HomeCrimeDefense Attorney: Media Was Not Intentionally Barred from Trial

Defense Attorney: Media Was Not Intentionally Barred from Trial

Richard “Dickie” Bradley

Defense Attorney: Media Was Not Intentionally Barred from Trial

On Monday, the case of the Bladen Twelve – that is, the twelve men, including four policemen who are linked to the landing of a drug plane on the Southern Highway back in November of 2021 – was transferred to another building. The matter was moved at the eleventh hour from the Magistrates’ Court building on Coney Drive to the Charles Bartlett Hyde building on Mahogany Street. The reason for the transfer was space issues. As defense attorney for several of the men, Dickie Bradley explained, the Coney Drive building is just not big enough to accommodate twelve defendants, their team of defense attorneys, the prosecutors and the magistrate. But, in the transfer of the matter to Mahogany Street, two oversights occurred. Media coverage was not given any consideration; hence, it became a logistical problem when reporters arrived at the location, as the building also houses the Belize Family Court. That court is closed to media personnel because of the sensitive nature of family court matters that oftentimes involve children.  So, without prior notification and permission, the media was not allowed inside. Bradley told News Five that it was never the intention to shut out news reporters from the Bladen drug plane trial.


Dickie Bradley, Attorney at Law

“Towards the end of last week, the Magistrates’ Court was able to secure the use of the upstairs flat at what is the Charles Bartlett Hyde building. So we ourselves only knew at last minute, so the media would not have known. And I don’t want to say what I think, but I know for a fact that at the end of yesterday’s morning proceedings, it was brought to the attention of the Senior Magistrate, Baja Shoman that the media had been barred from attending the court, and her immediate response was that court trials in this country, by law, are open to the public, which happens to not only include the media, the media has a special protection under the Constitution that you all have a right  to obtain information and to disseminate information. There are words of that effect in the Constitution of Belize, so the media is especially to be allowed. So that was the first thing. And as I said, I got no instruction that the media are barred and the media have every right to come.”


Marion Ali

“Even though the conditions with the space issues and all of that did not provide for us to be…”


Dickie Bradley

“Well, that was a separate excuse, reason because she would have sent for chairs to accommodate the media. That’s how high a regard she would have for – as a magistrate, as a judge. As somebody in the legal profession, she knows that the media has an important role to play. Otherwise, second-hand information.  and yerisoh and sh—shu-shu will end up ruling the airwaves. So let the media come on here and see for themselves. So that was her first response, which of course is supported by the chief justice and the chief magistrate of the country.

The matter has been resolved. It is my understanding that the formal word has been handed out by the chief magistrate that the media is to be allowed to attend.”

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