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May 25, 2017

Ruling Set in Case of Alleged Perversion of Justice by Firearm Examiner

Orlando Vera

Remember the Belize City Police Department Ballistic Examiner, Orlando Vera? In January 2016, he was charged with the offense of abetment to pervert the course of justice. Allegations are that Vera offered to assist Michael Modiri by tampering with evidence so that the businessman would be freed of firearm charges.  The trial started in the Belmopan Magistrate Court in March and was transferred to Belize City where Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith heard submissions from both sides today.  Vera is represented by Attorney Anthony Sylvester and the crown by the D.P.P. Cheryl-Lynn Vidal.  During the course of the trial, Modiri said that there were two conversations with Vera. On the first occasion, Vera made him an offer to manipulate the firearm so it does not fire or to tamper with the silencer.  In their second conversation, which was recorded, Modiri told the court that when Vera visited his Belmopan house, he told him that he could help him get off the case and that he and the police prosecutor want to assist in the matter. Furthermore, Modiri testified that Vera told him that the firearm is in working condition, but there is a way to stop it from working.  This morning, the D.P.P. spoke for a little under an hour and in her submission, she asked the court to find Vera guilty since it is clear that when he visited Modiri at his home, he offered to commit a crime.  Other evidence revealed was that in the police case against Modiri, Vera had already inspected the gun and found a way to disengage the silencer since the firearm was in working condition.  The D.P.P. also submitted that when Vera offered to Modiri that he could get the charges dropped against him by manipulating the firearm that amounted to an act to pervert the course of justice.  Vera attorney, Anthony Sylvester, made a fourteen-minute submission stating that there was no perversion since a crime was not committed by Vera.   Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith has deferred ruling for Thursday, May thirty-first, 2017.

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