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Trio charged for possession of prohibited hawksbill turtle meat

Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2023. 10:09 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Turtle species both in river and sea are protected by law as they are endangered.

Fisheries authorities say three persons from various parts of Belize were found with a cut-up hawksbill turtle at Brown’s Caye, a fishing camp located southeast of Belize City.

72-year-old Lionel Young, a fisherman of Caye Caulker presently living on Deadman Caye, along with Jenever Judia Usher, 20, a resident and a fisher of East Collet Canal, Belize City, and Shantel Monique Usher, 38, of Bladen Village, Toledo District, appeared before a Senior Magistrate each charged with possession of prohibited fish (although turtles are amphibians and not fish).

The bust was made on July 19, at 11:30 a.m., at Brown’s Caye southeast of Belize City, where the turtle was found cut up in nine pieces.

The trio were unrepresented and Young the senior citizen pleaded guilty with an explanation while the females who are sisters pleaded not guilty.

But Young told the court by way of explanation, “These two young ladies wasn’t there. They were only passing by. I by mistake went there too and got involved,” adding that the turtle pieces were not his.

The Senior Magistrate rejected his guilty plea and entered an equivocal plea of not guilty on his behalf and their case was adjourned for August 30 for trial.

Since the trio were summoned to come to court and not detained and escorted to court, bail was not an issue and so they were free to go until their next court date.


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