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Jan 8, 2020

Former Inmate Wins Case Against Belize Central Prison

A former inmate of the Belize Central Prison successfully sued the prison for negligence after he was violently raped twice while behind bars.  Forty-three-year-old Kenroy Cooke was arraigned and charged with two counts of unnatural act and one count of harm.  The incident occurred on the twenty-fifth and the twenty-ninth of November 2017.  The victim filed a civil suit against the Kolbe Foundation which manages the Belize Central Prison on the basis that the prison’s administration failed to provide safety and security after the first incident was recorded.  Justice Shona Griffith ruled that the prison was negligent and was at fault in not protecting the inmate. Attorney for the claimant, Anthony Sylvestre recounted the facts of the case.


Anthony Sylvestre

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney for Claimant

“In the first instance on the twenty fifth of November it occurred over sometime after one, nearing two o’clock in the morning. He was awoken by him being in a headlock and subsequently he passed out and when he woke he realized that he was in fact actually raped. He brought this to the attention of a prison offer later on in the morning when there was a change of duty. The prison officer rather than bring it to the attention of the authorities he in fact actually did nothing but merely gave the claimant, inmate a couple ibuprofens. In court the prison officer said that he gave him the ibuprofens, the pain killers because the claimant said that he had a toothache. The judge did not believe that. The judge believed the claimant that in fact he explained to the prison that he was in pain but certainly not by virtue of a toothache but having been raped anally. So the prison officer did not do anything and so he remained in that same cell being housed with the same prisoner. Four or five days later he was again in the early morning raped by this prisoner again. He was asleep and he was awoken being forcibly raped. At that time he retaliated and it was at this time that it was brought to the attention of everyone. To the prison facility credit, the prison offer who the claimant had reported the incident to he was fired from early. He was terminated immediately. So clearly and from that we were able to establish that as well the claimant was in fact telling the truth when he said that he had informed the prison officer. The learned trial judge in her judgment explained that she believe the claimant totally. She believed everything that the claimant had said.”

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