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Trial for Eldon Arzu judicial review set for next February

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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019. 9:30 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: An internal feud in the Belize Police Department is set to spill over into next year.

Supreme Court Justice, Shona Griffith, expects to proceed with a trial in the claim for judicial review by Corporal of Police Eldon Arzu, former President of the Police Association, against Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, when the case returns on February 11, 2020.

Corporal Arzu has replaced his attorney, Stacey Grinage, with Nazira Myles as of October, further delaying the expected trial.

Myles applied for relief from sanction because of certain orders by the court not being complied with by the former counsel, which Justice Griffith did not blame her for. Nonetheless, she disallowed the application and refused additional affidavits to be filed that were not filed on time.

Cpl. Arzu’s affidavit is before the court and forms the base of evidence in the case and the option of cross-examination is available, Myles said. The pre-trial memorandum sets out issues to be decided by the court and those facts the sides agree with.

Cpl. Arzu challenges the decision of Commissioner Williams to transfer Arzu to a job in Belmopan on these bases: 1) he did not receive a fair hearing before the transfer; 2) that the decision is unreasonable; and 3) that the Commissioner acted ultra vires, that is, above his legal powers and authority.

Williams had signed a statutory instrument left on the desk of predecessor Allen Whylie that amended the Police Association regulations to limit the presidency of the Association to two terms. Arzu had been president for seven years and re-elected for yet another term. The transfer to the office of Planning, Performance, Review, Inspection, and Implementation came at the end of January and after a period of absence without leave, the court ordered Arzu to return to work while granting his claim for judicial review.

Parallel to the case are allegations that the Association cannot account for thousands of dollars in funds paid in by members of the Department, who by law are constables, corporals, and sergeants. Arzu allegedly responded to an order by then-Commissioner Whylie to report on this by asking that he, Whylie, account for the activity of the Police Trust Fund, which Commissioner Williams has described as “disrespectful.”

 

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