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LADDIE GILLETT VERDICT: A family’s anguish relieved – but “justice for Laddie” not yet complete

Posted: Sunday, April 23, 2023. 8:47 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: A guilty verdict against Corporal Kareem Martinez was no guarantee, and for two hours as High Court Justice Antoinette Moore painstakingly detailed every piece of evidence laid before her during the trial, the family of Laddie Gillett attending the courtroom hung on her every word, daring to hope.

That hope was fulfilled shortly after 11 a.m. when Justice Moore pronounced Martinez guilty.

The adoptive mother of Laddie Gillett, Bryony Bradley Fleming, spoke for the first time following the verdict and says the result is for all the boys like Laddie across Belize: “I feel really good that it’s finally come to an end that we got justice not only for Laddie but for all the kids in Belize, for all the Laddies in Belize. I’m very grateful to everybody who assisted; the media, Justice Moore, all the police, all the investigators, and to our family who has held together and was able to keep calm through this very long difficult process we really feel that justice has been served and we are very happy.”

She further noted that while there are still moments of pain – such as when her five-year-old son asked for Laddie and mentioned seeing his “bones” – they are buoyed by the support of the community and the efforts they have been making and continue to make to keep Laddie’s name alive.

Biological mother Linda Gillett is also quietly celebrating, remembering the son she says she was tricked into giving up: “I am happy, so happy that I got justice for my son. I am so happy that some other police think about stop chancing people’s children and I am happy to know that not only for Laddie got justice for other kids justice, because we got a lot of kids.”

The next steps include a continued push for police reform according to adoptive grandmother Lucy Fleming: “It is very important. We’ve been in touch with the police academy and we have been talking to them about if we could have any part or put anything into advance training because we do feel that without training of the police force, we are not going to get where we need to be. So it is not only the civilians speaking at this point in time, I also think we need additional training for the police so that when they find themselves in that situation, they don’t act the way Martinez acts.”

 

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