Friday, June 20, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: A San Pedro man appeared in Belize City Magistrate’s Court charged with discharging a firearm within 40 yards of a public road.
But he claims that he was doing it to protect himself from two pitbulls who came after him. The man is 33 year old cabinetmaker Byron Evans and the dogs are owned by a neighbor of Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia, Jr., who just recently returned to the country from Cannes, France.
Evans was walking on Tarpon Street near the Minister’s residence on June 10 around 6:00 p.m. to pick up his wife when the two dogs came after him and he shot at them with his licensed .38 revolver which he had on him at the time.
Police elected to charge Evans but attorney Oscar Selgado insists that his client is protected by Section 40 (1) (a) of the Firearms Act which allows for use of a firearm in self-defense, and should not have been charged.
Selgado has taken the case to Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal and she ordered via a memorandum today that Evans be freed.
But this afternoon when we spoke to Selgado at court he said police in San Pedro have refused to let his client go. Selgado says officer in charge on the island, Superintendent Luis Castellanos, is aware of the memorandum which was faxed at 12:10 p.m. and officially received but neither he nor his colleagues on the mainland have moved to right the state of affairs.
He had appealed to the in-house attorney and head of the prosecution branch, respectively Donelle Hawke and Inspector Carol Tucker, but neither indicated that they could do anything.
Evans returns to court on Monday where Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith is expected to order Evans’ removal from the Central Prison at Hattieville.
Selgado says he will talk to his client about potentially suing the authorities for spending ten days in jail as of today due to the “unlawful and arbitrary behavior” of San Pedro police.
Meanwhile, we asked about the comments of Minister Heredia on the matter.
Selgado says it has not been established whose dogs were involved – the Minister says he does not own any – but the issue at fault is that they were not properly secured and were known to be aggressive.
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