And while Hartin remains behind bars, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) today ordered the immediate release of Hillaire Sears from the Belize Central Prison. The CCJ handed down a verdict this morning, quashing the decision of the Parole Board to revoke the parole of Sears. The CCJ also issued consequential orders against the Parole Board, Minister of National Security and the Attorney General of Belize for breach of Sears’ constitutional rights. The CCJ, however, did not order damages sought by Sears. Representing Sears were attorneys Hector Guerra and Leslie Mendez.
Sears was first incarcerated on March 21 2001 on a charge of murder, for which he was convicted in December 2002. On appeal, a conviction for manslaughter was substituted and he was sentenced to twenty-five years’ imprisonment. He was granted parole and released on 21 December 2012. On 3 April 2014, while working at the prison, Sears was suspected of violating one of the conditions of his parole, specifically that he would not indulge ‘in the illegal use, sale, possession, distribution, transportation or be in the presence of controlled drugs.’ Sears was subjected to a urine test and detained that night. Sears was never afforded an opportunity to be heard by the Parole Board.