Thursday, April16th 2015.Aaron Humes Reporting: This afternoon Magistrate Hettie Mae Stuart heard final submissions from both parties in the case against 55 year old activist of the People’s United Party (PUP) Albert Vaughan, who faces a charge of loitering in a public place stemming from the events of August 4 when workers from Belize Maintenance Limited (BML) protested in front of City Hall over their job security.
41 of them were arrested and charged with a littering violation and illegally gathering in public. In front of the Queen Street Police Station, where Vaughan was acting as a reporter for Vibes Radio, the party radio organ, he was picked up after a confrontation with police. Last week attorney Kareem Musa submitted that his client did not have a case to answer and after the police’s response issued in writing on Monday, Musa offered a final rebuttal in court today.
He told us afterward that police were trying to paper over inconsistencies in their own witnesses’ case.
The police witnesses disagreed in Musa’s view as to whether Vaughan was “making noise” in the area when he came to their attention, and whether he was in fact walking away from the area when he was picked up.
Musa also responded to the police’s charges that it was not established that Vaughan was representing a media house that Monday morning rather than a political party. If asked, he said, Vaughan would have produced identification or otherwise ensured that police knew who he worked for, though he is not required to; but police never asked as part of their investigations. In any event, Vaughan was known to be working as press that day as were others and only he was singled out for such treatment.
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