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Jun 6, 2014

Supreme Court upholds Deon Bruce extradition

Deon Bruce

The legal battle for the liberty of Deon Bruce, wanted by U.S. authorities for murder and other related offences, is set for another round of challenge, following a decision by the Supreme Court upholding the judgment of Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith in mid-January.  It is the first time in Belize’s history that an application for habeas corpus coincides with the judicial review of a ruling handed down by the magistrate’s court.  After two days of arguments, Justice Courtney Abel carefully considered the merits presented before him and rendered a decision in favor of Bruce’s surrender.  The Belize City resident is being sought by law enforcement for a homicide he allegedly committed in Chicago.  Despite retaining the services of various high profile lawyers over the course of the trial, Bruce’s chances seem to be coming to an end.  Of the eight points presented in court, a majority have been overturned.  Nonetheless, attorney Audrey-Matura Shepherd told the media this afternoon that her client intends to file an application for a stay of execution in order to appeal the decision.

 

Audrey Matura-Shepherd, Attorney for Deon Bruce

Audrey Matura-Shepherd

“What we did, we brought up eight main points and he tried to lump them together.  The ones that he thought were not valid and the ones that he thought may have been valid, but basically what we were saying was that the chief magistrate, one, should not have allowed a representative or crown counsels from the attorney general’s ministry to be the ones presenting this matter because that is a job for the D.P.P. [Director of Public Prosecutions] and the judge ruled, no.  We also said that the evidence that was before the court that the chief magistrate was so dangerous, so limited, it wasn’t sufficient to even ground taking this any further.  The judge ruled no.  We also said that one of the things we disputed was the quality of the photograph of the identification and the judge ruled against us as well.  And one of the other issues we also brought up was the authenticity of the documents and the judge ruled against us again.  The reason some of these matters went against us was because the judge was saying that those were points that should have been taken at the magistrates court level.  So, in total, every point we made, we fought for them but it was ruled against us; however, that’s not the end of it.  I’ve just received instructions from my client that he wants to appeal the decision and therefore going to submit a stay of execution of the order and submit appeals and we are looking at other options, not only in terms of his case but he is looking at other principles of law that we’ve discussed that we need to challenge in the courts.  It is historic in the sense that never before have we had judicial review and habeas corpus argued at the same time.  Usually what is done is that there is just a habeas corpus where you are challenging the detention of a person but we thought that there was sufficient grounds for us to review the way the decision was arrived at.  It’s the first that I know of but it surely will not be the last because the law does allow for it and I think that as more and more Belizeans will be sought for extradition, more and more of them will be challenging it and more and more attorneys will be taking it on and you have to look at all different avenues because an extradition act is a very serious legislation that our government entered into without the sanction of the people since 2000.”

 

The matter is expected to be heard in a future session of the Court of Appeal.

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2 Responses for “Supreme Court upholds Deon Bruce extradition”

  1. Orlando says:

    This is not the first time people like this guy commit a crime in the U.S. and try to hide in Belize. The Belizean people have no idea what the hell is going down in Chicago. It is lawless, annoying and damn disgusting. Violate the law and then go to another country where they sit quiet for a little time. Come on Belize, you commit the crime, you spend the time!

  2. In Ali BaBarrow's Belize there is no justice. says:

    Deon, you are paying the wrong lawyer.

    Mello is able to avoid extradiction, he is not even Belizean.

    You got to pay Ali and the 40; or murdered in Belize and not get convicted.

    still have time, get the money together.

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