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Teenager walks free of 2013 murder charge

Harry Arzu reporting…

“Twenty four year old Corina Cu was a student at the University of Belize. On February 21, 2013 she was on her way to school in Punta Gorda Town from Laguna Village in the Toledo District when she was reportedly accosted by Jonathan Cucul who was sixteen years old at the time. According to reports, Cucul inflicted multiple chop wounds upon Cu which caused her death.  He was later charged for her murder and today in the Southern session of the Supreme Court here in Dangriga, he was found not guilty by Justice Dennis Hannomansingh. Attorney at Law, Richard Dickie Bradley explained the reason for the decision. “

Richard Bradley – Attorney

“The case involved a very serious matter in that the police obtained what would appear to have been a confession,  that in fact in evidence was presented in court that Jonathan Cucul gave a statement to the police and said that he did chop up this young lady on the road outside of the village. However, the law is important in laws of confession or doubly important in the sense that there is actually a law in the law books, in the evidence act about how a court is to treat and deal with and look at confession statements. For example, a confession must be freely, voluntarily given by who is confessing to a crime. It must be proven by the police that a confession was obtained in circumstances where there has been no threats, no beatings, no coercion, and no inducements. For that reason, the officer who is recording a caution statement is not allowed to take the caution statement by himself. It must be done in the presence of a justice of the peace; in this case none of those things are on the statement.  Second it is my understanding that the father, when the police went in search of Jonathan Cucul, he was at home with his parents. They did not for some reason allow the parent to be present to countersign on anything and the problem that faced the judge, the law is very, very rigid when you Police Officers take minors into custody. So the big problem is that the police for some reason, did not follow all these requirements of the law.”

Harry Arzu

“Hearing the decision, the family of Corina Cu  broke down and cried helplessly. For them there is no closure. Love News spoke with one of the deceased brother Joel Cu.

Joel Cu – Victim’s brother

“There were two witnesses that identified that my sister called out her killer before she actually passed away and investigation from the police, I can’t believe that there are some Police who are so incompetent.  Police who are actually  high ranking police that have been doing their job so many years, that would actually charge a person without the parents, I mean a minor. Everybody knows that. It is really very disappointing for this case to fall apart because the police actually charged the minor without the presence of his parent. Our justice system really failed us for this one. He gave a caution statement saying he did inflict chop wounds to my sister but at the time when he was arrested and charged, his parents weren’t around which is unconstitutional. You cannot charge a person without the parents, especially a minor and that is pretty much what happened in this case and the case just fell apart.”

Cucul was represented by attorney Peta Gaye Bradley while Senior Counsel Cecil Ramirez represented the prosecution.