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Accused murderer makes Belizean history

Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2017. 10:54 AM. CST.

By BBN Staff: Thirty-year-old Nelson Henry, who stands accused of the murder of Edward Lord Jr, made Belizean history this week by becoming one of only four people to ever get bail while on trial for murder.

Justice Adolf Lucas granted Henry bail this week following a submission by Henry’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, claiming that his constitutional rights had been violated. Henry had been arrested and charged since July of 2011, but his trial has still not concluded, which Lucas found to be a violation of his right to trial within a reasonable time under Sections 5 and 6.2 of the Constitution of Belize.

Lucas granted Henry bail at $25,000 on the conditions that he is not to interfere with any of the prosecution’s witnesses, and that he is to adhere to a curfew.

Selgado noted that the prosecution’s key witness, former police officer Catherine Perteau, had to be treated as a hostile witness because she either remained silent or testified that the did not recall what evidence she had given in her deposition, when she appeared in court. Her noncooperation was the source of the unreasonable delays which had Henry on remand for over five years.

“It is a step forward that the court today has demonstrated that the administration of justice is netted out without fair or favor and that henceforth all other people held incarcerated at KOLBY for murder and inordinately delayed in their trial, will be entitled to bail and this case sets the precedence in Belize for that, so that it is one of the landmark cases now where bail is granted to persons accused of murder,” Selgado said.

Henry joins 74 year-old Hubert Neal, an elderly blind man who got bail in 1977 while on trial for killing his son; police constable Jesus Marroquin, who was granted bail in 2006 while awaiting trial for the murder for the murder of Egbert Arnold; and 81 year-old Manuel Teck Cucul who was granted bail in 2012, while charged with the murder of his wife.

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