Tyrone Meighan and Brandon Baptist were charged just yesterday in the home invasion and rape at the residence of Sarkis Abou-Nehra in Burrell Boom last week, among a group of nine. But we have received confirmed reports that they may face another set of charges which they thought they had beaten a little over a month ago, which are even more serious – murder. Meighan, Baptist and Orel Leslie were acquitted of the murder of Belize Defence Force soldier James Noralez three years ago in 2012, after trial judge Troadio Gonzalez, acting alone, found insufficient evidence to tie them to the murder. But Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal has launched an appeal of the decision in the Court of Appeal, applying as of November 11 for leave to appeal against the acquittal, challenging the trial judge’s decision. Attorney for Meighan, Richard “Dickie” Bradley says that the appeal’s success and his client’s freedom all depends on how the judges view her appeal.
Dickie Bradley, Attorney: Be of any further assistance for the trail to proceed that there was insufficient evidence. Now this is an important part, the DPP’s office has appealed, this is their prerogative. They have appealed saying no the trial should have gone on. There’s going to be some kind of, hopefully new ruling that may emerge out of that matter because as the law stands, when a judge is in charge of trial, it is the jury who are the judges of the facts. Where there is a trial without a jury, the judge then becomes the jury, he is also going to decide on the facts of the case and he will decide on the law governing all the relevant facts. In this case there is no jury. If in the course of the trial proceeding, the judge who is now also the jury is saying where is the evidence, where is the link between what this person is alleged to have done. Where is the evidence? And if he is seeing no evidence, no facts, if there was a jury he would be required to leave the trial to proceed, when the prosecution closed the case it would then be for the defense to present the accused persons to say anything if they wish to and to say either from the doc or the witness stand or to remain silent which is also their right and to call in any evidence or witness that they wish to present to the court so that the jury can now then have a holistic view of all the evidence. In this case the judge is the jury so he hears that Excuse me where are the facts? Is there any evidence that this man shot the person? Is there any evidence that the other person was present or fired shots?
According to Bradley, the men can only be rearrested and reindicted for murder if the DPP is successful on appeal. Leslie is free but Meighan and Baptist are on remand for their alleged role in the Abou-Nehra home invasion. Senior Counsel Ellis Arnold and Arthur Saldivar are representing Leslie and Baptist respectively.