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May 12, 2006

Police officer conviction in limbo; jury was hung

A police officer convicted of the violent beating of a prisoner is now in legal limbo following the discovery that the jury was hung in its decision. Twenty three year old Cyril Wade was found guilty by a jury of his peers in the Belize City Supreme Court on Thursday following an announcement by the jury’s forelady that the nine-member panel had unanimously agreed to convict the officer of dangerous harm against Emil Pinelo. But today that juror shocked the court when she revealed that she had not clearly understood the question put to her and that the jury had in fact not all agreed on the verdict. Apparently the jury had been split five to four, the majority in favour of a conviction for dangerous harm and the other four choosing to convict Wade of another charge, wounding. Under Belize law, a five four split is considered a hung jury. Justice Troadio Gonzalez has since asked both the prosecution and the defence to make submissions on the latest turn of events by next Tuesday. In the meantime, Cyril Wade remains in remand to Hattieville Prison. The victim, Emil Pinelo had testified during the trial that he was viciously beaten and kicked by Cyril Wade at the San Ignacio Police station on September thirteenth, 2004 to the point where doctors had to remove approximately two feet of his intestines.

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