Court of Appeal Begins First Session For 2014

On Tuesday the Court of Appeal began its first session for 2014 in Belize City. We already told you of one major decision they handed down involving Wilbert Cuellar and Darwin Diaz, accused of attempted murder. Cuellar, who was convicted but then released by Justice Denis Hanomansingh after the indictment against him was stayed, was ordered to be sentenced in this session of the Northern District of the Supreme Court, while Mr Diaz’s appeal was dismissed and his sentence reduced only slightly. Other major cases listed for hearing in this session include Lavern Longsworth, appealing a murder conviction; Melonie Coye, the sole living defendant in the Money Exchange money laundering case, who is also seeking an appeal; Patrick Lorent, acquitted of carnal knowledge, in which the ruling of the trial judge is being challenged, Edward Buller appealing a manslaughter conviction and Gregory August appealing a murder conviction. Attorney for Coye Arthur Saldivar appeared in court on Monday and was told the case was mistakenly left off the court docket but would be fitted in depending on time constraints. On the civil side, the Government is appealing an award against them in favor of Vincent and Cherie Rose, the couple who owned American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) in Punta Gorda until it was burned by a mob seeking answers in the disappearances of two children in 2011. Final judgements in other cases, including the second nationalization of BTL, are expected to come due by the end of the session on March 17. The Court typically meets three times per year. This session opened with a minute’s silence in honor of the passing of Lionel Welch and in memory of former jurists Lascelles Robotham and Sir Denis Malone, who died in this month.

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