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Nov 15, 2011

George St. Affiliates win case against Government

A sensational trial ended today in the Supreme Court, three men known as George Street bosses sued the Attorney General for false imprisonment following the murder of John Paul Saldivar that is believed to have been drug related. The court today awarded a handsome sum to the three men who had spent eleven months in jail before charges were withdrawn for lack of evidence. The three, however, are claiming that the sum of twenty-five thousand that each is to be paid by the government is not enough. News Five’s Isani Cayetano has the background and the update to that story.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The sensational murder of twenty-eight year old John Paul Saldivar near Rocky Point on Ambergris Caye almost three years ago remains shrouded in mystery despite a number of high profile arrests being made in the case.  On January 31st, 2009, the partially nude body of Saldivar, a tour guide employed at Patajos in San Pedro, was discovered near an deserted residence several miles away from San Pedro Town.

Sgt. John Sanchez, Investigating Officer [File: February 2nd, 2009]

John Sanchez

“Police observed the lifeless body of a male Hispanic person lying face-up on the shoreline, half nude with what appeared to be gunshot wounds to the head, left upper leg and right lower leg.  He also had numerous bruises over his body.”

According to an unofficial testimony by someone in the area a white vessel carrying five men approached the vicinity from the direction of town.  Moments later he heard a salvo of rounds being fired prior to them fleeing the scene in the boat in which they had arrived in.  At the time of the homicide San Pedro Police strongly believed that the assault was drug related.

Sgt. John Sanchez

“About a month or so ago if you can recall, I should say that about twenty-five kilos of cocaine were handed over by a private citizen to the San Pedro Police and as a result this drugs was dealt with, was secured.  And we believe that more of these drugs have washed ashore up in that area and there have been a lot of persons visiting that area or walking the beach who are referred to as playadors, looking for these substances which they would usually call wet drop and usually this would cause a dispute.”

Among the men police believed to have participated in the execution were Micah Thompson, Shelton Tillett and Charles Woodye; known capos of the George Street Gang.  In the wake of the shooting all three were charged with murder and were remanded to the Belize Central Prison.  After eleven months in jail and no evidence to convict the trio the charges against them were withdrawn.  At the time they were defended by attorney Kareem Musa.

Kareem Musa, Attorney [File: Jan 13th, 2010]

Kareem Musa

“Myself along with Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold represented Charles Woodye, Micah Thompson, Shelton August and Kyle Patnett.  Michael Peyrefitte represented the fifth co-accused, Mr. Eric Swan.  What transpired this morning, the prosecutor, Mr. John Sanchez, presented a directive from the DPP informing the court that the DPP had made a decision to withdraw all charges against all five accused men.”

Shortly after their release the three men filed a suit against the Attorney General’s Office in which they claimed false imprisonment.  Today that case was heard in the chamber of Justice Minnet Hafiz who ruled that they be awarded a sum of twenty-five thousand dollars each in damages.  They were jointly defended by attorney Agnes Segura Gillett who says she‘s not pleased with the decision that was handed down this morning.

Agnes Segura-Gillett

Agnes Segura-Gillett, Attorney

“I think that their life at liberty was worth more than twenty-five thousand dollars. So we are not satisfied with that aspect of the decision. They have been awarded their loss of earning in respect of one of them and they have been awarded their attorney’s fees and fees that they had paid in the criminal trial. However they have the recourse of appeal; to appeal the quantum of damages and that will be up to them to decide how to go.”

Jules Vasquez, 7News

“Obviously your clients have a certain public reputation and while no evidence was used in court to indicate anything that they are George Street affiliates or anything, do you think that the quantum indicates that there were some sub textual, implicit consideration of that? Because I would like to think that a lay person such like as myself if imprisoned for eleven months, I would get more than twenty-five thousand dollars.”

Agnes Segura-Gillett

“I would hate to think that that was one of the considerations that was taken into account because at the end of the day, they are human beings, they are entitled to liberty and they were deprived of that liberty. They were imprisoned in super max, they gave evidence that they slept on the ground. I mean all of these things affected them psychologically. They were deprived of access to their family. Even if you are a member of a gang, you are still entitled to your freedom and you don’t suffer any less because of who you are.”

While the men are set to receive compensation for their losses twenty-four year old Charles Woodeye was murdered on August fifteenth in a hail of bullets let loose upon him at the Raccoon Street Fire Station. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

In respect of Charles Woodeye, it is expected that his family will receive his share of the compensation. The court also awarded a total of close to ten thousand dollars in legal cost to the three men, while Woodeye will also get over eight thousand dollars in loss of earnings.

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17 Responses for “George St. Affiliates win case against Government”

  1. Lucas says:

    That a dog bites a man is no news, but that a man bites a dog is real news indeed. Gangs winning in court against govt., is truely news.

  2. Kim says:

    Blessing..Rip Charlie gone but not 4gotten.

  3. Unhappy says:

    HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD ? … First they got off from a murder they committed now they getting paid for it.

