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Oct 12, 2018

Alleged Kidnapper Roger Wallis Denied Supreme Court Bail

Roger Wallis

British national, Roger Wallis, appeared before Justice Adolph Lucas this afternoon on a bail application.  The sixty-three-year-old businessman is accused of the attempted kidnapping of an eight-year old Belmopan boy who he allegedly attempted to force into his white van. The prosecution had initially not opposed bail last week, but today Justice Lucas reviewed the application. Now, Wallis has been living in Belize on a monthly visa which he had been renewing. That visa expired today. The prosecution considered him a flight risk and the Justice denied bail.  News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

British national, Roger Wallis, accused of the attempted kidnapping of an eight-year-old Belmopan student, returned to the central prison in Hattieville after a bail application made on his behalf by attorney Hurl Hamilton was struck down by Supreme Court judge, Justice Adolph Lucas.  Sixty-three-year-old owner of Area Fifty-Two Entertainment Company was paraded from the cell block to the courtroom just before two p.m. today where objections were heard. Crown Counsel Portia Staine-Ferguson opposed bail on the grounds that the visitor’s permit, renewed monthly by Wallis, expires today and that the crime carries a sentence of no less than ten years behind bars. Among his submissions, however, Hamilton presented that his client has substantial ties to Belize and due to his medical condition, should be granted bail since Wallis is innocent until proven guilty.

 

Hurl Hamilton

Hurl Hamilton, Attorney for Wallis

“The presumption of innocence must always prevail. You are innocent until proven guilty. The other submission that I made was that the petitioner has substantial ties in Belize; what is the risk that the petitioner is going to abscond and not show up for his court date. Petitioner health issues; he is diabetic; he has a kidney problem. The presumption of innocence is not only for Belizeans; it is for anyone who is brought before the court of Belize. As it stands, Mister Roger Wallis is innocent until proven guilty. I can understand that the public might have their own perception, their own views, but the law is the law in Belize—you are innocent until proven guilty.”

 

Justice Adolph Lucas denied bail on several grounds: that Wallis is not a Belizeans; the alleged offence is against an eight-year-old minor and occurred in front of his siblings. His third reason was that due to the seriousness of the charge, there is an incentive for Wallis to abscond and not attend court.

 

Hurl Hamilton

“We disagree with the judge obviously, but we respect the judge decision. The judge was of the view that the petitioner Mister Wallis is not a Belizean; he is a British national and the offense of kidnapping is a serious offense and he was of the view that bail should not be granted. Clearly, as I said, we are disappointed; we disagree, but we respect the judge decision.”

 

As was disclosed in court today, the incident occurred on September twenty-fourth between eleven-thirty and twelve-thirty as three siblings—ages eight, twelve and fourteen—were walking on a street in Belmopan when they were allegedly approached by Wallis who offered them a ride. The children said no, but Wallis allegedly circled around and grabbed the eight-year-old in an attempt to pull him into the white van he was driving. The older siblings then fought him off and escaped. In a caution statement by Wallis, he admits to speaking to three children on the same day; however, he says he was only asking for directions.

 

Hurl Hamilton

“Caution statements that were obtained by police were irregular. They were not obtained properly and they were not in compliance of the evidence act. I will not go into why it was irregular, but suffice to say that the caution statement is irregular. I will go further. An identification parade was held about five o’clock on the twenty-eighth of September; Mister Roger Wallis’ face was all over social media four o’clock in the evening. The identification parade was irregular as well; his attorney was not present. It did not comply with section five of—I cannot the exact number of the statutory instrument, but there are guidelines. They did not comply with certain sections of the guidelines to have a true and proper identification parade.”

 

But all is not lost, says attorney Hamilton, because a preliminary inquiry was ordered by Justice Lucas on or before December seventeenth and Wallis must be further arraigned in the Belmopan Supreme Court on April third, 2019. A reapplication for bail can be made if the crown fails to meet the timeline.

 

Hurl Hamilton

“Even though the judge has denied bail at first instance, the judge is still mindful of the petitioner’s presumption of innocence that is afforded to him by the constitution. I am of the view now that he is entitled to bail. Clearly, the judge has a different position and we respect that position. So I believe on the next occasion, if those conditions are not complied with, I believe the defendant should be afforded bail.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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