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Oct 11, 2017

Ex-forensic Examiner Appeals Conviction for Evidence Tampering Offer

Orlando Vera, the former Belize Police Department Forensic examiner, was convicted of the offense of abetment of the crime for perverting the course of justice and has been serving a two-year prison term handed down upon him by the then Chief Magistrate, Anne Marie Smith on June first of this year. Vera was back in court today appealing that conviction based on his view that the Chief Magistrate’s sentence was excessive and harsh and that a non-custodial sentence could have been imposed given the circumstances. In day two of his appeal today before Justice Herbert Lord, Vera’s attorney, Anthony Sylvester concluded arguments on six grounds. Sylvester submitted that the trial judge had erred in law on many counts so that a non-custodial sentence should have been imposed instead of prison time.  This afternoon, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal submitted that both the facts of the case and the issues which arose have been misrepresented in court by the defence.  She asked the court to look at the actual charge sheet made against Vera, being abetment to the crime of perverting the course of justice.  That between June seventh, 2015 and July thirty-first, 2015, in Belmopan, Vera instigated the commission of a crime by perverting the course of justice by offering to businessman Michael Modiri to tamper with evidence in the case against him for firearm and ammunitions.  D.P.P. Vidal submitted that the charge has nothing to do with the firearms report and that it is based on the offer made by Vera to Modiri, which amounts to the crime.  Judge Lord has indicated that a ruling in Vera’s appeal will not be forthcoming until he has had time to review and come to a decision.

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