Constitutional Challenge begins in Supreme Court on May 7th

The Supreme Court will hear a constitutional challenge from Caleb Orozco, a Belizean citizen supported by a battery of high-powered international advocates for homosexuality and their Belizean surrogates, on May 7. Today was the last hearing before trial to go over outstanding matters before the big case, and lead counsel Lisa Shoman announced among other things that Belizean justice Michelle Arana is leaving the case.

Lisa Shoman – Attorney for Caleb Orosco:
vlcsnap-2013-04-24-20h03m20s36The case is going to trial. We’ve been notified that the Chief Justice will be hearing the case on May 7th to 10th and we were just finalizing because the churches wanted some more time to put in their written submission. The claimant, Caleb Orosco, has filed written submissions. The human rights interested party have filed written submissions. The Attorney General asked for more time and they will have to file by the 30th and the churches will be given until May 3rd. Trial days are set – it is May 7th to 10th.

Shoman runs down the list of legal eagles on their side.

Lisa Shoman – Attorney for Caleb Orosco:
I can tell you that the claimant has a team of attorneys which has one attorney from the UWI, Mr. Christopher Hamel-Smith, the Queen’s Council from Trinidad is also appearing along with myself and with Simeon Sampson. So we are all Caribbean people. I understand that the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Human Dignity Trust and the International Society of Jurists, who are the human rights interested parties, have asked Godfrey Smith and Lord Peter Goldsmith to appear on their behalf. 

Asked as has been questioned several times whether this case will be a test for greater expansion of human rights to the LGBT community in the Caribbean and Commonwealth, Shoman, in denying that it did, pointed back to a time when the law on homosexual activity was quite different.

Lisa Shoman – Attorney for Caleb Orosco:
In 1888 the criminal Code of Belize said that this type of activity, which was called Unnatural Crime, was only an offence if it was done by force, or without consent. 
The company Church has said that all discriminatory laws against LGBT people should be removed. There is no test about this.  This is about Human Rights of Belizeans.  That’s really what it is. And for the record, this law also affects heterosexual persons as well as persons from the LGBT community.  It is therefore being looked at in light of the Constitution to see if it holds up.  So it is a Constitutional challenge.

The Church interested parties are being represented by their own phalanx of senior attorneys while the Government has gone with its in-house team at the office of the Solicitor General. Belize Action says it will be present at the court during the case.

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