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David and Anke Doehm out on bail

Since the homicide of 13 year old Faye Lin Cannon, her adoptive parents, David and Anke Doehm who had been charged with cruelty to a child, had been held in police custody and on remand at the Belize Central Prison until this morning. The Doehms were granted bail by Justice Dennis Hanomansingh. Their attorneys were unsuccessful getting them bail at the magistrate level. The Chief Magistrate agreed with the DPP that the couple was a flight risk. However, at the Supreme Court Level, Attorneys Richard Bradley and Ellis Arnold successfully convinced Hanomansingh that the Doehms are not a flight risk and were entitled to bail. They were granted bail at ten thousand dollars each plus a surety in the form of a land title. Hipolito Novelo was at the Supreme Court and has the story.

Hipolito Novelo reporting…
“David and Anke Doehm are out on Supreme Court Bail. They appeared before Justice Denis Hanomansinghand both were granted and met a ten thousand dollars bail each. The Doehms, who were charged for cruelty to a child in respect to the death of Anke’s 13 year old adoptive daughter, Faye Lin Cannon, had been denied bail by the Chief Magistrate on the primary ground that they are a flight risk. That argument was brought forward by Crown Counsel Jacqueline Willoughby.

Jacqueline Willoughby, Crown Counsel
“It is the position of our office that they have become a flight risk. One of the issues is that you have to be able to take care of yourself in Belize. Their business is down, one of the petitioners has been released of his employment, they really have no other means here, they have no other property. The issue of the children are in Human Services there is matters before other courts that custody is being sought by the adoptive father it is our view in our office that there is really no reason for them to stay here. This charge will yield them prison time of up to ten years. But again at the end of the day it is discretion of the judge to determine whether or not he will give bail.”

Hanomansingh’s discretion was influenced by the arguments put forward by the Doehm’s attorneys, Richard Bradley and Ellis Arnold.

Richard Bradley, Attorney
“Bail is not to be used to punish a person before a trial is held. Those are two very fundamental legal principles. It is all too easy to be denying persons their liberty which as many judges have observed creates major problems; you are not with your family, the children are all over the place for a year or two, you lose your job all those things happen when we lock up somebody when we have no reason to really lock them up.”

As part of the bail conditions, David and Anke must report to Queen Street Police Station every Monday. And they must surrender any and all travel documents.

Richard Bradley, Attorney
“We can get our immigration authorities, our foreign affairs to notify the United States of America that such a person is not allowed to travel so in fact the judge put that in his order you are not to leave the country, if he is ever found trying to leave the country that is automatic go to jail and the bail will no longer be in existence so our argument was based on the Crown offering one single ground of objection to the person getting their freedom that objection was and it is an important consideration that Mr. and Mrs. Doehm are flight risk meaning they can jump on a plane or boat and leave Belize. The arguments to support that ground of objection were not forthcoming. In the affidavit of the officer or police officer which went to something like twenty eight or twenty nine paragraphs was a chronology of him being called by the very accused person to say that the child appeared to be very sick and was not breathing and so they are just recounting that we went to the house, we met the family members we saw the child on the bed, she was not breathing we did this we called the doctor, we then did this and that and gone on and on for paragraphs but it did not tackle the issue that is the sole ground of objection meaning will these people cut out the moment they get or as soon as they get the opportunity to leave the country.”

“David. David, do you intend to stay in the country? David do you intend to stay in the country. Anke do you intend to stay in the country?

Reporter: Do you miss her ?

Anke Doehm

Richard Bradley, Attorney
“Where are they going to go? If they go to the states they will bring them back, how will you get to the states if you don’t have a passport?”

And that passport will be surrendered to the US Embassy in Belize.

Richard Bradley, Attorney
“Along with a copy of the order, along with notification to officials of the United States Embassy that Mr. and Mrs. Doehm are not allowed to leave this country and are not allowed to facilitate them. We are two friendly countries we have extradition treaties between both of us the Americans are not to give any temporary passports or give them their passport to facilitate their leaving so that is specific portion of the order that the embassy of the United States is to hold onto the passport and those persons cannot leave this country until the case is concluded.”