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Hidden Valley Drug Runners Granted Bail

Six men nabbed for allegedly facilitating the landing of a narco-plane on November 28 were granted bail this morning. The men appeared in a virtual bail hearing where they were reportedly given a good scolding by the court prior to the bail approval. Attorney Richard Dickie Bradley is representing Police Corporal Eric David Young and Mennonite businessman, Saulus Penner, two of the six men. Bradley spoke to our newsroom shortly after this morning’s hearing.

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “As you all have reported to your listeners before the matter of bail centers primarily around the issue of what lawyers refer to as flight risk. A person is quite likely to run away once they get bail and not attend their trial so that was a matter or consideration the judge inquired thoroughly in relation to the concerns. And up to when I left the court bail had been granted to Mr Saulus Penner in as I had indicated in other occasions in the amount of $40,000 and with very strict conditions and those conditions include of course the reporting to the police two or three times for the week, must attend every a court hearing including those where it’s only an adjournment they are not to interfere with any witnesses, can’t leave this country., they must hand over all travel documents to the court, they required to observe very strict conditions and the $40,000 would be forfeited to the Government of Belize in the event that they breach any of the conditions. Bail was also granted to police officer Eric Young. I know you had required about what were the views in regard to the family and on learning that they had been granted, the family of Eric Young, the first thing that came out was they wanted that Jesus that their prayers were answered in relation to having their loved one spend his birthday with the family. Bail hearings were continuing in relation to the persons from the villages in Cayo who also charged in relation to the matter of the drug plane that landed or crash landed in the Pine Ridge area. So I think the media was primarily concerned as to whether or not the police officer would get bail and in his case the judge had very strong words to him because although it’s virtual there at prison in front of a television screen and they are in their court so the judge had expressed her grave disappointment that a police officer would claim that he’s out hunting after curfew and the hunting in an area where hunting is more than likely prohibited and she was concerned because one of the conditions for bail from the Supreme Court is normally that while you are on bail you are not to be arrested for any offense otherwise you are to be returned to the court to show cause my bail would not be revoked and the judge had said from the officers on mount he was claiming that he was out hunting but it would have been after curfew hours and then he had already shown a certain propensity towards not obey the laws of the land and he’s a police officer.”

Bradley went on to say that while Penner will be meeting the forty thousand dollar bail, Police Corporal Young is facing some challenges due to the paper work required.

Richard “Dickie” Bradley, Attorney: “Well the bail is a very high bail. The bail can only be met one of two ways they either go and borrow money and deposit $40,000 and leave it with the Government of Belize and if they breach any condition they lose it or they get a family member or a friend or perhaps even pay money for someone who knows them to use that land paper to cover that bail. And so there were some preparation in relation to that matter. I know for the police officer it’s very hard to put a police on $40,000 bail but that is the decision of the court and quite rightly so but I know there were scrambling around to find a land paper which also has to be encumbranced has to go through procedure where you have to send attendant documents to the land department that they process it. In the case of the police officer you know they remained in prison like two or three more days because the lands department is so slow it’s the slowest department in the country you can’t pick up a phone and call anybody and say listen a man will sleep in jail for the whole weekend if you just don’t give us a letter that yes the paperwork has been completed. It doesn’t work so those people are just very slow so I know that there were preparations, I know that the family had gone to Thomas Morrison to do a valuation because that also has to be done. A formal evaluation as to the value of the property must be presented to the court with the satisfaction of the registrar general who is a puny judge in law and then once that go ahead is got and then the matter is then taken to the lands department where you just have to make the sign of the cross and hope that they would try and have pity and mercy upon a person so that they could come out the same day. The system is not working, accused persons who apply for bail on Fridays and that bill is not heard or a decision is reached around midday on Friday those people spend the weekend in jail and so you just can’t get the lands department to move fast in relation to people just trying to process papers you just can’t.”