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Feb 21, 2008

Privy Council upholds appeal of convicted killers

Story PictureEven by today’s violent standards the four murders occurring on the night of June eighteenth 2002 remain one of the most wanton slaughters in Belize’s history. Two men, Leslie Pipersburgh and Patrick Robateau were detained in Mexico, returned to Belize, and found guilty of the crimes in 2004. A year later, those convictions were upheld by the Court of Appeal. Today, however, news out of London is that the Privy Council has reversed that decision and sent the case back to the Court of Appeal to decide whether a new trial should be held in the Supreme Court. According to Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, speaking for the five-member Judicial Committee, trial Judge Troadio Gonzalez erred in not giving adequate instructions to the jury regarding the police department’s failure to hold an identification parade and the resulting unreliability of the identification of Robateau and Pipersburgh from the dock. Arguing the case for the two defendants was Belizean attorney Simeon Sampson and British barrister Edward Fitzgerald. Robateau and Pipersburgh both worked as deliverymen for Bowen and Bowen Limited. In the course of robbing their own employer they fatally shot security guards, Fidel Mai and Kevin Alvarez, and later, in the course of their escape, shot to death an unsuspecting David Flores and Cherry Tucker. Robateau and Pipersburgh will remain in Hattieville Prison pending their anticipated new trial.

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