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May 11, 2017

Magistrate Norman Rodriguez is Arraigned on Rape Charge

Norman Rodriguez

Magistrate Norman Rodriguez went to work early this morning at around seven- thirty to avoid the glare of the cameras waiting for his unprecedented appearance in court. But his arraignment for rape did not happen until hours later before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith, after which we were able to capture only seconds of his departure.  A Dangriga woman, his ex-girlfriend, claims the magistrate raped her in April, while he was presiding over matters in that jurisdiction.  Even as he has been arraigned for a very serious crime, the question tonight is if he will continue to sit in court. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Indicted Belize City Magistrate Norman Rodriguez beat a hasty retreat earlier today, away from the prying eyes of the media.  After being arraigned on a single charge of rape, the lower court judge hid from view by hanging around in the kitchenette on the lower floor of the building, before making his way back to the vacated courtroom of Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith.  His flight through the main entrance on Regent Street, after about forty-five minutes of waiting inside, was fast, but not fleeting enough to avoid a few seconds of footage of his getaway.


Rodriguez is the first law officer to be taken before a senior colleague on charges of wrongdoing.  He stands accused of sexually assaulting his ex-girlfriend, a twenty-seven-year-old resident of Dangriga, a few weeks ago.


Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“On the eleventh of April, he called me and then he tell me if I could meet he da fi he house fi mek we talk… Then he seh he wahn adjourn the case and then I tell ahn, “Okay then.”  And I tell ahn I noh have money fi come back eena taxi. So he seh noh worry ‘bout that.  So I tell ahn okay.  Then he tell me mek I text ahn when time ah di leff work.  So my boss dehn give me wahn ride outta town, then I gaan da ih house.  But by the time I reach da ih house he mi done reach home already and then when I gaan he open di gate fi me.  He done sih me di come and everything, he open di gate fi me and I gaan een and I sit down eena wahn chair weh ih have deh and then he seh dah only talk soh I sit down eena di chair and then he tell me come ya.  I tell ahn I noh want sex.  He seh come ya, at least do one thing fi me.  Then I tell ahn again, I noh want sex.  And then he tell me, put down my phone, because I have my phone eena my hand.  He tell me, put down my phone.  So I put down my phone slowly and then he grab my hand and then he hold me and he hug me, and when he hug me he try kiss me and I turned my face.  He grab me with ih hand and put back my face to his mouth and I turn back my face and then he hold me and then he ker me eena ih room.  He walk inside eena di room with me and he tek off, because his shirt mi done deh off already and he tek off my pants whichin I mih hold my belt and he tek off my pants and he insert…yeah.”


This morning, Rodriguez appeared before the presiding judge accompanied by a battery of lawyers, and was read one count of rape in relation to the alleged episode.  In court, the date on which the incident reportedly occurred is recorded as April twenty-first, a discrepancy in the date given by the complainant.


Interestingly, Rodriguez seemed to have been given preferential treatment as member of the judiciary.  When he arrived sometime after seven-thirty this morning, he was not escorted through the rear of the building where detainees are ferried.  Instead, he was allowed to slip into the courtroom through an alternate exit.


Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“He always tell me that he dah wahn magistrate, not even the police dehn could do he anything.”


And that may very well be true.  Unlike the average suspect, Rodriguez was not held inside a cell prior to his arraignment, nor was he subjected to the walk of shame on the verandah at the side of the building.  While the treatment may not be indicative of the outcome of the matter, we asked the alleged victim earlier this week what she wants to see happen.


Voice of: Alleged Rape Victim

“I wahn something happen because… I noh might be only me dehn could have a next target out deh and dah we young folks di try bring up this country and just mek we do something bout it.”


…and doing something about it seemingly requires more than just a statement.  It involves evidence that would prove that the woman was indeed assaulted, but that‘s the responsibility of the prosecutor.  Today, Rodriguez was granted bail in the sum of one thousand dollars, required to surrender his travel documents and return to court on August twenty-fourth for a preliminary inquiry.  The question at this point is whether the disgraced magistrate will vacate his seat on the bench, ahead of pending criminal matters scheduled for him to preside over. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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1 Response for “Magistrate Norman Rodriguez is Arraigned on Rape Charge”

  1. Marie says:

    Shame on you Rodriguez, if we expect these people to protect us and they are the same predators, there is no justice. The whole system needs to fire these acts. Forgot, there is no system. People use you need to start Street Justice

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