violated? Last Friday, the construction contractor by profession, was remanded by Independence Magistrate Yolanda Demoya to the Central Prison in Hattieville. But that did not happen and he was in fact taken to the Corozal Police Station and was only turned over to the Kolbe Foundation two days ago, on Wednesday. His attorneys believe that the administrative move went against the orders of the court.

 

Kevin Arthurs

Kevin Arthurs, Attorney for Deshaies

“From my understanding of it, it was an administrative thing internally with the prosecution and the police department. It had nothing to do with Mister Deshaies or any of us. It was something that the Corozal police when they got, I think it was a warrant, when the warrant was finally prepared, it was sometime late.”

 

Richard ‘Dickie’ Bradley

“Mister Deshaies was only taken to the prison on Wednesday of this week because there is a procedure and Kevin will speak with Mister Deshaies and his family on the matter. The situation is also that when a court denies you bail and make a warrant for you to be taken to prison, the police can’t spirit you off and take you to another police station because you are now under the jurisdiction of the court and you are to be taken to Her Majesty’s prison. If the police are investigating any matter and they would like to speak to that person who is in prison on the orders of a court; they would have to get permission. They would have to apply to the court for a removal warrant to move Mister Deshaies and have him all over the country. He was in the Belmopan Police Station being interrogated; he was in the Corozal Police Station being interrogated; his common-law-wife refused entry to go see him; can’t take clothes, can’t take toothpaste…nothing of that matter.”

 

Disclosure in the theft case is November sixth and the preliminary inquiry is scheduled for November twenty-third. Duane Moody for News Five.

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