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Devain Flores sentenced to two years for child cruelty, will serve one year

Posted: Friday, June 14, 2024. 11:34 pm CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Devain Dion Flores Sr. is in the Belize Central Prison after being sentenced for the offense of cruelty to a child. On Tuesday, June 10, 2024, the Senior Magistrate of Court #6 handed down a two-year sentence to Flores Sr., with one year for each of the two counts of cruelty. However, the sentences will run concurrently, meaning Flores Sr. will serve only 12 months in prison.

The sentencing follows an incident last month where Flores Sr. was caught on video abusing a toddler. The video prompted Commissioner of Police Chester Williams to press charges against him. The COMPOL had urged the court for a harsher penalty and hoped for the sentences to be served consecutively, but the court decided otherwise.

In the court’s proceedings, the Senior Magistrate took into account the mitigating and aggravating factors presented. Flores Sr. testified that he is 33 years old, hardworking, and took full responsibility for his actions. He expressed regret for his method of disciplining the child, pleaded guilty to avoid wasting the court’s time, and apologized to both the court and the public, although he did not apologize directly to the child and his family.

The court heard from the Director of Human Services, Mr. Sean Vargas, who testified about the impact of the abuse on the child, highlighting issues of trust and the prevalence of child abuse and neglect. Vargas’s analysis of the video confirmed that the child, who is three years old, had not done anything to warrant discipline at the time of the incident.

In delivering the sentence, the Senior Magistrate considered Flores Sr.’s past criminal record, which included convictions for burglary and property damage, as well as the statutory limits under Section 50 of the Summary Jurisdictions Offences Act, which allow for a fine not exceeding $3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months per count. Despite the severity of the offense, the court decided on a 12-month concurrent sentence, which aligns with the statutory provisions.

Flores Sr.’s case serves as a stark reminder of the legal and social consequences of child cruelty, underscoring the importance of protecting vulnerable children from abuse.

 

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