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Nov 4, 2009

Privy Council frees trio of murder charges

Story PictureBelize will be replacing the highest court of appeal, that’s the Privy Council, with the Caribbean Court of Justice. But before that happens, the Privy Council in London, is still hearing appeals from Belize. Remember Ernest Savery, Lenton Polonio and Francis Eiley? All three were convicted on August thirteenth 2004 in the Belize City Supreme Court for the brutal murder of sixty-three year old Justo Perez, who was found bludgeoned to death in an apparent robbery in San Pedro. The Court of Appeal dismissed their appeal against conviction in October of 2005. In the 2002 murder, Perez’ body was found gagged and tied up with seven deep gashes to his head. The reason behind the brutality was the robbery of a money safe kept in Perez’s house. The safe belonged to his neighbours and family members, the owners of Elvis Kitchen, a popular restaurant on the island. Well today, the trio who was sentenced to life imprisonment is free men after the Privy Council ruled in their favor and overturned their conviction. Today, the sister of Ernest Savery, Grace Flowers, was happy to hear that her brother was finally freed of a crime he didn’t commit.

Grace Flowers, Sister of Ernest Savery
“The good news is that my brother is free from a life sentence that he received. That was 2003 for the murder of Justo Perez. They charged five of them: Frank Vasquez, the young man Gonzalez along with Savery, Eiley and Polonio. They went to court; they dismissed it at Magistrate Court. Magistrate Hewlett dismissed the charges. Couple months after, they apprehend them and charged them over. Gonzalez fled the country; they never did caught up with him. And then they turned around and used Frank Vasquez as a witness which in they find him at the crime seen with the man blood, all the evidence was pointed at him and they use him as a crown evidence around them—cut wah deal with him and they turn around and went to trial and they convict them with life sentence. They complete seven years”

Duane Moody
“The appeal was made in 2005 and now the hearing was done…”

Grace Flowers
“They had wah appeal here in Belize City and they turned down, the sentence stand as it was. They send it to the Privy Council. So they are free, free right now.”

The three will walk to their freedom as soon as their release papers are processed. The incident occurred on November second 2002 at the residence of the deceased, Perez, and two days after, five men: Savery, Polonio, Eiley, Frank Vasquez and Kevin Gonzalez Junior, the grandnephew of the deceased, were charged with Murder. The case was dismissed against the five except for Gonzalez who fled the country but was rearrested and subsequently arraigned for murder. In the Supreme Court trial in 2004, Savery, Polonio and Eiley were convicted on the basis that Vasquez, who was apprehended at the scene with bloodstained shoes and clothing was given immunity by the D.P.P. after he promised to testify against the trio. According to the Judgment delivered by Justice Phillips, it is a remarkable feature of the case that there was absolutely no corroboration of any element of Vasquez’s evidence and furthermore that his primary concern was to distance himself from involvement in the murder.


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