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Mar 14, 2023

Final Oral Submission in Manslaughter Case for Laddie Gillett

It was widely circulated over the weekend that the verdict in the manslaughter trial against Kareem Martinez would have been handed down today by Justice Antoinette Moore in the Supreme Court here in Belize City. But that did not happen; in fact, it was oral closing submissions that were to be heard before the judge this morning. That too did not happen. In fact, Justice Moore recalled Firearms Examiner Sherilee Lino to the stand. Lino testified back on January thirtieth of this year in the Dangriga Supreme Court before either side had closed their case. In today’s session, Lino was questioned about the trajectory of a bullet before the crown, Prosecutor Javier Chan, gave closing statement. Interestingly, defence attorney Oscar Selgado opted not to, but it was revealed during Chan’s statement that the defence is claiming that another officer fired the deadly shot. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Emil Bradley

Emil Bradley, Father of Laddie Gillett

“That’s his role, Mister Selgado, as the defence attorney to try and create doubt within Justice Moore’s mind. He could jump high, he could jump low, he could say weh ih want, the point is there was only one evidence of only one shot that has been fired and that shot was fired from the issued gun by Kareem.”


Duane Moody, Reporting

During his closing statement in the manslaughter case against former police corporal Kareem Martinez, Crown Counsel Javier Chan revealed that defence attorney Oscar Selgado, in his written closing submission, is suggesting to the court that Police Constable Claude Augustine may have fired the deadly shot that killed Laddie Gillett.  PC Augustine was one of the three officers who responded to the scene that tragic night along with Corporal Martinez and PC Pop.


Dickie Bradley

Dickie Bradley, Attorney-at-law

“There is no evidence in the court that more than one shot was fired. Please remember that police officers who are trained and the accused, who is a corporal and who had been issued with a firearm, that nobody has said in court, there is no evidence of two important things; one that a shot was fired in the air. The accused has said to the court in his written admission and in his dock statement, which is not full evidence but the judge will give it whatever weight she feels it deserves, he has said he took out his police-issued firearm and fired one shot at an angle of ten feet in the air. The defence is saying and submitted that it is – this is an incredible piece of submission – it is Police Constable Augustine who shot.”


Oscar Selgado

Oscar Selgado, Attorney for Kareem Martinez

“I am telling you that is the evidence and I cannot comment on the evidence. And I don’t know how you would know. I did not give the media a glimpse of my closing submission; that was for the court only and that is why I didn’t want the prosecution or anybody to comment on it because you were there in the court, you heard what you heard, but the matter is before the court. I will not breach the ethics of the profession to comment on it as other attorneys have done. But what is before the court is what is before the court and if I don’t get what I expect, I will go to the Court of Appeal.”


Today, ballistics expert Sherilee Lino, a crown witness, was recalled to the stand. It was for the judge to get some clarity as it relates to trajectory. She asked if it is possible that a bullet fired in the air could hit someone in the back if they are standing. While her knowledge of trajectory is limited, Lino said that it is possible given environmental factors such as wind and gravity – but that it would normally hit on the head or shoulder if the person is standing. Following today’s proceedings, attorney Dickie Bradley explained what the forensic pathologist shared in his statement about the trajectory of the bullet based on the evidence from the post-mortem.


Kareem Martinez

Dickie Bradley

“Doctor Lloyden Ken, who is a pathologist; he is a scientist in these matters, did a post-mortem in the presence of a police officer and his findings are that Laddie Gillett was shot through his back forty-seven centimetres from his head and that bullet exited his chest forty-three centimetres from the head, so that the bullet is going slightly up – through the back and through the chest – one bullet. The evidence is that the officers who were chasing Laddie Gillett, who were close to Laddie, when they heard the bang, Laddie fell face down and never moved. There is no seconds or millimetres of seconds, whatever it is; that’s the evidence in a court of law. A doctor found – not a bullet in the shoulder, not a bullet in the back at an angle coming out of the air. The shot was fired horizontally based on what the doctor said.”

Gillett’s family was of the opinion early today that a ruling would have been handed down. While that did not happen, they remain hopeful, but confident at the same time, that they will get justice.


Lucy Fleming, Grandmother of Laddie Gillett

“I still feel very hopeful, as the whole family feels hopeful and I think the nation feels hopeful that we will find justice for Laddie. But I believe that she is a very thorough justice and she really wants to make sure that she has everything in place before she makes her call.”


Emil Bradley

“I feel very confident that we will get a conviction. Like I said, today, we are very anxious because it is either or either, but we have faith and we have hope that it will come our way and we will get justice, partial justice for Laddie.”


Lucy Fleming

“Like we feel and like the family has said, what is justice? This is a question we ask ourselves all the time – how do you replace a fourteen-year-old who is lost now? I mean not lost, but he is not with you in physicality anymore? So how do you ever get justice for that on this earth? I don’t know that you do, but you have to hold those accountable for who took his life away from him and all of us.”


….and Laddie’s family and friends and those of the accused, as well as the country, by extension, will have to wait for another five weeks, until April twenty-first, 2023 when Justice Antoinette Moore confirmed that she will be handing down her ruling in the case. 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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