Family Wins Legal Case After 11-Year Wait in Belize High Court
After waiting for more than eleven years to go to trial, a family in Sandhill Village, Belize District has won a case in the Belize High Court. Justice Farnesse ruled that the claimants’’ constitutional rights had been violated when the prosecution failed to bring the matter to trial within a reasonable time. The matter dates back to September 2011 when Ormencia Pou, her mother, Irene Budd along with her son were charged for attempted murder, and later indicted on the charge of dangerous harm. Justice Farnesse noted in her ruling statement that more than eleven years has elapsed since the claim was filed. She added that while she does find that 13 months of that delay was attributable to the claimants, four years of the delay are the result of judicial vacancies, and therefore the government via the Attorney General’s office must pay the prescribed cost to be ordered. Representing the family in this claim is Attorney Orson Elrington.
Orson Elrington, Attorney: “A couple weeks ago there was a claim brought by my clients Ms.Pou and her mother Ms.Bood. The claim is for a breach of their constitutional right pursuant section 6(2) of the Constitution which is to have their trial within a reasonable time. Some years ago my clients were charged for an offense of which they maintain their innocence but the matter has been languishing in the courts for ten plus years and so my clients brought a constitutional claim to claim a breach of their constitutional right. The decision was handed down by the Honorable Justice and she ruled in favor of our client to say that indeed their constitutional right has been breached however she said that only under extreme circumstances where it can be proven that it would be impossible to have a fair trail at all would there be a permanent stay of the proceedings and so she denied our application to have it permanently stayed that part of her application. However she did say that the matter should be commenced and concluded within a year within its entirety and if that does not happen then the matter will be permanently stayed.”
The charge against Pou and Bood stems from a dispute with their neigbour, Gilbert Blair who reportedly attempted to burn their house down.