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Jul 31, 2006

Prosecutor loses case file; accused criminals walk

Two years ago, it was a crime that left one Belize District family badly shaken, but today, like in many recent criminal cases, the alleged perpetrators have been set free. On June nineteenth 2003, Sumaiya Morris was at her home in Hattieville village when she was ambushed and held at gunpoint by four men. As she watched, the men turned their attention to a fourteen year old female relative who was stripped naked and threatened with rape. The bandits then stole almost three thousand dollars worth of household goods and took off in Morris’s car. Police were able to make an arrest and promptly charged Kareem Young, Antonio Banner, Raymond Jenkins and Albert Arnold with Aggravated Burglary, Theft, Handling Stolen Goods, Conspiracy to Commit Theft and Indecent Assault. Investigators were convinced they had the right men, even claiming that some of the stolen items were found in the possession of the accused. Since then the matter has been slowly making its way through the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. That is until this morning, when the case hit a major pothole. Police Prosecutor Clinton Magdaleno appeared before Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord and admitted that somehow the entire case file had disappeared. With that crucial document gone, Lord was left with no option but to adjourn the matter sine die. That means that if the case file can be found and brought to court, the accused can be charged with the crime again. It also means that until that happens, Young, Banner, Jenkins and Arnold are free men. We understand that in the wake of the attack against them, the Morris family relocated to another country.

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