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Jan 23, 2008

Police panel finds three forgetful cops guilty

Three months after they changed their stories on the stand, the police officers involved in the collapse of the manslaughter case against Belize City businessman Ben Bou-Nahra have been convicted by the department’s disciplinary panel. According to a police press release, today a police tribunal found Clement Cacho, Darius Ramos and Anthony Polonio guilty of an Act to the Prejudice of Good Order and Discipline against the Department. The panel has also informed the case prosecutor Keith Lino, that they are recommending the dismissal of all three officers to the Public Services Commission. While Ramos and Polonio have already been charged with Perjury, the Director of Public Prosecutions has yet to instruct the police to charge Cacho with the same offence. Last October, the officers in question assured prosecutors handling the shooting death of Shawn Copius that yes, they had all dealt with Bou-Nahra on the morning of September seventeenth, 2005, and could identify him. But when they took their respective oaths at the trial less than twenty-four hours later Cacho, Ramos and Polonio, had all developed amnesia. Their sudden infirmity was one of several unusual turns in the case against Bou-Nahra. Immediately following the shooting, the case file mysteriously disappeared and later, outgoing D.P.P. Kirk Anderson accused the Police Department of deliberately refusing to charge Bou-Nahra with Murder. When the present D.P.P., Lutchman Sooknandan, took office, he felt the evidence warranted a Manslaughter charge. That case evaporated when the officers failed to identify the defendant.

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