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Feb 22, 2013

Bullets found in his home, but pregnant visitor convicted

It’s not fiction but you can actual show up at a friend’s house during a police search and wind up in prison. That’s what happened to twenty five year old Natalie Coleman. The pregnant woman visited the home of her boyfriend, Randy Dominguez and police found four sixteen-gauge cartridges in the building. Both of them were charged but only Coleman was found inside the home because Dominguez allegedly ran. He was acquitted because he could prove he wasn’t inside the home. But the seven and a half month pregnant woman was convicted in November 2012 and was sentenced in January 2013 to five years. A good samaritan and a few attorneys came to her aid and she is out on bail. News Five Jose Sanchez spoke to Coleman minutes after she was released.

 

Natalie Coleman, Granted Bail

“I soon time to have baby. And I just was at the wrong place at the wrong time that’s why I end up in prison. But I thank god that I am out. I pray every night and every morning. I want to give thanks to lawyers them, all of them, for everything that they have done for me and the work they have put in for me, it make I feel so good that I could cry.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“How did you your lawyers manage to get you on bail? You were convicted for five years, what happens now?”

 

Natalie Coleman

Natalie Coleman

“I wah take it one day at a time.”

 

Jose Sanchez

“Mr. Carter how did you become involved in this case?”

 

Darrell Carter, Good Samaritan

“Well we read about it in the newspaper and heard it on the TV, hear it on the radio where Natalie here received a bomb rap in terms of five years for three shells in a house that she was visiting. And as far as we are concerned that is a travesty of justice, as far as we are concerned that is a bad law. Even more important, it affects every single Belizean living in the jewel that this law can someday come back to haunt us.”

 

Darrell Carter

Jose Sanchez

“So that’s when you reached out to some attorneys on your own strength for that matter?”

 

Darrell Carter, Good Samaritan

“Right. I think the first person I spoke to was Dickie Bradley who was on board.”

 

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney for Natalie Coleman

“Word got out she had gone to prison for visiting a home. The owner or occupier of the home is known to her and she was found by police there. When word got out that in fact Natalie went to prison, Darrell Carter started calling legal aid center—a number of lawyers that he knew—and we all said that we would help. This is not a one lawyer effort; we all said we would help. The point man and big praise is due, Anthony Sylvester, took on the research. We filed the various papers. This morning Magistrate Dale Cayetano, a trained lawyer from the University of the West Indies, set aside this morning to hear an application. There are two laws in play here; one is the Law Crime Control Act that says if you have one bullet, you gwen dah jail fi five years; if you have a gun whether it empty or not, you gwen dah jail fi five years—minimum five years. that is what caught Natalie. The other law is that, once upon a time up until 2011, any person who felt that an injustice had happened, something had gone wrong, some legal grounds, could file an appeal and the courts would allow that person to sign a bond and be released back into the society. You can’t be in jail di wait fi yo appeal and the appeal takes six months, one year, two years. Who gives you back the two years of your life? So you would be released. A new law came out in 2011 that situations like what she just experience even if she filed for appeal, which she did, she still had to remain in prison. So this morning we argued to the magistrate that there is more than sufficient grounds to release her back into the society pending the hearing of legal arguments and other arguments in the Supreme Court. So you will see behind me Justice Gill, Darrell Carter, Anthony Sylvester the point lawyer could not be here just now, but I want to join here in saying all praise and thanks to god. And she is going to church on Sunday because this si a very rare situation. There are many other citizens that are really should be out here while their appeal is pending.”

 

Coleman was granted bail in the sum of five thousand dollars along with a surety of the same amount. In his submission to the court, Anthony Sylvester asked the court for a stay regarding her January third conviction, as an appeal has been filed at the Supreme Court. Sylvestre’s submissions included that Coleman’s has no prior record; has never been before the court; and her case has a reasonable prospect for success and that she is pregnant. The minimum sentence for firearm and ammunition conviction is five years. Before the Crime Control Act was amended, the sentence was two years minimum.

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13 Responses for “Bullets found in his home, but pregnant visitor convicted”

  1. Storm says:

    As Charles Dickens wrote in Oliver Twist: ““If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot.”

