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Traffic Officer Slapped with Charges for Fatal Accident

On Sunday, January 3 a road traffic accident on the Philip Goldson Highway claimed the lives of Alfredo Navarette and Pamela Bennett Cumberbatch and left Calvin Cumberbatch seriously injured.  Calvin, who works with the Traffic Department of the Belize City Council, was the driver of one of the vehicles. He has since been released from the hospital and today he appeared in court where six charges were levied against him. Cumberbatch was charged with two counts of manslaughter by negligence, two counts of causing death by careless conduct, one count of driving without due care and attention and one count of failure to keep on the right side of the road. His attorney, Audrey Matura Shepherd, was surprised that her client was taken to court in his condition.

AUDREY MATURA-SHEPHERD: “We were shocked to hear that he would be brought to court so quick. First of all yesterday we learnt from the news that he was charged yesterday that is not true. I have been in touch with corporal Shalom who is the lead investigator in this matter. He knew my client was in a good condition, Mr.Cumberbatch is still in and will go back for another surgery. We got in touch with the corporal and he said that he himself didn’t know about it but we had an understanding that as soon as he feels better we would take him into the police station. So not wanting to delay this process anymore clearly there being a decision made without hearing his side of the story we took him to the police station this morning, he was then charged and brought for arraignment today. It went so quick but what we had been told by the investigator which I know is the normal process is that that file would have been taken to the DPP. The police themselves know that they don’t have any witnesses or so but when the disclosure comes we will see what they have. You usually take those files to the DPP in some instances like this where you still don’t have everything you would take it to a coroner’s inquest. So to learn about that on the news was shocking but then in Belize you never know what would happen.Reporter: Did police share anything with you with regards to findings of the investigation?Audrey Matura Shepherd: Absolutely nothing. I’m telling you that it was a surprise. Mr. Cumberbatch was served with a notice of intended prosecution shortly after the accident about a day or two after that the police had up to 90 days to charge him. Usually you wait for him to recover so that he can come to the court but, my client is in court in pain but maybe it’s best to just get it over with because that was clearly the intention of the police to charge him.”

Cumberbatch was released on a bail of five thousand dollars and a surety of the same amount. He is to reappear in court on April