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Feb 2, 2023

Final Testimonies in Manslaughter Case in Shooting Death of Laddie Gillett

Today, the final witnesses in the manslaughter trial against former Corporal of Police Kareem Martinez appeared in the Supreme Court before Justice Antoinette Moore and the defence closed its case after six days of court proceedings and seventeen witnesses presented by the crown. Written and closing submissions from Oscar Selgado will be submitted on February tenth, 2023 and the Crown Counsel Javier Chan will make his submissions on February twenty-second. Final oral submissions will tentatively be done on March fourteenth, possibly in Belize City. News Five’s Duane Moody reports as the trial concluded.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Today’s session was about the defense opening its case in the manslaughter trial against former police officer Kareem Martinez. But before that happened, attorney Oscar Selgado recalled witness, PC Claude Augustine; he is the driver of the police vehicle on the night of Laddie’s shooting death. During that time, Selgado presented a statement made by Augustine a few days after the shooting, as well as the firearm logbook of the Placencia Police Station, to reveal that the police officer carried a police-issued gun and a personal firearm on his person when they responded to the distress call at the Placencia Beach Club on the night of July fourteenth, 2021. Fully conscious that the matter is still before the court, attorney Oscar Selgado spoke to the media about the defense theory.


Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Kareem Martinez

“The crown will prove to the court through its seventeen witnesses that Kareem Martinez acted unlawfully and without justification. That is the entire case for the crown. The crown had attempted to use the witnesses to prove that when Kareem Martinez fired his weapon, he did so unlawfully and without lawful justification. The defense has called one witness, but the defense had cross-examined all of the witnesses that were called by the prosecution. And I think that we have been able to establish firstly that Kareem Martinez and all the police that responded to the call from a security guard on the relevant date were acting in their lawful capacity as agents of the state.”


That single witness for the defense was PC Irene Augustine, the diarist who was working at the Placencia Police Station.  She was responsible for the logs placed within the police personnel logbook, as well as the firearm logbook between four p.m. and twelve midnight on July fourteenth – these were entered into evidence. But the defense opened its case with Justice Moore reading the accused his rights; Kareem Martinez chose to give a dock statement which is an unsworn statement where no questions could be asked, but the judge can consider what he says when making her decision.


Oscar Selgado

“He said that it was with this in mind, the call that persons were in the area and one of them was suspicious and suspected to have had a firearm so he responded with high alert, vigilance that a person carried a firearm. He said he saw something with a shine, a flash. At this time, the police did not recognise who they were, did not know who they were – whether they were children, whether they were adults – so the police acted with reasonable suspicion. And that is the catchword in law – reasonable suspicion. We out here, after the fact, can say it was unlawful, it was etcetera, but what is important to the judge as the trial of fact.”


Dickie Bradley

Dickie Bradley, Attorney-at-law

“Nobody is saying that there were more than one shots fired. There is no evidence that more than one shell was found on the scene because shortly after the young man was pronounced dead at the polyclinic in Placencia, Officer Choco was brought into the picture. He takes Corporal Martinez, the accused, to the scene where this unfortunate incident occurred. They did a search – no doubt Corporal Martinez will say this and where I was and where I was standing and what had happened and so on. But this trial, there is no way the facts can be contorted because one shell was found, not long after a shot was fired. That’s the first thing. So if that officer, who you are referring to, who was really attempting to deceive and confuse the court, if he had taken fi he two John Wayne gun dehn and wah rifle, it noh make no difference because every person who was present, including the beach club security officer – who kicked off this whole thing by calling for police because he had seen people prowling around – no witness who was present has said there were two bangs, there were three bangs. These are police officers, you know, they know gunshot sound from fire cracker. So in terms of evidence, which has not been refuted, not even challenge – one shot, one kill. A shot goes off, according to one of the witnesses, and the young man fell face down.”


Laddie’s father Emil Bradley says he wants justice for his son.


Emil Bradley

Emil Bradley, Father of Laddie Gillett

“Why so much lies? I am very disappointed in these four police officers who were working that shift that night. The least they could have done is come out and tell the truth.  It clearly shows how they are covering up for each other. The amount of irregularities that have been conducted by these police officers. Man, there was an officer in there – I am sure the people responsible to ensure that they get discipline, I will wait and to see the outcome. I noh want make no noise yet. I want see and I expect action to be taken against these officers.”


Attorney Selgado says that the law must be applied to the facts.


Oscar Selgado

“There are posters all over the place with Justice for Laddie, all these things to remind the judge that as the Trier of fact, she must divest herself from any emotion. No emotion for Laddie, no emotion for Corporal Martinez. Law is reason free from passion, free from emotions so that the judge must apply only what was said in the court and not what is seen on a television, not what is read in a newspaper, not what is seen on a bulletin board elsewhere on a sign somewhere.”


Dickie Bradley

“The evidence is in, my view, the evidence is strong. The judge is going to go over it, over and over as she always does and apply the law every step of the way.”

Duane Moody for News Five.

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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