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Mar 6, 2018

One step closer to end of UNIBAM appeal

Caleb Orosco

The appeal of the Section fifty-three case decided in the Supreme Court in August, 2016 is before the Court of Appeal. On one side is Caleb Orozco, Executive Director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement. On the other is the Government of Belize, represented by the Attorney General. Previously, various church groups were attached to the case as interested parties. But one by one they have all fallen away, and the last, the Catholic Church, appeared in court today to indicate the same. Now, according to Orozco, the government is receiving pressure to drop what the judges have termed an “academic exercise.”

 

Caleb Orozco, Case Litigant

“The Catholic Church, through its lawyer Philip Zuniga, essentially finalized the notice for the Church to withdraw, which for us was confirmation that the Catholic Church was serious about its involvement in the Section fifty-three appeal process, Case thirty-one and thirty-two. To my surprise, the court recognized immediately with the withdrawal of the Catholic Church that the original motivation of the State has changed. And it alluded to the idea that both parties need to sit down to define a way forward, because it doesn’t make any sense to continue with a case that really doesn’t have any pressure attached to it. And to me, the court seemed to be alluding to the idea that a partial appeal is really an academic exercise, to which my lawyer, Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman, pointed out that she would commit to speak with the A.G.’s office regarding their withdrawal, costs of court and any other process that may be involved to then end this matter.”

 

A case management conference hearing is officially scheduled for June, though the parties may meet at any time before then for discussion. This evening the National Evangelical Association of Belize, which was itself denied entry to the case, issued a statement stating its sadness at the decision and reiterating its efforts to stand for what is right.

 

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