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Aug 16, 2017

3 Arraigned for Beating of Kevin Brown; Court Simmers with Tension

James Young Jr., Jafari Castro & Gilbert Franklin Jr.

There was high drama in the Magistrate Court today when twenty-one-year-old Jafari Castro of Maskall , the son of Minister Edmond “Clear the Land” Castro, eighteen-year-old construction worker Gilbert Franklin Junior of Burrell Boom, and twenty-one-year-old James Young Junior, a boat captain of Belize City, were each read a single charge of harm this afternoon before Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer.  Each pleaded not guilty and were offered and met bail of one thousand five hundred dollars each, on the condition that they surrender their travel documents, seek emergency permission to leave the country if they wish; and stay away from complainant Kevin Brown. They are accused of beating the university student with a fire extinguisher at Banana Beach Resort on Ambergris Caye on August fifth over a piece of jewelry.  But what would ordinarily be a simple arraignment became, as Aaron Humes reports, a clash between the Castro family supporting their son and the press, whom they feel are blowing the matter out of all proportion.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Tension simmered at the Magistrate’s Court for close to two hours this afternoon. After the arrivals of eighteen-year-old Gilbert Franklin Junior and twenty-one-year-olds James Young Junior and Jafari Castro to face charges of harm on Kevin Brown, members of the Castro family in particular arrived in a take-no-prisoners mood. Both cameramen for this station and our colleagues at KREM Television had hands shoved in front of their camera, in the former case by the smiling accused himself as he was walking into the cell block. Even the news that the younger son of Government Minister Edmond Castro would remain free pending trial failed to assuage their wrath. The case, says attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley, is about star power.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney for Gilbert Franklin Jr. and James Young Jr.

“The Senior Magistrate, who is in fact holding over as Chief Magistrate of the country, has said to them, ‘the news is reporting’ – whether it is true or not, what I am going to do is to order you to surrender your travel documents, and you would need permission if you wish to leave the jurisdiction. Now in the case of Gilbert Franklin and James Young they have no intention to flee the jurisdiction – this matter has been on the news for many days; if they wanted to go they could have gone; James can’t go because he doesn’t have a passport, but as a boat captain he knows how to find Miami, so there is no risk of that happening but she said out of an abundance of caution. And you all know; the reason why the whole country’s media – looks like a dozen of you out here – is that this matter is only on the news is that my friend, Minister Castro’s son, his name is being called over and over; that is the only reason. The other restrictions that the Magistrate imposed are the regular restrictions; they are not to interfere with the witness in the matter.”


Bradley is referring to Senior Magistrate Sharon Frazer’s decision to order his clients, Franklin and Young, as well as Castro who is represented by Herbert Panton, to surrender their travel documents – Young, who has none, cannot apply for any – due to news reports that Franklin and Castro’s brother Wasani had left the country before police issued warrants for the younger Castro and both Franklin and Young. As for the case itself, Bradley suggested that it was Brown who may have instigated the whole incident and that the order to avoid contact works both ways.


Kevin Brown

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“This matter arose out of some dispute over jewelry; I know, because the family shared with me that in fact Gilbert Franklin had expensive gold jewelry on his hand which somebody grabbed and it [went] missing. And that may have been one of the causes of the event. However they have told me that it was the other side which went to the resort where they were and started what was a second problem. And I would imagine that cuts both ways, because the families are making some complaints which I won’t say here; but it should be reciprocal in relation to that matter; but that is a regular requirement of your bail condition, that you are not to interfere with witnesses.”


Bradley and Panton also contend that police appear to have enough evidence to proceed with summary trial after the disclosure date of October eighteenth.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“It is, in the scheme of things, one single charge, which would have to be supported by a medical report to say that a harm has been committed on the complainant, so in relation to the mater I would suspect – I’ve not seen any medical report, we haven’t got the disclosure as yet – but October would be a reasonable period to at least have disclosure and the Senior Magistrate did make an order to the court officials to say that by that date you should be able to have disclosure. But you would know that disclosure depends on the result of an investigation, and in some cases, police are always investigating, because a witness may come forward, or the surveillance tape, when they look very clearly they might recognize that …was lurking around the area  – they might want a statement from him. So the court procedure has its own way of playing itself out. But clearly the rules and the regulations is, and I think the Chief Justice has said this, when you go and take a citizen and charge them, you must be ready to bring your facts within a reasonable time.”


Aaron Humes reporting for News Five.

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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2 Responses for “3 Arraigned for Beating of Kevin Brown; Court Simmers with Tension”

  1. Clute says:

    Dickie, you know what, I’ve called you an “Ambulance Chaser” before and I will continue to call you so. You’ve become so despicable and the only reason why I’ll reserve more comments for you is that even though your son and I don’t see each other much, I can see that he has some level of respect for myself and my younger sibling, I guess due to the nature of my parent also. I hope he distances himself from you because he seems such a cool young man. Is business that bad for you? I don’t wish any harm to you nor anyone but until you feel what some families feel maybe you’ll change your course. Remember the history of the Bible of Saul and Pharaoh? Talk to Ralph Fonseca. Everyone has to make a living, but “Jesus Christ” have some conscience. Maybe it can start by doing right at Western Pines , and you know exactly what I’m talking about. Damn, you make me sick! I was privy to sit in on a case on a recent visit to Belize, just out of curiousity. No wonder people get off and cases get thrown out; the jurors are limited in vocabulary, the policemen are ignorant and illiterate, even the lawyers can’t deliver. God! What has happened to Belize? The educational system is terrible! Castro, your two sons are going to go to “the well” one time too many. They aren’t hard to find and you can only defend their transgressions so many times. We already know where the other one is and believe me, you nor anyone else will be able to protect him if he comes out here and act a clown.

  2. carlos says:

    Why Mr Bradley don’t find another way to do a good job, like get involved in making Belize progress economically instead of defending criminals. A lot of people know the bad behavior of the Castro’s brothers, yet you waste time defending them. Is it for the dirty money?

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