DPP’s Office not Consulted on Gun Investigation

vlcsnap-2013-12-23-13h41m36s4On Friday we told you about serious allegations that senior officials in the Police Department intervened and stopped charges from proceeding against a Belize City resident who is no stranger to the law.

Following a search at a Rio Bravo Crescent residence in Belize City on Friday morning the individual faced charges of possessing an unlicensed firearm but he told police that he suspected that the weapon had been planted at his home as part of a set-up.

vlcsnap-2013-12-23-13h48m49s202Acting Commissioner of Police Miguel Segura says the investigation is ongoing and Precinct Two Commander Superintendent Alford Grinage says police continue to gather evidence including statements from neighbors who allegedly heard noises in the area earlier in the morning and fingerprints and footprint casts from the yard near the fence.

We decided to check with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to find out if this sudden caution was based on their directive.  According to Director Cheryl-Lynn Vidal who spoke with us today, she was not consulted by the police officers connected with the investigation, and it was a “concerned party” which had brought the matter to her attention on Friday, at which point she requested that Supt. Grinage provide a report as to what had transpired.

gun investigationAs of this morning, none has been provided.  She noted that she cannot comment specifically on this case as she is not aware of what level of investigation has been done or the specific circumstances of the case.  We will continue to follow this story.

Speaking in general terms, as she was not in possession of the facts on this specific case, the DPP told us that Police are always encouraged to investigate before laying charges.   If a person in custody provides a version of events that may prove to be an answer to the charge for which he was detained, then the matter should be further investigated before any charges should be laid.

files papaers in handIf the police do not feel as though the issues which have been raised can be fully dealt with during the 48 hour period, then it is perfectly acceptable to release the detainee pending further investigation.  The DPP noted that there are many factors to be taken into consideration, the primary one being whether the person is a flight risk.  It is always preferable to investigate before charging, she said, than to charge and then have the evidence ultimately gathered not come up to proof.

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