90 day mandatory remand for firearm offenses not being applied across the board says prison CEO

90 day mandatory remand for firearm offenses not being applied across the board says prison CEO

The Association of Defense Attorneys (ADA) is advocating for the laws regarding remand for firearms offenses in Belize to be amended, but the management of the Belize Central Prison isn’t convinced that the law is that big a deal. Yesterday, ADA President, Dickie Bradley, called on the government to remove a provision from the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, that establishes a mandatory 90 remand for persons charged with firearms offenses. Bradley said that the law is unfair and unjustly lands hundreds of Belizeans in prison annually. CEO of the Prison, Virgilio Murillo, told Love News today that the mandatory remand is not being applied across the board and that he feels the situation is not as bad as the ADA is projecting.

Virgilio Murillo, Chief Executive Officer, Kolbe Foundation: “Because I have seen people arrested for firearm offenses who have come here and within a week they have gotten their bail. So I don’t know that the law makes it mandatory unless that law was recently changed. But I am sure that I have seen a few persons who have come to prison for firearm related offenses, whether it’s unlawful, whether it’s unlicensed ammunition or firearm and I’ve seen them get out of here within a week. The 90 days I cannot recall that it’s right across the board and how they do it to get out in one week’s time or two weeks’ time or 21 days’ time, I have no clue. So I don’t want to speak on that. I would literally have to go into my, into the penal files for all of these inmates that have come to prison for firearm-related offense and hone in on what is really the picture. But cursorily, I can tell you that I don’t see that applying to just about everybody. So I think there’s a little bit of a stretch there in my estimation.”

The provision under the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act was enacted to address a spike in gun violence. The ADA notes that the law was also amended back in 2020 to disallow Magistrates from granting bail in special circumstances for firearms offenses.

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