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Sep 2, 2005

Charges dismissed against accused rioters

Nine men accused of participating in a riot at the National Assembly in January walked away from the Magistrate Court free men this week. Jaime Antonio, Louis Frutus, George Williams, Gerald Armstrong, Steven Young, Percival Reynolds, Orson Twist, Eric Zetina, and Maximo Pop were released after their attorneys Dean Lindo, Oswald Twist, and Sharon Pitts-Robateau successfully argued that rioting meant more than five people were assembled to carry out a common purpose, such as violence and that this required some sort of agreement. It was further argued that while the Assistant Commissioner of Police was said to have read the riot act, the proclamation was not submitted as evidence. In addition, although some people had gotten permission to demonstrate, there was nothing to indicate when that permission began or ended. Belmopan Magistrate Albert Hoare upheld all these submissions from the defence legal team. The police’s case was based on one plain clothes officer’s claim that he infiltrated some of the alleged rioters and knew all of them.

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