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Feb 5, 2019

Pook Brothers Out on Bail for 2011 Murder of Taxi Man

A trio of brothers, who had been behind bars for the 2011 murder of taxi man Errol Ferguson, was released today on bail. Though they have not been found guilty, they have served eight years behind bars. Justice has been delayed for Michael, Ryan and Adrian Pook who were tried in 2015 and remained in jail awaiting decision. Trial Judge Troadio Gonzalez, however, retired before delivering a judgment opening the opportunity for the siblings to seek bail. Last Friday, in similar circumstances Curtis Lamb, accused murderer, was granted forty thousand dollars bail after waiting for a decision for two years after the judge departed the bench.  Disturbingly, the case of the Pook brothers came up for retrial today, but somehow there was also no court record for a decision in their 2015 trial, which prompted their lawyers to seek bail. Attorneys Leslie Mendez and Leeroy Banner will also be seeking to strike out the case.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A trio of brothers, accused of the murder of Errol Ferguson on May 5th, 2011, is the latest to be released on bail having spent almost eight years in prison.  Siblings Michael, Ryan and Adrian Pook were indicted before former Chief Magistrate Margaret Gabb McKenzie one day after taxi driver Errol ‘Lighta’ Ferguson was fatally stabbed and have been incarcerated at the Belize Central Prison ever since.  Despite the matter being heard before the Supreme Court almost four and a half years later and concluded by mid-December 2015, the outcome of the trial is unknown.  That’s because retired Justice Troadio Gonzalez failed to deliver a verdict before departing the bench in January 2017.  The fate of the brothers’ imprisonment has remained up in the air, notwithstanding a recent motion to have them retried for the crime they allegedly committed.  That was until this afternoon when they appeared before Justice Colin Williams.  Represented by attorneys Leeroy Banner and Leslie Mendez, at no charge, an application for bail was entered on the grounds that there is no documentation for why the case against the Pooks should be reheard, neither is there any paperwork indicating the result of the initial trial.

Traodio Gonzalez

Having heard the submission, Justice Williams granted bail in the sum of twenty-five thousand dollars each.  In the days ahead, the legal team will also be making a submission for the matter to be permanently shelved or struck out due to the length of time it has taken before the court.  At the time of the Pook brothers trial, Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith relied heavily on a statement provided to police by Altreed Williams who claimed to have witnessed Michael chop Ferguson twice in the head, while Ryan and Adrian stabbed him in the chest.  Williams, now deceased, became a hostile witness before the conclusion of the case and subsequently recanted his statement.

Bail for the siblings comes with conditions which include checking in at the Mahogany Street Precinct once a week.  Likewise, they cannot leave the jurisdiction without notifying the court.  Their lawyers go back to court on March sixth to make oral arguments for the striking out of the case.  Of note, this is the second case that was presided over by former Justice Troadio Gonzalez which has ended with an accused killer, in this case accused killers, being freed on bail.  It succeeds the release of Curtis Lamb who was granted bail of forty thousand dollars last Friday. 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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