26-year-old, Jorge Luis Reyes Villeda, a Guatemalan national, experienced a few minutes of freedom today when the Benque Magistrate found him not guilty of firearm charges levied against him on February 15, 2019. On the day of his arrest, Villeda was along with 34-year-old, Edgar Giovanni de la O and a 17-year-old student, both of Benque Viejo del Carmen Town, Cayo District. The men were found with high powered rifles and ammunition outside a night club in Benque and as a result, they were arrested and charged. Their case wrapped up today and Villeda’s attorney, Hurl Hamilton spoke on the verdict.
Attorney Hurl Hamilton: “ What happened is that the prosecution called four witnesses and for whatever reason those witnesses they were unable to get any firearm they alleged were involved in the incident into evidence so there was no firearm, there was no ammunition into evidence and at the close of the prosecution case I submitted a no-case submission. The Senior Magistrate agreed with my submission and the Senior Magistrate found all three defendants not guilty.”
Moments after the men were released, the Guatemalan national was rearrested. Attorney Hamilton explained that the re-arrest is unlawful and an injustice to his client.
Attorney Hurl Hamilton: “For some reason or the other the police decided to arrest him, the other two Belizeans they are out. The Guatemalan is detained at Benque Viejo Police Station and from what I was told is that police is contemplating to reinstate the very same charges the Senior Marigrstre found not guilty for. It is very unfortunate and I am very surprised if indeed the Police Department would go through with such an action because respectfully if the Department is unsatisfied with the decision of the Senior Magistrate, there is an appeal process, there is an appellate process. This is the first time I am hearing that the very same charges or at the very least they are threatening to institute the very same charges the Senior Magistrate found all three defendants not guilty for. If those charges were to be reinstituted, of course, we are going to challenge the reinstitution of the charges but if it were to be reinstituted it would be an abuse of the process of the court. It is unlawful, the Guatemalan is unlawfully detained as we speak and that would give the prosecution a second bite at the cherry to fill in whatever gaps in their view they thought was lacking in the previous case they would be given a second opportunity. It is an abuse of the process of the court so I would hope that greater sense would prevail and that the Department uses another route to perhaps ventilate their dissatisfaction with the matter. I cannot say why the other two Belizeans, fortunately, they are not detained. I am not sure why they singled out the Guatemalan but to my understanding, it is to reinstate back these very same charges that were dismissed as a result of them found being not guilty by the Senior Magistrate.”
Love News learnt late this evening that Villeda was released just after five o’clock. At the time of their arrest, the men were reportedly in possession of an AK-47 rifle, a 5.56 mini Galil weapon, 47 rounds of 7.62 ammunition and fourteen 5.56 rounds of ammunition.