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Former Cop Gets Freed by Court of Appeals

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Former police constable Alpheus Parham, who was charged with murder but was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years, was set free today by Belize’s Court of Appeal. Parham was convicted of manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Alex Goff which occurred on May 9, 2010 in the cellblock at Caye Caulker Police Station. Goff, who was detained at the time, was reportedly making a lot of noise and Parham, who was on duty, went to the cell where Goff was. About 5 minutes later a gunshot was heard. Goff was found in a sitting position with a gunshot wound to his forehead. At the trial Parham had claimed that it was a case of self-defense. Parham had appealed on two main grounds. One ground was that he suffered a possible miscarriage of justice when the learned trial judge erred in law in his failure to properly direct the jury on the issue of self-defense. The second ground was that he suffered a possible miscarriage of justice when the learned trial judge erred in law by not giving at least a modified good character direction when the first sentence of the appellant’s dock statement revealed that he had no previous conviction. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, conceded that there were too much at the trial and she suggested the Belize Court of Appeal order a retrial. The Court of Appeal decided, however, to quash Parham’s conviction and sentence and set him free. Parham was represented by attorney Simeon Sampson.

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