Constable convicted of manslaughter set free on appeal

The Court of Appeal has freed Police Constable Alpheus Parham, found guilty a year ago of a charge of manslaughter in the shooting death of Alex Goff, who he shot to death in a detention cell at the Caye Caulker Police Station on May 9, 2010. Justices President Manuel Sosa, Murillo Ducille and Minnette Hafiz-Bertram concluded that Constable Parham did not get a fair trial. Normally, a retrial is ordered in the interest of justice, but the many errors by the trial judge in such a high profile case made Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal herself concede to the position of Senior Counsel Simeon Sampson, Parham’s attorney, that not even in a retrial will he get a fair trial, and the appeal judges concurred. We spoke to Sampson about the multiple errors made by Justice Troadio Gonzalez that voided the conviction. Goff had been accused of accosting persons on the island while reportedly under the influence earlier in the day. Two of Parham’s fellow police officers testified that they each saw Constable Parham go to the back of the cell and hear an “explosion” shortly afterward. Both saw Parham come back from the back of the cell and the second officer said he walked out of the station thereafter without speaking to anyone. Parham, speaking from the dock during trial, said that on responding to the cell after Goff was reportedly being disorderly, the detainee said he wanted to use the restroom and on their way there, Goff reportedly reached for the officer’s revolver and they struggled, during which the gun accidentally went off and caused Goff a fatal wound. Parham had served the Belize Police Department for 18 years and upon conviction, he was dismissed from the police department; the only way he could get pay for his years of service was by winning his appeal which he did today.vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h33m58s537vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h34m11s611vlcsnap-2016-03-01-09h33m41s756

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