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Aug 29, 2019

Major drug trial implicating two lawmen is adjourned; Police’s Prosecution Attorney on sick leave

A major and sensational drug case in which a high ranking police officer and a constable have been charged came up today in the Orange Walk courts.  The trial of former Officer Commanding the Orange Walk Police Formation, Superintendent David Chi, Police Constable Norman Anthony and the two Mexicans, Eli Figueroa Nunez and Azarias Manzano, all accused of playing a role in the landing of a drug plane on September ninth, 2018, was scheduled for the Magistrate’s Court this morning. They are accused in respect of the aircraft that landed in the Tres Leguas area of Blue Creek carrying twenty-six bales of cocaine. It was suspected that the plane originated from Venezuela. Initially, both Mexican nationals and Peter Friesen Junior were arrested. They were later charged for importing drugs into Belize and drug trafficking. Soon after, Superintendent David Chi and Officer Norman Anthony were placed on administrative leave and eventually indicted for their alleged involvement. But in May of this year, Peter Friesen was freed and charges against the other four men were reduced. They are now accused of conspiring to landing the plane. The Director of Public Prosecution then handed the conduct of the trial to the police’s prosecution branch meaning that the trial would not take place in the Supreme Court but that it would be heard in the Orange Walk Magistrate Court, which has jurisdiction where the crime took place. That was scheduled for today, but was adjourned.  Dalila Ical reports.

 

Dalila Ical, Reporting

Superintendent David Chi and Police Constable Norman Anthony showed up this morning at the Orange Walk Magistrate Court for trial. Viewers may recall that both officers were granted and met a hefty bail of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars each on September 20th, 2018. The other two men, Mexican nationals Eli Figueroa Nunez and Azarias Manzano who have remained imprisoned, were not present. The trial, however, did not proceed. Senior Magistrate Patricia Arana was informed that the police’s prosecution attorney Alifa Elrington was on sick leave until August thirtieth.

 

Attorneys representing both Chi and Anthony were also a no-show. Attorney Dickie Bradley was present on their behalf.

 

Dickie Bradley, Attorney at Law

Dickie Bradley

“The attorney for the Police prosecution is unable to be present today and presented a paper confirming that situation. The situation is that I am holding brief for Leroy Banner who represents Officer Anthony and David Chi is represented by David Morales. My understanding is that the Mexicans are seeking representation but they were not even brought to court today which is of course unfair to them especially because they are foreigners as accused persons in this very serious matter and having been in prison for almost a year, they have a right to be present at their hearing if it’s even just to inform them that we were not able to start today because the prosecution had a small glitch.”

 

Under the circumstances, and given the importance of the case, Bradley requested the adjournment date to be as early as possible. Senior Magistrate Arana decided that the trial will begin on September twenty-sixth.

 

Bradley says it is only fair that the trial gets underway soon, especially as it concerns the Mexican nationals who have remained imprisoned for almost a year.

Dickie Bradley

“Our supreme court has started to stand up for the right of persons who are protected by the constitution and they are entitled to a fair trial  within a reasonable time and two years, three years, five years, seven years, ten years, cannot be a reasonable time. So if they don’t get themselves ready the next time we come I am sure the lawyers will be pulling out the criminal procedure rules and pointing out to the magistrate who is very strict in relation to adherence to the rules but both sides, so that is an option that I am sure the other attorneys are looking at.”


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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