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Court rules people arrested for illegal gathering on the boat “Pan D Joy Ride” were unfairly charged

Posted: Sunday, November 27, 2022. 5:28 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: This week, 11 people who were arrested in 2021 for holding a party during COVID restrictions are free after their case was struck out in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court.

The group was arrested and charged in August 2021 for holding a party in Caye Caulker on the boat Pan D Joy Ride, a popular vessel for holding parties on the sea. Six of the 11 people appeared in court on Friday, answering to charges of hosting an illegal gathering.

Chief Magistrate Sharon Fraser explained that the hearing was to learn if anyone had changed their not guilty pleas to guilty before proceeding with the trial.

In court, 31-year-old, Evan Albert Thompson requested permission to speak and explained that there was no party on the boat, but rather it was being used as a charter vessel to transport his family and friends to Caye Caulker. He also noted that there were 60 people on the boat when police came to make arrests, but they only managed to stop and charge 11 of them. Thompson also stressed that he wasn’t even on the boat at the time the arrests were made, but since it was his birthday the officers decided to charge him.

The arresting officer was in court to confirm everything that Thompson had said. Hearing this, the Chief Magistrate struck the case out against all 11 accused, noting that the charges were unfair and that the matter had lingered before the court for too long without going to trial.

 

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