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Brhea Bowen launches constitutional challenge

Brhea Bowen is suing the Belize Police Department for emotional distress. In 2012, when she was a teenager, she was detained by police officers after a search was conducted at her home. She was not present at the time of the search but was still detained after police found a firearm. She was detained for an extended period of time. She has now filed a claim asking the court to declare that her constitutional rights were breached and for damages.  Last month, an application for leave was heard by Supreme Court Justice Madame Shona Griffith. Her attorney is Anthony Sylvestre.

Anthony Sylvestre, Attorney: “What occurred was that the police they had a search warrant and they went to her home . At the time, the Firearms Act, the Gun Law was such that any person who was deemed to have been ordinary resident at the premises,every single person would have been presumed to be the owner of the gun or the firearm  so here it was this young teenager, fourteen-fifteen, she was at the time at a summer camp in Burrell Boom. She was an industrious teenager I must say. She was actually part of a Scout in Burrell Boom, have no knowledge what is transpiring in Belize City. The police go there; they then initiate charges against her. She returns home Friday evening, the neighbor informs her that the police were at her home, they took her mother and so from that Friday evening when she returned back home from summer camp, for the next seventy plus days it was a distressing period of time. Being locked up in that cell block and eventually her being placed on remand. It was not at the prison but nonetheless there was a restriction of her liberty because she was placed at the Princess Royal Youth Hostel  and so similar restrictions that would be placed on a person who is detained would have been placed on her and so she was held for the remainder of the summer until she eventually got bail. She returned to school in September. So that would certainly have been a very distressing and emotional and psychological time for any young person. Especially one who is industrious and tries to keep a positive outlook on life and tried to get involved in the positive things in life.”

The decision is expected to be handed down later this month.