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Jun 29, 2021

C.C.J. Stays Sentence and Upholds Appeal by Belizean Solomon Marin

The Caribbean Court of Justice has upheld an appeal by Belizean Solomon Marin Junior, who was sentenced to two concurrent terms of ten years; each after he was found guilty in 2006 of robbery and kidnapping.  In a hearing presided over by Justice Adrian Saunders, for a case presented by the attorney Anthony Sylvestre with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal as the respondent, Marin appealed the conviction and the sentences.  It took nine years for his appeal to be heard and Marin subsequently withdrew his appeal against the sentences, but maintained his appeal against the guilty verdict.  He argued that the delay between his conviction and his appeal hearing breached his fundamental right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time.  In reading the verdict of the appeal case, C.C.J. Justice Peter Jamadar stated in part: “It was declared that the right of the appellant, under Section Six of the Belize Constitution, to a fair hearing within a reasonable time by the excessive delay in the hearing and decision of his appeal to the Court of Appeal.  It was ordered that one, the appeal is allowed and two, a further enforcement of the sentences of imprisonment imposed on the appellant is permanently stayed.” Marin and his then seventeen-year-old cousin were charged for kidnapping Leon Castillo as he was leaving the First Caribbean Bank ATM in Belmopan.  Castillo identified the men during a police line-up and said they threatened him with a sawed off shotgun and forced him into the back seat of his own vehicle.  They then took him to a feeder road off the Hummingbird Highway, put the gun to his head and threatened to kill him. They eventually left him tied to a tree. Marin was found guilty while his co-defendant was acquitted.  According to News Five’s archives, a third man was never arrested for the incident which occurred on August of 2006.

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