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Jan 31, 2014

Constitutional provision provided Peck the mercy he sought

Simeon Sampson

As we told you earlier, things didn’t look bright for Peck this morning, prior to sentencing. Because of the conviction under the Firearms Act, the hands of the Magistrate were basically tied where that was concerned. But with the mitigation pleas done, and the sentence about to be handed down, some assistance came from an unlikely source. According to Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lyn Vidal pointed him to a provision which provided him the mercy he sought. In the end there’s no telling if that saved the day for Peck, but it didn’t hurt.


Simeon Sampson, Attorney for Gino Peck

“I represented to the magistrate right away that I need time to call character witness mitigation of sentence. Immediately the magistrate told me that Mister Sampson my hands are tied because I have no discretion. And that was where we left it on Monday. This morning we reassemble for sentencing purposes; I called members of the community to assist the court with mitigation pleas. Then I moved the court, it is time for sentencing now. Please do not send the man to jail and the Director of Public Prosecution informed the defense—myself and Mister Ellis Arnold, who had recently joined me in this—that there is a provision in the law section five-four of the summary jurisdiction procedure that says that even though the law under which Peck was found guilty ties the hands of the magistrate—not giving her any discretion—this law says notwithstanding any other act which imposes a mandatory imprisonment, the magistrate in the interest of justice may still impose a fine and not follow the strict length of the law in sending the man to the jail. And so the magistrate agreed with us and imposed fines accordingly. So Mister Peck is free now after paying his fine. We will appeal later.”


Mike Rudon

“Sir, I know I may be asking you to speculate a bit, but without the intervention of the D.P.P. and pointing to that particular clause, do you think that things would have gone differently?”


Simeon Sampson

“It could have gone differently to answer you yes. It could have, could have, could have.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Constitutional provision provided Peck the mercy he sought”

  1. The So-Called Gun Law Has No Clothes says:

    So, essentially, the provision at Sec 5-4 says that even though the law under which Peck was found guilty TIES the hands of the magistrate, it AT THE SAME TIME DOES NOT TIE the hands of the magistrate.

    SO, which is it? DOES the law tie the hands of the magistrate or DOES IT NOT tie the hands of the magistrate?

    That law is dead !! The floodgates a open.

  2. Teddy Steinway says:

    Such drama. Every defence lawyer in Belize should know the law entirely.

  3. Drangon Eyes says:

    Man made laws! Such rubbish! The laws were created by rich men to control the poor and there are people who use these laws to play their own game. Games! Poor man, you have to be careful on whose toes you step or they will come for you.

  4. ceo says:

    “in the interest of Justice” a very good clause. This officer should have never been treated this way!

    We need to punish those that we know wilfully commited wrong doing!

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