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Apr 22, 2005

Student leader arrested, granted bail

Story PictureIn days gone by, the adjective best used to describe the political inclinations of Belizean university students was…apathetic. Today that word no longer applies as students from U.B. and S.J.C. Junior College have been at the forefront of the effort to affect a change of government. This afternoon the nation’s most recognizable student leader went through a familiar rite of passage: being arrested.

Patrick Jones, Reporting
The accused University of Belize student body leader arrived to a hero?s welcome for his formal arraignment on charges of organising and taking part in a procession without a permit, trespassing on the compounds of Pallotti and Saint John?s College, and damaging a police vehicle.

Crowd Chanting
?Free Moses! Free Moses!?

The misdemeanour charges brought enough excitement to the courthouse to bring Chief Magistrate Herbert Lord downstairs to let the crowd know that he would not allow the sanctity of his courtroom to be breached. Inside a packed courtroom number one, Sulph looked Lord straight in the face as he pled not guilty to all five counts. Michael Peyrefitte is the defence attorney.

Michael Peyrefitte, Defence Attorney
?I asked that the bail be set in such a way that no real property will be required under the Bail Act. What I was concerned about was that that will be met. But you have to understand that there are five charges, and one in particular, the damage to the police vehicle, is a kind of a serious charge. So the Chief Magistrate was very generous in at least saying we are going to set the maximum about of bail that you won?t need any land, but you will need someone to sign. But in my opinion the bail was not excessive.?

That bail totalled five thousand dollars plus a surety of the same amount and Sulph will reappear in court on June ninth.

After the arraignment, he emerged from the courthouse to another chorus of jubilant cheers from his peers and teachers who had joined the crowd.

Moses Sulph, President, U.B. Student Body
?No comment sir.?

While the accused declined comment, his lawyer says Sulph is free to continue speaking out on national issues, as long as he is prepared to face the consequences.

Michael Peyrefitte, Defence Attorney
?Well everybody should be concerned. See there is no control over whatever the police want to charge you for. They could charge us right now, the five of us right now as an illegal gathering; we have no control over that. When they charge we ask for evidence, we ask them to substantiate that charge and then we move on. Fortunately and unfortunately the court is a very sombre building, it?s not about emotions, it?s not about rights, it?s not about national issues; it?s about the law and it?s about evidence, so when they charge they have to bring their evidence. So the police are the first line of defence for the state. If they in their opinion see that an offence has been committed, however small, they are going to charge.?

(Crowd cheering and carrying Sulph on their shoulders)

Patrick Jones, for News Five.

While Sulph is out on bail, a condition of his bail is that he has to report to the clerk of court every Friday.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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