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Feb 25, 2020

How Can Belize Use MLAT in Investigating John Saldivar?

Eamon Courtenay

In requesting privileged information under MLAT, attorney Eamon Courtenay says that assurances are given by both countries on how the information would be used during an investigation, particularly if there is a trial that is ongoing on the other end of that request.  In the case against Lev Dermen and Jacob Kingston, Courtenay says that while Belize would not publish that information beforehand, it can be used to advance the investigation into John Saldivar.  He also outlines the laws that were possibly violated during those transgressions.


Eamon Courtenay, Attorney-at-law

“Assurances are given.  Information is handed over on the assurance that it will not be made public, it will not be used but you can use it for your investigation to see whether you can prosecute somebody without reliance on that.  It can point you in a direction where, you know, that evidence may lead you.  To be clear, in this particular case, transcripts of telephone numbers, the dates when they were made, wire transfers, withdrawals from bank accounts, bank statements, WhatsApp messages, text messages.  There are many things and the point of the matter is very simply, if we do not as a country see this to its logical conclusion, it will just be another Sanctuary Bay, it will just be another Citizen Kim and everybody will just say, to hell with it.  I take your point, we have to as Belizeans, as organizations, as political parties, draw a line and say we have to start somehow, somewhere.”


Ashanti Arthurs-Martin

Ashanti Arthurs-Martin, Attorney-at-law

“I think it is very important for the request to be made and I agree with you, it should be an exercise on the part of the U.S. government as the requested state to make the decision whether or not they would be prejudice if that request is fulfilled in that point in time.  Although from my perspective I think it would be very difficult to see what the prejudice would be because in any criminal proceedings disclosure has to come first.  And so the defendants in those proceedings, Lev Dermen and Jacob Kingston would have already received all the evidence that U.S. prosecutors have in relation to allegations as against them.  And for me as well, the scope of our investigation would really be as it pertains to persons in Belize because under the MLAT  we can only pursue investigation in relation to offenses committed in Belize, so it‘s persons who have committed offenses here.”

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