Court of Appeal to consider bail for appellant in money laundering case

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Wednesday was scheduled for the hearing of the criminal appeal of Michael and Melonie Coye, father and daughter, and their former company Money Exchange International Limited, all of which were convicted last August in the Supreme Court of money laundering offenses. Arthur Saldivar, the attorney for the Coye’s, asked the three-judge panel comprised of Douglas Mendes, Dennis Morrison and Samuel Awich, to grant him more time to prepare. The case will be heard in the first session of the Court of Appeal in February of 2014. Earlier this year, Court of Appeal Justice Awich denied bail to 67 year old Michael Coye, a legally blind diabetic. But after Arthur Saldivar pressed the court on the issue of Michael Coye’s health, noting that he had been hospitalized for two months recently, they asked that he file a new application to be heard in this session of court. Mr Saldivar explained the issue to reporters outside court.

vlcsnap-2013-10-24-07h36m34s80Arthur Saldivar -Attorney for the Coye’s:

“Sufficed to say that now, all the documents are there before the Lords, that they can  look at.  Mr. Coye’s health is of paramount consideration where this application is concerned.  It has deteriorated significantly.  I know that there is a perception in the public and that perception behooves it for me to say, that it is my belief, it is undeserved but here it is that a sentence was passed down. It was not a death sentence and should not constructively become a death sentence but somewhere there are certain persons in the government realm who have little or no mercy and little or no compassion for a man in Mr. Coye’s situation but have all the ability to turn a blind eye to what persons like Elvin Penner and what persons like him are doing.  I would want them to understand that a hard heart has no place in such a situation.   We cannot be hard hearted for those in need of compassion but turn a blind eye to those who are wantonly abusing their offices for nefarious purposes.  Mr. Coye spent the better part of 2 ½ months bed ridden at the KHMH as a result of his diabetic condition.  Again, the conditions at the Kolbe facility are not the best for persons of his age and his particular medical disposition.  So, he had some ulcerated sores that basically got progressively worse.  I would be more than happy to show you some of the pictures of those but it’s not for TV.  It’s kind of graphic.”

The Coyes and two employees, Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston, were convicted of running a scheme under the imprint of the Moneygram agency that targeted many prominent Belizeans using the Belize City driver’s license database. Atlee Matute and Dietrich Kingston were fined $25,000 each but the Coyes were jailed. Three other defendants had been initially implicated; two had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal in an earlier appeal and the third was released at the first trial of the matter in the Supreme Court. Senior Counsel Antoinette Moore and Tricia Pitts-Anderson appeared on behalf of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) which is handling the case. On Wednesday Director Marilyn Williams was not prepared to answer whether the Unit would oppose bail.

vlcsnap-2013-10-24-07h38m15s15Marilyn Williams – Director, FIU:

“I’m sorry.  We have no comments at this point.  I’m sure all you guys are aware that you heard that the matter is traversed to the next session.”

Daniel Ortiz
“Will your office will be rejecting or countering the application, if any, should be made about bail.”

Marilyn Williams
“I will be discussing it with my counsels, and then, we’ll be making a decision.”

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