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Jan 27, 1998

Foreigner sentenced to six months in prison

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Viewers may be wondering what ever happened to William Shaw. He’s the visitor who crashed through the northern border, was stopped several weeks later on traffic charges and then beat up a police officer and tried to escape from custody at the Raccoon Street Police Station. On Monday Shaw had his day in magistrates court, where he was found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and driving a motor vehicle without insurance. His fines totaled 650 dollars plus 15 dollars in court costs, which he was ordered to pay forthwith. This he could not do and was packed off to Hattieville Prison for six months. Things have not gone well for Mr. Shaw in Belize and he told the court that while on remand he had been beaten by prison warders and put in a cell with mentally ill inmates who attacked him and anointed his head with the contents of the communal slop bucket. As for the charges against him, Shaw told the court that he only tried to flee after police threatened to fill his vehicle with teargas and then pointed guns at him. The prisoner also had harsh words for the U.S. Embassy, which he said had done absolutely nothing to help him in his hour of need. That assertion was challenged, however, by U.S. consular officials who told News Five that they spoke to Shaw on the phone when he was first denied entry to Belize and they advised him to seek help from the U.S. consulate in Merida. After his arrest Shaw was also visited by an embassy official who spoke to him for an hour at the Raccoon Street Jail. The problem, according to the embassy’s Paul Schultz, is that Shaw has no proof of who he is–or even whether he is a U.S. citizen. His passport is a home made cut and paste job, while no less than four different ID’s, each bearing a different name, were found in his car. The embassy is still trying to find out who he is and if they can confirm his U.S. nationality they may, as a last resort, be able to front him a plane ticket to Miami…that is after he serves his six months in prison. When asked what he was doing in Belize, Shaw claimed that he is on a mission from God, and is just passing through on his way to deliver ancient Bibles to Mount Zion.


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