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Jul 18, 2019

What’s Next If Court Admits Caution Statement?

Bryan Neal

The case of the five accused murderers, including Terrence and Keiron Fernandez, Ashton Vanegas as well as William “Danny” Mason and Ernest Castillo, had been on hold for many reasons. Among the delays were changes in legal representation, and non-appearances of both witnesses and attorneys.  Mason was finally able to secure legal representation from Dexter Todd, an attorney from Guyana. Today, we asked attorneys Bryan Neal and Norman Rodriguez about what is next if the court admits a statement from one of the accused in which he takes the rap and if trial delays may have an effect on the delivery of justice.

 

Bryan Neal, Attorney

“Whatever happens as a result of this statement will not be admissible and Norman Rodriguez can confirm those legal principles.”

 

Duane Moody

“Give us a little more details on that, Mister Rodriguez. What happens if this statement by Mister Ernest Castillo accepting that he was the one that committed the heinous murder; what happens to the other accused men?”

 

Norman Rodriguez

Norman Rodriguez, Attorney

“I think you should best answer that.”

 

Bryan Neal

“Well as I have said, it cannot be used as evidence against another co-accused. I am not commenting specifically on this case, but as a matter of law, confessions made by one co-accused cannot be used against another.”

 

Duane Moody

“Sir essentially what I am trying to get at is that all of these have been charged with murder. So if one is taking the blame, does that mean that the others are freed of the charge? Do they get charged for conspiracy to commit murder? What is it that would then happen to the other accused men because if one is taking the blame then it would mean that the others are free?”

 

Bryan Neal

“After the voir dire is completed, we then get back into the main trial, we hear all of the other evidence which has not gone before the courts so I really can’t comment. Once all of that is totalled, if this caution statement is a part of all of the evidence at the end of the day, the judge will weigh the evidence because she is the tribunal of fact and law and she will come to a final determination. So I really can’t say.”

 

Duane Moody

“But that is what you guys want to get?”

 

Bryan Neal

“Well I am hoping for a not guilty for my client yes.”

 

Norman Rodriguez

“Remember that the voir dire addresses only the caution statement. So once the judge has given her decision, we move into the remainder of the trial.”

 

Duane Moody

“But that caution statement is a key evidence for the defense when it comes to the other four persons because that would be the thing that helps you with your arguments for your clients? Am I not right?”

 

Norman Rodriguez

“It is a key evidence for the person who is accused of giving the caution statement.”

 

Bryan Neal

“Justice must be given very swiftly and therefore this has been taking a while and we will look at that at the appropriate time and the issue would then be whether the delays contributed to an unfair trial. And at this point, I am not prepared to say that but if at some point it needs to be looked at, we will look at it.”

 

Approximately twelve witnesses were cross-examined by both the defense and the prosecution during the voir dire which commenced in March and concluded today. Back in July of 2016, the severed head of Pastor Llewellyn Lucas was discovered in Mason’s pick-up truck at a bar in Belmopan and the burnt remains discovered on his ranch. Police had found Mason and his co-accused at the bar socializing.


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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