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Sep 26, 2018

Murder Charge against ‘BSAG Eight’ Dismissed

Eight lawmen jointly charged for murdering forty-six-year-old Ariel Audinette had the charges dismissed this morning when they appeared in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court.  Police officer Lennart Cajun; B.D.F. soldiers Mateo Bolon, Patrick Villagran Senior, Patrick Diego, Elvis Cob, Edmar Petillo, Bladimir Escarraga and Francis Sho were accused of violently beating Audinett to death at his house in Orange Walk on February twenty-second, 2018. Audinette died due to blunt force trauma having sustained broken bones which ruptured his kidneys and liver. Cajun, who is assigned to the Special Patrol Unit, and the soldiers, who are assigned to the Belize Special Assignment Group, showed up to Audinette’s house looking for a stolen cell phone which belonged to a woman. The officers were wearing masks and did not find the phone, but allegedly put a severe beating on Audinette and his friends, Noe Sanchez and Oscar Payes. Audinette died while receiving treatment at the Northern Regional Hospital hours later. The case was set for preliminary inquiry today, but the crown told the court that the case file was not ready, prompting defense attorney, Oscar Selgado and his colleagues, Senior counsels Simeon Sampson and Ellis Arnold, to successfully ask the court to dismiss the charges against the group. Selgado explains.

 

Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Defendants

“There was supposed to be a preliminary inquiry this morning. The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is for the examining magistrate to look at the facts, look at the depositions that were presented by the prosecution and satisfy herself whether or not there is enough evidence to send the matter to the Supreme Court for trial. On the twenty night of August this year the preliminary inquiry was to be held but the prosecution was not ready for the file and they had asked for two weeks adjournment. The learned magistrate gave them one month adjournment to today, final adjournment. This morning when counsels defending the defendants, that is Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold and myself appeared in court, we were ready to make legal submissions pursuant to section thirty four of the Indictable Procedure Act arguing that there is an insufficiency of evidence to commit the matter to trial in the Supreme Court. The crown stood up and made a representation that the file was still not ready. All three attorneys made legal submission pursuant to rule three, three sub-subsection three of the Criminal Procedure Rules and rule five, nine of the Criminal Procedure Rules of Belize that in fact the time had expired. Rule, three, three , three says that the preliminary inquiry must be held within six and a half months, that is twenty six weeks from the first hearing. The six and half months has expired. Rule five, eight says that the time for disclosure must be two weeks prior to the P.I. So the P.I. is today so the disclosure ought to have been completed two weeks prior to today and that was not done. They are still not finished with disclosure and they are still not finished with the file. So the learned Magistrate upheld our submissions that in fact the Criminal Procedure Rules were breached and the breach are substantive and the breach will result in the miscarriage of justice if there is an adjournment given to the crown for the third time.”

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1 Response for “Murder Charge against ‘BSAG Eight’ Dismissed”

  1. Mike G says:

    And once again the criminal justice system fails the victim and the rest of us.

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