Belizean Attorney Oscar Selgado Convicted of Abetting Murder, Remanded to Central Prison

Belizean Attorney Oscar Selgado Convicted of Abetting Murder, Remanded to Central Prison

Attorney Oscar Selgado is spending his first night at the Belize Central Prison.  The seasoned lawyer was found guilty this morning for abetment to commit murder.  The verdict was handed down by Justice Nigel Pilgrim in the Belize High Court.  It is an unprecedented matter where an attorney is charged for concocting a hit on someone.  Love News spoke with the President of the Association of Defence Attorneys, Richard Dickie Bradley, who said that, to his knowledge, it is unprecedented for an attorney in Belize to be found guilty of a crime of this magnitude.

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “Oscar Selgado was remanded until the date of sentencing which I think the judge put to the 29th day.”

Reporter: From your institutional memory is this the first time an attorney has been convicted ?

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “To my memory at this time, I’m not familiar with any lawyer actually been taken to court for a criminal offense and also found guilty. This is a first in our time and to be guilty of such an offense in such a way. But what it highlighted, what came into my mind as I heard the learned trial judge going through the evidence Mr. Selgado went to a trial in which there was no witness to be confronted because the person who is a member of a gang and who has a criminal record is said to have given the police information that Selgado and himself were discussing, at Selgado’s instigation, were discussing killing a person and that Selgado would pay him to do so but because that person – I’m not sure I didn’t go to all the sessions of the trial so I need to be careful what I say but what little I understand from the summation today by the learned trial judge is that there was some tape recording and that there were other tape recordings, the originals of most of which or all of which was not available to the court. So the DPP and the Commissioner of Police were saying that they could say something about those recordings because they spoke to the persons by phone, they could confirm that he either wanted to or did do interviews for which those tapes are not available. So they’re depriving an accused person of his right to confront is accuser and to question that person so the court can see his demeanor and judge whether or not he’s a truthful witness or he’s not a truthful witness or the way he conducts himself leads the court to feel like they’re not sue. The judge in looking at other laws and so on took the view that there was sufficient other evidence that it must have been this Selgado that he was talking about. He dealt with all of these things in detail I suspect of course that once sentence is passed Mr. Selgado and his attorney or attorneys will take the matter to a higher court.”

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Lynn Vidal says she didn’t view the case as a win but rather that justice was served. She spoke on the consideration that Justice Pilgrim made to arrive at the guilty verdict and Selgado’s prospects on appeal. 

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions: “Let’s just say justice was done. I don’t know of any other case. I’ve been here twenty three and a half years. The precedent so far for abetment of murder in the range of seven years. He accepted the statement of Giovanni Ramirez, he found him to be truthful in his statement and that what was stated in that statement sufficed to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Reporter: Is there any indication from Mr.Selgado’s attorney that they will appeal this matter ?

Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, Director of Public Prosecutions: “I don’t think they’ll be giving me that indication but I’m certain that he will. I’m also certain that he’ll find that very difficult from what I heard to succeed on appeal.” 

Meanwhile, Bradley, said he believes that Selgado should have been afforded a jury of his peers in the trial.

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “I would want to say that from my own personal view, I haven’t had a chance to canvas my colleagues in the Association of Attorneys but the very concept of charging a person for a serious offense and taking them for trial at the Supreme Court is a travesty of justice because Belizean citizens are deprived of the right to a jury trial. Two laws were passed, one by the UDP and one by the PUP further listing more offenses where when persons are charged for indictable matters they are deprived of a jury of their peers a matter which is a constitutional right in the United States of America and a matter which predated, the right to have a jury predated our laws and our constitutions even in slavery days the man who was named Thomas Paslow who we had the named the biggest building after he was taken to court and he was tried among his peers and found guilty of mutilation of slaves so it’s a shocking thing that has quietly happened to our society without any discussion in the legal profession and to the wider members of the public.”

Selgado was first charged back in July 2019

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