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Court of Appeal drops two cases, upholds two others

Posted: March 18, 2016. 7:35 p.m. CST.

By Aaron Humes: The final day of the Court of Appeal’s March session took place today with announcements of judgments.

On the criminal side, the court allowed the appeals of Leonard Godoy on charges ofattempted murder and belize-supreme-court-houserobbery and in part for Newellyn Nicholas on a charge of carnal knowledge. It dismissed those of Marvin Cruz Reyes against the Queen and the Queen against Gabriel Salazar, both for murder.

Godoy continues to serve 10 years on the charge of robbery, but an accompanying 18 year sentence for attempted murder was quashed. On March 5, 2007 at Placencia. Godoy and two others, Norman Peters and Brandon Lozano, were convicted of robbing $350 and two cellular phones from two persons. One of the victims was stabbed 3 times. As a result, all three men were charged and convicted of attempted murder. Godoy was represented by Senior Counsel Michael Young.

Nicholas, who was convicted of 3 counts of carnal knowledge of a female child and 1 count of aggravated assault of an indecent nature, was unsuccessful on 3 counts and successful on only 1 count. The appeal on one of the 3 counts of carnal knowledge was allowed because there was a discrepancy regarding the date of occurrence.

Nicholas was sentenced to 12 years for each count of carnal knowledge. The judges of Belize Court of Appeal stipulated that the sentences for carnal knowledge are to run concurrent to each other and consecutive to the sentence of 2 years for aggravated assault. The incidents occurred in February, 2012 at Dangriga. Nicholas was represented by Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington.

Reyes’ conviction and sentence were affirmed for an incident which occurred on August 26, 2007, in which Kareem Wright was shot in his neck, an injury that left him paralyzed. Wright and 2 female friends were walking at the corner of Ebony Street and Sarstoon Street, coming from Club Next, when they were approached by Reyes, who asked to speak to Wright.

When one of the females said she was going to call the police, Wright and the females ran and Reyes pulled out a firearm and fired several shots. Reyes was represented by attorney Bryan Neal.

In these first three cases, the Crown was represented by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal.

And finally, an appeal by Senior Crown Counsel Cecil Ramirez, against a ruling by Justice Denis Hanomansingh in which Gabriel Salazar was acquitted of murder, was dismissed. Salazar was acquitted of the murder of Francis Johnston, who was shot and killed on July 15, 2013, during a robbery at Big Falls in Toledo. The main evidence of the prosecution was a caution statement given by Salazar which amounted to a confession statement.

Justice Hanomansingh did not admit the statement as evidence because he believed that it was not obtained voluntarily. Salazar was represented by Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington. But although the appeal was dismissed, Salazar was not free because he is on remand for another case.

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