Man found guilty ex parte for handling stolen laptop

He was not present in court, but 33 year old Vincente Vernon Jr. was found guilty of handling stolen goods in a trial held ex parte,that is, without his presence in court. Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith issued a fine of $3,000 to be paid immediately, in default three years’ imprisonment.

Peter Cuellar testified in court that his $2,000 laptop computer was stolen between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on November 27, 2013, while he was with friends at Bucket Bar next to the Swing Bridge in downtown Belize City. He left the laptop inside his red Geo Prism vehicle, but upon his return found the driver’s side door ajar and the computer missing.

He further testified that on December 7, 2013, he saw his computer on Facebook, and he contacted the person who had it for sale. Peter Cuellar said he also contacted the police and he and the salesman agreed to meet at Scotia Bank on Albert Street.

According to Mr Cuellar, when he arrived at the bank he said out loud what time the bank will open and a man whom he did not know replied, “right now”. Peter Cuellar said the man then inquired if he was here to meet someone concerning a computer and he replied, “yes”.  Mr Cuellar testified that the man told him that he will go for the computer and the man returned with the computer about 5 minutes later. Peter Cuellar said that after he had ascertained that the computer was his, he called the police and Vincente Vernon Jr was detained and later charged.

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