Man Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Assaulting Stepson

Man Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Assaulting Stepson

It sparked national outrage in late May when a man in his thirties was caught on video assaulting his three-year-old stepson. Well today, that man is behind bars and will be spending the next year at the Belize Central Prison. Davian Flores pleaded guilty on May 22 to two counts of cruelty to a child and appeared in the Belize City Magistrate’s Court for sentencing this morning. Senior Magistrate Baja Shoman said that, under the law, the offense could be punishable by a fine or prison time, but she felt that a fine was not appropriate. Shoman explained that there were several aggravating factors including age and psychological damage to the child. Shoman also said that despite Flores showing remorse and entering an early guilty plea, she would not deduct any time from his sentence to send a strong message that child abuse will not be tolerated. Commissioner of Police Chester Williams prosecuted the case personally. Williams says that he was glad that Flores got the maximum sentence, but that the offense itself needs to carry a stiffer penalty.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “I am satisfied yes that the court imposed the maximum sentence of twelve months. I wish they had run consecutively but instead the magistrate chose to have them run concurrent so in other words he will only serve twelve months as opposed to twenty four months. But in terms of the magistrate imposing the maximum sentence on both counts of twelve months each I think that the punishment does fit the crime. The child who has been abused and his parents can now feel at ease that the perpetrator will be behind bars and so for that I am extremely happy. Well the magistrate did cite precedence and she is right in doing so and by law she does have the discretion. So as much as I’m not to satisfied with that she is acting within the scope of the law in so doing. The magistrate was extremely clear in her assessment of the matter in terms of saying that we must send a strong message to persons who have care of children that as a society we must protect our future, our children are our future and if we don’t do what we can now to protect them then who is going to do so. So I think the magistrate was very clear in that as well.” 

Reporter: Do you feel that maybe this particular offense should carry a greater penalty ? 

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “Certainly yes it should and it’s something I have discussed with the Minister of Human Development and we’re looking at revision of the law so as to make it a more serious offense as well as to remove some of those elements that exist in order for the offense to be created.”

One very interesting point brought across by Police Commissioner Chester Williams was the fact that had Flores not been a relative to the child, the charge of child cruelty would not have been applicable.  It is a curious point that he explained on The Morning Show.

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “One of the flaws I see in the law and I had the discussion last week with the Minister of Human Development because if it is that we want to have a strong system that protects our children the law must reflect that and in a case like this where we see the abuse outright on the video footage in public we would not have been able to charge the man for cruelty to a child unless the mother cooperated which I don’t think it’s right. I think that cruelty to a child is cruelty to a child regardless of whether or not you have custody of the child or you have control of the child or whatever. I don’t think it should be dependent on that. The way the law is structured now it is structured in such a way that there must be some connection with you and that child that you have some responsibility in respect of that child and I don’t think that is right. So in other words if an ordinary let’s say Davian Flores was an ordinary person not connected to the child we would not have been able to charge him for cruelty to a child. We got three different video footage for three different days so obviously it’s something that occurred repeatedly and that is only what we saw in public because the camera captured it. What about other areas where that camera did not exist ? What happened to inside the home so we don’t know the amount of abuse that child may have undergone.”

Flores was caught on two separate surveillance videos assaulting the child.  The videos went viral on social media leading to his arrest and the loss of his job as a security guard at the National Sports Council.

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