Almost nine months after a lawsuit was filed by Corporal Eldon Arzu, the President of the Police Association, against the Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the case has still not proceeded to trial. This is due to Arzu’s attorney not complying with certain instructions given by the court. Today, the case came up again before Justice Shona Griffith and Arzu was being represented by a new attorney Nazira Myles. Myles made an application for relief from sanctions and an extension of time to file more evidence. Justice Griffith stated that while she is not blaming the present attorney for the actions of the former attorney, she is refusing the application for relief of sanctions to be allowed to file more affidavits. However, the trial will still be allowed to proceed. After court, Myles spoke to the media about what transpired and how she feels the case will be impacted.
Nazira Miles, Attorney for Eldon Arzu: “The trial date had to be vacated from July, there were certain orders the court made that were not complied with, there was an application made for relief and to be able to file those or comply with those orders. Today the application was not granted but the claim will still proceed because we do have the affidavit of the claimant before the court so what will take place next is the trial. We do have his affidavit in place which presents to the court the base of our evidence. Additionally there is always room for cross examination of those witnesses so I’ll have the opportunity to clarify or put to them whatever evidence I wish. I can set the record straight that they were not withdrawing from giving the affidavit. Since I was retained I prepared the affidavit in the event we were given the permission today so those were signed. The circumstances goes beyond that, they were just not filed in time. I prefer not to speak what happened before me save to say that there was non compliance with certain orders of the court and I do not want to disclose the name of those persons who swore the affidavits. The claim continues as it was it’s still for judicial review of the decision made by the commissioner.”
Reporter: The pretrial memorandum that you are to file can you share just technically what that is ?
Nazira Miles, Attorney for Eldon Arzu: “The pretrial memorandum sets out issues that we have agreed on or facts that we don’t agree on and then we set out the issues which we want the court to determine.”
Reporter: I understand that there are three grounds a judicial review can be sought on which ground are you seeking to?
Nazira Miles, Attorney for Eldon Arzu: “I am proceeding with all grounds. As the claim has been filed I am proceeding with that claim that he didn’t have a fair hearing when he was transferred, two that the decision was unreasonable and then three that he acted ultra vires. An order was made for cost in favor of the defendant given that the application was dismissed but the court made it clear that the order is not against my client. Simply and order was made for cost and we will take the necessary steps to have that cost paid by who needs to pay it. By law we have something called “wasted cost” where if there is a counsel who doesn’t take certain steps that needed to be taken there is an application that can be made and that’s the route we’re taking.”
The case was adjourned to February 11, 2020. On January 16, 2019, Chester Williams became the Commissioner of Police. Williams took the helm of the police department amid alleged corrupt and he was determined to get the department in order. As a result, Williams took steps to make several changes within the department. One such change was to put a two-year limit on the term an officer can serve as the president of the Belize Police Association.