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Jan 12, 2018

7 Years Later, Stephen Buckley Still Waiting for Justice

Stephen Buckley

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Stephen Buckley, the George Street resident who turned his misfortune into a six-figure windfall from the Government of Belize. He was shot in the face while on the way home from work in April of 2010 and received a partial compensation payment of one hundred thousand dollars three years later. But that money is gone, and the man accused of shooting him, Police Inspector Dennis Lopez, has not yet gone to trial, which keeps the fate of whatever else he is owed in limbo. News Five’s Aaron Humes caught up with him in the city today and has this update.

 

Aaron Humes, Reporting

Standing across from his home this morning, disabled former construction worker Stephen Buckley described his frustration with the Director of Public Prosecution’s office. He says it has been nothing but excuses and absences since the incident that made him a household name seven years ago was committed for trial at the Supreme Court.

 

Stephen Buckley, Shot by Police

“When I went to the court, dehn tell me that they no have no judge fi deal with the case. So I wahn know – I ask them, ‘Mammy, if da me mi shot the policeman, unu mi wah definitely get to me: unu mi wah done send me da jail or the policeman dehn mi wah kill me. The lady sey wi might have a judge this year; dehn no sure if dehn wah have a judge this year but dehn say they will have a judge this year; me no know how true it is. The other day when ah gone da D.P.P. fi find out when dehn wa have this case, dehn say di D.P.P. no deh een, mek a come back Monday. When a gone di Monday, dehn say Supreme Court no open yet, so when Supreme Court open mek a come back. Ah no gaan since [then].”

 

Aaron Humes

“How often do you go?”

 

Stephen Buckley

“As I get a lee time I go check pan it and see what a gwaan wit my case.”

 

It has been a rollercoaster ride for Buckley. His relief in receiving the first half of the payment in August 2013 quickly dwindled as the money was spent, and in February of 2015, he ended up in jail for unpaid court fines for drug possession charges. He says he now relies on handouts and what he can find on the streets to take care of his children.

 

Stephen Buckley

“That noh di happen. Sometimes I noh know how a get me lee money. But right now, I noh wa tell no lie, da mi old lady put out some change now and again and that da how a lee meal get eena di house.”

 

Aaron Humes

“You still live here?”

 

Stephen Buckley

“Still live here.”

 

Aaron Humes

“Like how you have a disability as a result of this gunshot all these years ago, you noh gone da Social Security to get your pension, because it’s clear you can’t work again, right?”

 

Stephen Buckley

“Like how I see them give me a certain amount of money, I thought that’s it for me, so I neva gaan back to Social to check them.”

 

Aaron Humes

“And you think it’s too late now, or maybe that’s another avenue?”

 

Stephen Buckley

“If something is there for me I can go check about it.”

 

Dennis Lopez

Buckley’s alleged shooter, Police Inspector Dennis Lopez, is interdicted and out on bail, awaiting trial for attempted murder. And while it seems all society has turned his back on him, he is not without hope.

 

Aaron Humes

“What [do] you want to see come out of this matter when it comes up as it should?”

 

Stephen Buckley

“As quick as possible I wish the case would be called up right about now; that da all I would want.”

 

Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

 

According to D.P.P. Cheryl-Lyn Vidal, the prosecution is ready for trial and is just awaiting a judge to be assigned to the case.

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