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Jun 28, 2001

Lord will continue to preside in drug trial

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The trial of brothers Adrian and Robert Hertular now underway in Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord’s court, took a turn this morning, when defence attorney Simeon Sampson made a submission that Lord should remove himself from the case. News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams, who has been following the proceedings, spoke to special prosecutor Fred Lumor and attorney for the Hertulars, Simeon Sampson, about the recent development.

Simeon Sampson, Defence Attorney

“My client had instructed to me to effect that they had overheard him saying that after returning from the crime scene, he remembered seeing the hole where the drugs were hidden from a window of the bedroom of Adrian Hertular. So I asked him to remove himself from the trial because both my clients insisted that they heard him saying these words in a loud and distinct voice. He adjourned, but he said that during the adjournment he would go and consult with the Chief Justice. So this morning upon the resumption of business, I told Mr. Lord that I do not think that it was fair that he commented in public that he was going to consult with the Chief Justice on this matter because it would then appear that he would have discussed whatever.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“He was saying though that it wasn’t the matter of the case.”

Simeon Sampson

“How do I know that? How do we know? The question is that he ought not to have discussed anything with the Chief Justice in our options because it would lend the suspicion that both Magistrate and Chief Justice could be ganging up on them.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“He took two fifteen minute breaks, and it’s adjourned for this afternoon, what are you expecting? Supposed he doesn’t remove himself?”

Simeon Sampson

“This afternoon we resume at two o’clock when the prosecutor will try to prove that certain statements allegedly made by my clients at the crime scene when the drugs were discovered. The prosecution would like to insist that those were admission of guilt or knowledge, so we have to go into a trial within a trial as to the admissibility of those alleged statements.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Does it concern you that a special prosecutor has been brought in to do this case? If you could remember, when they brought in a special prosecutor for Junie Balls, then and only then he went to jail.”

Simeon Sampson

“Very good question. I tell you what, myself and Mr. Lumor have fought many legal battles over the years in the Supreme Court, in the Court of Appeal. I am so glad that the government elected such a formidable legal brain like Mr. Lumor to work along with. We understand each other, he’s fair he’s honest.”

Fred Lumor, Special Prosecutor

“My position is that when there is allegations of misconduct against a judicial officer, it is proper for that person to ask to discuss it with a Chief Justice. It has nothing to do with the actual matter before him. Because if he had gone to discuss the actual matter before him, then that is improper. But as the Chief Magistrate put it, he went there to discuss the allegation made in open court, which is known to the whole public, with a Chief Justice, and I think it was proper for him to do so.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“They brought in you as the special prosecutor for this case, what does that say?”

Fred Lumor

“To put it blankly, I’m a hired gun, just like Simeon Sampson was once hired. Because it involves some novel principles of law and they thought that I should assist in prosecuting them.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“You were saying that it’s the first time the dogs have been included as part of the evidence. Explain to me.”

Fred Lumor

“This is the first time tracker dogs or sneaking dog evidence is being introduced, in evidence for the first time in the country. It was introduced on the United Kingdom for the first time in 1995. So it’s a new evolving law of evidence, and this is one of the reasons why I’ve been asked to assist.”

The trial continued this afternoon with P.C. Sosa of the Dragon Unit who gave his account of the raid on the property where the drugs were discovered. To date, five witnesses have been called. The trial of Adrian and Robert Hertular, charged with the trafficking of two thousand, five hundred and fifty-four pounds of cocaine on May ninth, continues Friday at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.

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