When Belizeans face deportation, it is often a one-way trip never to return to the USA. But when Uncle Sam wants you, even if you don’t return, it means prolonged detention at the Belize Central Prison. That’s the story of Deon Bruce. He’s the Belizean that has been accused in the USA of the shooting of two Americans Aaron Carter and Bryan Rodgers. Bruce faces murder and attempted murder charges if he’s extradited to Chicago to face the offense allegedly committed in July, 2010. Since 2014 Bruce has been incarcerated and today his attorney Anthony Sylvester received permission from the Supreme Court to have the matter heard at the Court of Appeal.
Anthony Sylvester Attorney: “During the intervening period between January 2014 and December 2017 when we first made an application to the court for a Habeas Corpus application for Mr. Bruce to be released. There were the cases of the Seawelle brothers Mark and Gary and you may recall that in both of their cases they were released on the basis that the warrant that they were held on were defective and as a consequence it was held that they were being unlawfully held so Mr. Bruce retained us. We reviewed his documents and we found that there appeared to us to be a similar effect and so we had applied to the court initially and his hearing came on last december 2017. We were not successful there but the procedures of the court allows him to appeal to the Court of Appeal but before actually being able to make his appeal to the Court of Appeal he must first receive permission of the court, The Supreme Court and that’s what we sought and that’s what we obtained and so the next stage is for us to make our Appeal to the Court of Appeal so we have like 21 days within which to file and actual notice of appeal and so that’s what we are about to do.”
Reporter: “Sir this appeal is a what,a Habeas Corpus?”
Anthony Sylvester Attorney: “yea it’s a Habeas Corpus application. What happened is that when somebody is extradited and there extradition is actually ordered by the Chief Magistrate then that person has to apply for a Habeas Corpus. A Habeas Corpus basically is a person applying to the court asking the court to for those who are detaining emergency or holding him to give the legal basis or the reason for the detention and so in the Habeas corpus applications then the applicant would usually put forward reasons why we submit that he is not lawfully being held and we say that he is not lawfully being withheld because of the warrant, the document, the authority on which he is supposed to be lawfully being held. That is defective and invalid authority. Those were our submission and those are the points we will take on appeal to the Court of Appeal.“
Jose Sanchez: “How long do you expect the actual appeal process to take, he has been locked up since 2014?”
Anthony Sylvester Attorney: “Okay the Court of Appeal usually has three sessions: March, June and October. We reall won’t be able to make the October Session but all things being equal we should be able to make the March session.”