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Shedrack White not fit to stand trial for murder, High Court rules; remains detained at “His Majesty’s pleasure”

Posted: Tuesday, February 13, 2024. 10:36 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: High Court Justice Candace Nanton has ruled that 53-year-old Shedrack White, accused of the July 29, 2020 murder of William Rubio which occurred in Belize City, is by reason of mental illness unfit to stand trial.

White has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, one of the most serious of all mental illnesses, and the Chief Government Psychiatrist has found he will remain on permanent treatment for the remainder of his natural life, otherwise he would be a risk to society.

Justice Nanton ordered that White be detained in a safe place at the Kolbe Foundation Central Prison, Hattieville, at His Majesty’s pleasure as the law allows until further notice; that he be treated for his mental disease, schizophrenia; that he be housed in a place suitable for a person suffering from schizophrenia; that periodical reviews be done every six months as part of his treatment; that the outcome of those reviews be known to the court; and that if any such reviews show he is fit for trial, that the information be shared with the court Registrar.

She noted that while the country of Belize does not have any specific and appropriate medical facility for the purpose, this should not deprive the accused White from getting the help he deserves.

In his evidence, Doctor Alejandro Matus told the court that a schizophrenic will never be considered cured of the illness. His conclusion came after four evaluations of White within the period of July 2022 to January 2024.

Central Prison CEO Virgilio Murillo said prisoners at Kolbe who suffer from mental illness are placed in the Special Care Building where there is a Psychiatrist Nurse and the Prison Medical Officer who attends to them and ensure that they adhere to their treatment. He also told the court that the prison deems White as a high risk inmate.

Justice Nanton noted, “The accused has not been found guilty of any offense, but only unfit to plea, and so the purpose of the court is to keep him safe until he could be found capable of entering a plea at a later date.”

Doctor Alejandro Matus testified it was highly unlikely that White could ever be fit for trial.

 

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