Nearly six years ago, the Chinese community in Belize was stunned by the death of Edward P. Yorke High School student Hellen Yu, 14. She was shot and killed during a robbery at her father’s shop on Iguana Street in Belize City. But the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions conceded that it had no evidence against the three men accused of the killing: Jermaine Matura, Elbert Miller and Emmanuel Lemoth, forcing them to file a motion of nolle prosequi that sent all three men home this afternoon following a final appearance before Supreme Court Justice Adolph Lucas. With more on the case here is attorney for the trio, Bryan Neal:
Bryan Neal, Attorney for Murder Accused: There is an interesting feature of the new civil procedure and practice rules whereby you do case management to see if these cases are cases that should really go the full length. What happened in this case, we took advantage of that rule that was just brought into force this year and this is one of the few groundbreaking cases that has allowed us to look at the case before it went to court. There was the problem with witnesses, there was the problem that there were certain identification issues; there were several problems that I found on the file and we submitted to the court that in the case management, it really didn’t make any sense for us to proceed. The prosecution was to reply to our submission to say why they felt that the case should proceed, but today they informed the court instead that they do not want to proceed so the people, as you said, have walked
Representing the DPP’s office was Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell. Neal told us he does not expect police to try to re-arrest the trio, since they will almost certainly need new evidence to do so. On August 12, 2010, gunmen had stormed into the store owned by Hellen’s father, Ziren Yu and shot him during a shoot-out, unfortunately also injuring the teenager. Chinese businesses shut down for a short period in protest; murders of other women shopkeepers the following April led to a massive protest in downtown Belize City and the introduction of new laws to combat crime.