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Dec 4, 2002

Sears found guilty of murder

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Belize’s death penalty may be under assault from the European Union and a collection of local and foreign human rights groups…but that has not stopped the legal system from bringing criminals to justice. Today a major trial concluded in the Supreme Court and News 5′s Marion Ali was on hand for the verdict.

Marion Ali, Reporting

Today, a twelve member jury unanimously found twenty-five year old Hillaire Sears guilty of murder. It took the jury just over three hours to convict him in the March eighteenth, 2001 killing if Rodwell Neal at his Kraal Road apartment.

Sears’ attorney, Lutchman Sooknandan, blames the jury’s verdict on the public’s intolerance for serious crimes.

Lutchman Sooknandan, Defence Attorney

“I do believe that this is the say of crying for someone need to be hanged has influenced this situation here today. That is the public opinion. Though I even asked them not to take the public view into consideration, I do believe it had an impact on this trial… The evidence was full of inconsistency, grave inconsistency. I’m surprised at this verdict.”

Marion Ali

“Give me an example of the vagueness.”

Lutchman Sooknandan

“There was the first witness who testified, Miss Michelle Milligan, and when I asked under cross examination, she did not answer the question at all; she stalled.”

The displeased attorney says he will appeal the verdict. As for Prosecutor, Oswald Twist, he attributes the victory to the strength of the evidence.

Oswald Twist, Crown Counsel

“There was the circumstantial evidence from two witness who actually saw the accused during the said morning, two eyewitness apart from the witness who actually saw the shooting, that is Miss Milligan; she was the crucial person.”

Reporting for News 5, Marion Ali.

Trial Judge Christopher Blackman will pass sentence on Monday after a mitigation plea is taken from Sears’ attorney. The maximum sentence for murder is death by hanging.

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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