    1. It’s Neanderthal to convict a person who merely visits a place where contraband is hidden. An unjust law should not be written, and if fools write it, it should not be upheld if the courts are just.

    2. It’s equally Neanderthal to acquit the person who owns and controls the premises where the contraband is hidden simply because he is not physically there at the time. Actually, I think even
    Neanderthals are smarter than that.

    I agree we need harsh laws for illegal guns and ammunition, but they don’t have to be stupid laws. Both of the results in this case are immoral, according to the facts reported, and immoral results shame the courts, the system, and the entire nation.

  2. Jack says:

    I’m no law expert but to me this law about locking up and charge everybody if a weapon or ammo is found on a property is outrageous. How can Belizeans sit back and have their representatives either red or blue pass laws of this nature. I fully understand the authorities trying to curve gun violence and catch the offenders but some how I feel more innocent people are falling victim to this law as in the case of the lady in the above news story. I agree with Mr. Carter that is is a very bad law and isn’t helping at all with all the gun violence. I do feel with out that law the crime situation wouldn’t be any better. I feel that law has to go. Belizeans need to start get down on their representatives on what to support or not to support in the house. Likewise when election times comes around deal with the issues that affect them rather than getting hand outs and a few dollar beers. Any politician who vote against what his division calls for should not be returned for another term.

  3. Johns says:

    These people need to stop hiding and taking the blame for their boyfriends. Then when they get shot first thing you hear is “oh he was never in a gang” or “he doesn’t have any guns”. Please, pregnant or not she should go to jail to learn her lesson not to associate with criminals..

  4. Eye in the Sky says:

    These kind of stupid laws are what they have in communist countries like Cube & North Korea. It is a way for you to get set up and sent to jail if you step on the wrong foot. This law needs to be abolished.
    Also every household should be allowed to have a licensed firearm. Then watch how the crime will drop. The thief will think twice before breaking into a house knowing the owner has a gun to protect himself and family.
    Look at Switzerland.

  5. mick says:

    I believe that the majority of Belizeans could have forseen a situation like this! The only people who did not have the commonsense and the wisdom to do so were the people in the majority when they passed this law! In all logical permutations, someone tell me that this is not a case that is exceptional? This is a sample of a case that should be dismissed. And we, the ones with commonsense, know that this is just a tip of the iceberg. There will be many more cases like this. Where is the Bar Ass’n? Or are they willing to turn their heads because this may mean more busines for them? Someone needs to look into the possibility of putting this to a referendum. This is far worse than the Guatemalan claim to Belize and that is looking to go on a referendum! We, internally, are destroying lives, creating criminals where unnecessary. Where are the Human Rights Advocates? Or this may not be relevant because it is not the minister’s daughter? Son? Cousin? Brother?

  6. freddy says:

    really!!!!you get 5 years in jail because police found 3 bullets in a house.I bet the prisons are full with people that commit minor crimes an people that commit murder is walking the streets need to look into the justice system an change some laws.

  7. Glen says:

    Very good point john

  8. Buju says:

    This is a good story and a wake up call for people.

    We all know who is Darrell Carter and know he is doing this for political mileage as usual!

  9. Buju says:

    But weh wrong with this young lady??

    How she wa get pregnant fi wa man weh wa run left she and mek she take the rap fi something weh she had nothing to do with????

    Lot ah they ladies ina this country di sorry fi man and they give they body!!!!!!!

    Wat ah way!!!!!

    He run left the woman – my goodness……….

  10. Sharpi says:

    Buju,

    I wish our actual politicians would focus on doing the right things for political mileage…isn’t that how its supposed to work in a democracy?

  11. ceo says:

    Change your friends Ms Coleman!

  12. Seletar says:

    Eye in the Sky is right, it should be easy for any adult to get license for a gun, except for convicted criminals and people with proven mental problems. There is a book I borrowed from a friend called “More Guns, Less Crime,” and it makes a strong case that restrictive gun laws end up with what we have here — MORE violence, because only criminals own guns.

    Police only show up after your loved ones are dead or shot, so we all need guns to defend our homes. It should be a right.

  13. eYE IN THE sKY says:

    yES sKELETAR. . . . gUNS DO NOT KILL . . . PEOPLE DO.

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