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Jul 21, 2021

Charges Brought Against Meighan Family for Monday Night Mayhem

Sixty-one-year-old Norris Meighan joins his son and two others in being charged equally for the chaos that ensued on Monday night in Belize City.  After being held in police custody for the past forty-two hours, the father and son duo of Dean and Dylan Belisle, along with Romario Meighan, who was celebrating his birthday, were taken before the lower court where they were arraigned.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Charges have been brought against three men who were involved in the mayhem that erupted on Queen Charlotte Street on Monday night.  The offences were allegedly committed when a team of GI3 officers visited the property of Norris Meighan Sr. while they were wrapping up a birthday celebration for his younger son.  This afternoon, twenty-seven-year-old Romario Meighan, twenty-one-year-old Dylan Belisle and his father, forty-six-year-old Dean Belisle appeared before Chief Magistrate Sharon Fraser where they were read two counts pertaining to social gathering, as well as assaulting a police officer.  Attorneys Herbert Panton and Norman Rodriguez are representing the trio of men.


Herbert Panton

Herbert Panton, Attorney-at-law

“If you notice, the charge was specific with regards to hosting a party with persons outside of your household.  It had nothing to do with wearing masks, it had nothing to do with social distancing and there’s the additional charge of assaulting a police officer and that of harm.  But anyone looking at this, and by the way, all three of my clients are relatives, they are all family.”


That was the point being made by the elder Meighan to the officers who came to detain them at the residence.  While Romario lives on Queen Charlotte Street and his cousin and uncle are of different addresses, they all share the same location for business as fishermen.


Herbert Panton

“Anyone looking at these videos that have been floating around social media will see that three persons cannot in any way subdue six truckloads of police officers.  So it’s a simple matter of the approach the police chose to take.  There’s one particular video where Mr. Meighan was already seated in the vehicle, not doing a thing, and the officer decides that Mr. Meighan needed a chokehold.”


It was that unnecessary restraint that escalated the situation, resulting in bedlam with warning shots being fired.


Norman Rodriguez

Norman Rodriguez, Attorney-at-Law

“We’re at a state in this society where there’s frustration on both sides, the police and the regular citizens.  That is definitely not the goal, the goal is for police and the citizens to be in a good relationship so that policing can function in this country.  The general view of the people I have spoken to is that the police, some police officers take a certain approach when they go in to do their jobs.  In this case, from my instructions, I believe that it could have been done differently, if what I have heard is true.”


It’s a sentiment that is shared by the head of the Meighan family.


Norman Meighan Sr.

Isani Cayetano

“Looking back at what took place here last night, could this have been handled differently on your end and on the police’s end so that it wouldn’t have resulted in that big melee that took place?”


Norman Meighan Sr., Resident, Queen Charlotte Street

“Of course, I am… two things came to my mind last night, right.  Now how could have handled it differently?  I explained to the man that it was a family gathering, it’s mostly family.  Now, I think the leadership of the police and I sit down and I say, even at the headquarters where they took them, why have you brought these people here, what was the problem?”


That issue could have perhaps been resolved with the issuance of tickets for the alleged offenders.  From Panton’s point of view, the situation could have been much worse had there been no cameras recording the incident.


Herbert Panton

“If there were not so many people videoing on that night, because remember, a weapon had already been drawn.  We could have perhaps been here with a totally different outcome.  It has to be that if de-escalation is not in the armory of the police department, then it has to get there post haste.  It’s as simple as that.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.


Romario Meighan, Dean Belisle and Dylan Belisle have all pleaded not guilty to the offenses.  They were each granted bail in the sum of eight hundred dollars and are to return to the magistrate’s court on September twenty-second.  News Five was informed earlier by attorney Orson Elrington that his client, Norris Meighan Senior, was also being processed and charged for his alleged role in the melee.  He is also set to appear before Chief Magistrate Sharon Fraser.

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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