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C.C.J. Dismisses Murderer’s Appeal

C.C.J. Dismisses Murderer’s Appeal

The Caribbean Court of Justice today dismissed an appeal brought by Nevis Betancourt. He is the man who was convicted of the murder of Jose Castellanos. In July 2017, Castellanos was shot inside a restaurant in Santa Elena Town. Betancourt was subsequently indicted and tried for murder. He was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and affirmed the conviction. Betancourt appealed to the C.C.J. on the ground that the Court of Appeal erred in upholding the trial judge’s rejection of the defense of self-defense. The trial judge accepted the case for the prosecution, which was that Betancourt entered a restaurant, shot Castellanos twice before Castellanos chopped him with a machete. Betancourt continued to shoot Castellanos, who left the restaurant and thereafter died. The C.C.J. ruled that Castellanos did not act in self-defense, but rather that he was the aggressor. The Crown was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal.


Cheryl Lynn Vidal

                               Cheryl Lynn Vidal

Cheryl Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions

“Yes, I had to unfortunately come out of court to go to receive that judgment and the appeal was dismissed and the conviction was affirmed.”


Hipolito Novelo

“On what grounds?


Cheryl Lynn Vidal

“Their  argument was that there was a third version of events that the trial judge had not taken into account and so there was a resulting miscarriage of justice. Our response was that there was in fact no third version because on the facts that the trial judge accepted she had already found that he was not in fact acting in self defense. He was the aggressor and the  court found favor with our arguments.”

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