  4. Al says:

    If these men truly are murderers their day will come, either on this earth or in heaven. One is already dead, the others better spend their money quickly because they may not live to enjoy it. I could imagine the laughter when they get together and talk about getting paid to kill. This governmnet is soooo, I do not even have words to describe the lack of control. Belizeans need to put more pressure on the legal community and the government, that is the only way change will come to this jewel and return it to it’s tranquility that I knew as a child.

  5. Charlie Price says:

    The lady whos DOG WAS SHOT BY THE POLICE should SUE TOO…..

  6. Sasha says:

    They each get paid $25K each, these FOOLS don’t even have a job where they can show the paid taxes for income earned and the attorneys are saying they should get paid more, be happy you were in jail because it gave you extra life. Watchout boys, if it is true, your time is near.

  7. Ana says:

    It’s a downright shame to see criminals getting paid for murder.God is not dead, and ” He says vengence is mine, and “I” WILL REPAY IT!

  8. CEO says:

    We all know they are no angels and perhaps quilty as charged but don’t blame these guys blame the inept cops who do not know how to run an air tight investigation.

    The justice system function only on the evidence.

  9. Elgin Martinez says:

    Any and everything is possible in Belize.Nothing surprises me anymore.We went from the land of the free to the land of the lawless.Kill all you want and the government will compensate you.What message are we sending to the kids in our country?

  10. belizeanpride says:

    this verdict was horrendous and the gov. paying the criminals, mein jobless persons can contact the gov. for hits now, get list people. mein what a joke is our court coming to. jeez really unbelievable but true.

  11. deedee says:

    Well said CEO, they saw the many loop holes in the charges brought against them by dumb@ss police department & cash in on it. People should pay close attention to the case & look at the facts of what happen during the investigation then they will see why these guys, their families & lawyers will be collecting tax payers dollars.

  12. me says:

    maybe we need to join gangs too especially in these hard times. what u think?????//
    They get A1 treatment. How about that….. Hard working people get ruffed up and pushed around. Real reversal of what is the norm. The baddies get off and get paid. Sounds like it real make sense to be a baddie and gang member. Joining gang is not the ting, booting them outta office is what is needed.

  13. Bengal says:

    This will make the whole legal system take a different approach to fighting crime.

    1st of all it will make them better train their police and security forces. Just like how we can’t take hearsay to court we can’t present a case just because of someone’s gang affiliation or just mere suspicion.

    2nd it will make the police take a better approach to deal with people. Yes they might be thugs but the police still have to find a humane way to deal with the supposedly inhumane.

    3rd If these guys committed the murder they might get away from man but GOD sees and knows everything; even our thoughts. So either pay now or later, or now and later. But remember the real judgement . According to our works we will get our pay. So even if they receive million the price they will pay will be greater than this. Because they might spend eternity in hell. Where the wailing and agony never stops.

    Wake up my brothers and sisters and reflect on what life is really for. It is for us to glorify GOD’S name and to LOVE HIM with all our mind , heart, soul and strength and for us to LOVE 1 another as we LOVE ourselves. But lately too many of us doesn’t even LOVE GOD, ourselves much less each other.
    Too many of us are selling our souls for material. We kill and hurt each other for the weed, the cocaine and the money so we can have the power. So we can wear the Roca Wear, Sean John, LRG, and name brand clothing. So we can drive the nice car with the rims and the music bumping. So we can have the ladies or the guys and other people can say that he or she is blinging. They are well off. But in the end we sell our souls.
    Salvation is free. Who can buy his salvation? Who can save his brother’s or sister’s soul? None of us.
    Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. PROVERBS 14:35. A lot of our people are spiritually lost thats why they would kill each other for material or can pay someone couple hundred dollars to carry out a hit.

    Only JAH can help us now.

  14. ladymatura says:

    did she say “Even if you are a member of a gang you are entitled to your liberty?” wow so what happened to gangs being an unlawful organization in Belize? And what happened to liberty and freedoms carry responsibilities as well? Well this is what we get when opolice fail to do good police work… sadly no matter how much one wants to help GOB and the police because of politics they refuse to take advice from people who can help! In law they may indeed have a good case but again it is the same ones who hold us at ransome with their criminal activity learnign to use the protection of the law. what about law-abiding citizens now suing the GOB for failing to properly equipping and training the police to do its job?

  15. e.myvett says:

    All Belize police can do is breakdown the wrong people door and lock up the innocent.They cant conduct an investigation properly.

  16. Aries says:

    I don’t know what Belize has come to, the Police always lock up the innocent.

  17. MACAL RIVERA says:

    SHAME ON THESE LAWYERS WHO DEFEND THESE CRIMINALS, MEIN I CAN’T BELIEVE LAWYERS CAN STOOP DOWN SO LOW TO DEFEND THESE MURDERERS.

    BUT SOMEDAY THEY WILL STAND IN FRONT OF GOD AND ANSWER.

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