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Jul 4, 2017

Orlando Vera wait continues; court pushes decision on bail to Friday

Orlando Vera

A ballistics examiner employed with the National Forensic Science Service is still awaiting the result of a second application for bail following his conviction for abetment to perverting the course of justice. Orlando Vera was jailed for two years by Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith following trial in the Magistrate’s Court. He was recorded telling Belmopan businessman Michael Modiri that he could help him win his gun case by tampering with evidence to cause the prosecution’s case to crumble. Vera immediately planned an appeal to the Supreme Court. But the settling of the record of appeal was late and incomplete, and Vera’s attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, told us that his client should not have to wait out what will almost certainly be a delayed process before the inferior appeal is heard.


Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Orlando Vera

Anthony Sylvestre

“My submission basically to court was that: if you look at the record of appeal that was provided, there is a law, the Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) Act, that says all records of court proceedings is supposed to be in the custody of the clerk of court. So when she prepared the record of appeal and that day’s proceedings was not present, it would have led or given one immediately the impression that she would not have necessarily had those day’s proceedings in her custody. So we came back to court and we made further arguments to say, look: based on what the law is – the clear provision of Section one-forty – and other developments, there really cannot be produced at this time, a regular record of appeal; that whatever is sought to be given would be irregular, which is to say that it would not be in accordance with the strict provision of the Summary Jurisdiction (Procedure) Act, in relation to how records of proceedings are to be kept and where they should be kept and who should have custody of them. This afternoon’s proceedings, we made submissions; the Crown requested a further adjournment and so the matter was further adjourned again. This point being made to the court is that when this matter first came up, there was this suggestion that this thing could be dealt with very quickly, and so a timeline of the tenth of July was set. Now clearly we have gone past that, because in addition to the fact that we, in our view, haven’t received a proper record of appeal, the tenth is next week Monday, and we would also, by virtue of the law, be entitled to an additional fourteen days to file grounds of appeal and take other steps; so clearly we’ve long gone past the tenth of July. And none of these issues which are affecting, which are delaying the hearing of the appeal, are caused by Mr. Vera, the appellant; so he should not be the one who ought to suffer the brunt of whatever administrative difficulties there may be in having everything being ready and being able to be fast-tracked as was put to the Supreme Court as way back as the eighth of June would have been the case.”

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