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Jan 29, 2009

Attorney for former PM says evidence is insufficient…

Story PictureFormer Prime Minister Said Musa appeared in court this morning accompanied by a battery of nine lawyers for the preliminary inquiry in the case of Theft against him last year. But the outcome will not be delivered until February tenth. That’s when Magistrate Earl Jones will decide whether or not the prosecution has presented enough evidence for it to stand trial in the Supreme Court. Both sides were equally as confident after their submissions today as they were from day one. Lead defense attorney for Musa, Edwin Flowers, argued that the evidence the prosecution has presented, is in their view, not sufficient enough to stand a trial. One of Musa’s attorneys, Lisa Shoman, explained their position following the proceedings.

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Musa
“The prosecution has clearly and deliberately chosen to, not only put their own interpretation on certain facts, but to choose which “facts” they chose to present to the court. The Legal Profession Act is very clear that the duty is to present everything, favorable and non-favorable to the court in terms of allowing the court to act as a filter, which is its duty, in order to commit this matter to trial or not in the Supreme Court. What you witnessed today was a prosecution that, not only was explaining and interpreting “facts” in certain ways, but was clearly making absolutely no effort to present or to look at anything that even remotely looked favorable to the defendant in this matter, Mr. Said Musa.”

Jules Vasquez, Channel 7
“So what is your anticipation of what will happen on February tenth?”

Lisa Shoman
“Well, I think that we have presented to the Magistrate a very strong case, first stating that, not only is there not enough in terms of being able to establish that within the meaning of the Act, anything was committed wholly or partly in Belize, and it has to be both. It’s not wholly or, it’s wholly and partly in Belize. In other words, the only way the “partly in Belize” would work is if it’s together with something else that happened elsewhere. You don’t get the “something else” that happened elsewhere as being disjunctive. It has to be conjunctive. The other issue would be that we say that not at all has the prosecution been able to make out all the elements in order to show that there is a prima facie case establishing an offense of Theft. Now remember we, as a defense team, do not have to establish anything. In fact, we cannot present anything; those are the rules under which we operate. It is the duty of the D.P.P. in order to establish a prima facie case to the Magistrate’s satisfaction so that the Magistrate can say well, yes, I’m going to use my filter to say this one should go forward. We looked at each and every one of the elements and gave very strong reasons to the Magistrate why we believe that those elements were not made out.”

“There was more than enough evidence contained in the two statements given by Barrow and that of his echoed by Ms. Audrey Wallace and the deposition by Ms Amalia Mai, which clearly shows that Mr. Musa was acting in a manner which was consistent with doing that which was lawful and that there was therefore no offense that was committed.”

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Said Musa
“The Magistrate had to adjourn to consider the matter. It’s very telling as well that it’s not as simple as the general public might have thought that it’s a simple outright or some crime was committed out rightly. That tells and bores out the fact the legal issues they are a little bit complex and very engaging and the Magistrate needs time to actually look over the evidence, make a thoughtful and thorough and we trust, a just and fair decision.”

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