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Jan 30, 2018

Complainant No-Shows, Freeing Jafari Castro and Others of Harm Charge

For a few days last August, the beating of university student Kevin Brown on Ambergris Caye on the night of August sixth was all anyone would talk about. Brown was hit with a fire extinguisher, causing him to go unconscious, and kicked about, all because of a piece of jewelry. Police stumbles and fumbles led to questions about whether anyone would be charged, and eventually, the younger son of Government Minister Edmund Castro, twenty-one year old Jafari Castro, along with Gilbert Franklin Junior and James Young Junior were, for harm. But barely six months later, it all fell apart when Brown failed to show up for the start of trial on Monday. News Five’s Aaron Humes spoke to Richard “Dickie” Bradley, attorney for two of the former accused, for the inside story on how it all came down.


Aaron Humes, Reporting

Police said they had surveillance footage. They had statements from witnesses. They even had a potential motive. But on Monday, they didn’t have Kevin Brown in court to testify. And that, said Richard “Dickie” Bradley today, made all the difference for his clients.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley

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

“Yesterday was set down by the trial court as the date for trial, and the complainant, according to the police, did not show, and I’m not quite clear if any other witness had in fact attempted to appear but we saw no one. And you can’t disrespect the court; when the court sets a date for trial, there has to be good explanations as to why an adjournment should be given. If there is nothing forthcoming to a Magistrate in a summary trial, then the Magistrate is within the authority to say, ‘I set aside my whole day to deal with this matter; no witness has come; nobody bring a letter from a doctor, nobody bring anything,’ so a Magistrate would be fully within her authority and jurisdiction to say, obviously they don’t want to pursue the matter.”


Kevin Brown

And that is what Senior Magistrate Aretha Ford did on the urging of Castro’s attorney, Herbert Panton. But considering all the hype surrounding the case and its participants, one wonders if those who rushed to judgment last August may have spoken too soon. Bradley expressed supreme confidence in a potential positive outcome based on a look at Brown’s police statement, which has very little to say.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“It’s one thing to say all kind of thing out on street and call talk show and say all kind of thing, but when it comes to the courts you have to have proof, you have to have evidence. Now I can share with you and your viewers that in relation to the complainant – who had been badly injured and who had to be hospitalized, who is one of the good guys in society – in fact, now that we had the disclosure and saw his testimony, he was on the island, he was with his friends. And the next thing he remembered, he was waking up in the hospital. So he can’t say what happened – absolutely can’t say if anybody hit him, if anybody threw something at him, he can’t say anything. And he would be the complainant, so you need to bear that in mind. There may be somebody else who may be saying that I saw A do so and so – in relation to Minister Castro’s son, in fairness to that young man, there is absolutely no evidence that he did anything. He was with a group of young men, there was hard talk with another group of young men, and this unfortunate incident occurred.”


According to Bradley, Brown made no connection to any of the three former co-accused. And so, despite his own very friendly relations with the media, it was a case of ‘I told you so,’ though he did not use those precise words. Here’s how he put it.


Richard “Dickie” Bradley

“As you may know, being a member of the media, the media had basically tried the persons and found them guilty, and now they must in fact apologize to themselves and to the family members for doing that. We live in a new world, where there is now access to social media, and when people can get their own personal views or information that they think or believe is accurate, and they put these things out and then they comment on it and it grows and multiplies. But where the courts of the country are concerned, where the laws are concerned, when it’s time for trial, it’s evidence that we go by – not hearsay, not yeri-so, not your personal likes or dislikes, what you know, what you think you know, that does not enter into the courtrooms of the country and that is an important matter to bear in mind. Let us withhold our judgment until we have the facts, because it’s unfair to people to for us judge them completely and then condemn them, when in fact most of the people doing so don’t have access to the facts.”


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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