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Trail Against UDP Attorney Sharon Pitts begins

The trial against UDP Attorney Sharon Pitts began today before Supreme Court Justice Lisa Shoman. Pitts is being sued by the Government of Belize for four hundred thousand dollars- that’s the amount of money she received as land compensation under the Barrow Government. The scandal broke in 2016 when it was revealed that Pitts had purchased a parcel of land near the Haulover Bridge for just over ten thousand dollars. That land, however, already had an owner and as compensation to Pitts, the then Minister of Lands, Gaspar Vega, approved payment of four hundred thousand dollars. A similar case involved Vega’s son Andre and this led Vega to resign. Both parties entered mediation which proved to be unsuccessful. Former Lands Commissioner Wilber Vallejos who was first instructed to appear on behalf of the government was replaced by Senior Lands Officer Jerjette Gutierrez- the only witness for the state. Pitts’ attorney, Senior Counsel Hubert Elrington questioned Gutierrez who explained that the ministry had sent a letter to Pitts in which Pitts was told that the permission to survey the land was denied because it was owned by one Miguel Valencia. No evidence was presented to show that Pitts actually received the letter. The first day of the trial finished at 2:30 this afternoon and Love News spoke to Elrington. 

SC Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Sharon Pitts: “Today was the case in which the government was bringing the claim in the name of the Attorney General against Ms. Sharon Pitts and we did the Government’s side. They brought one witness and then we did our side and we got one witness through today and that’s how it’s.”

Reporter: How confident do you feel about this case?

SC Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Sharon Pitts: “I’m sure about it.”

Reporter: Can you speak about how much witness are you going to interview? 

SC Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Sharon Pitts: “I will call two very short witnesses tomorrow but in my view, the Government seemed to have failed to bring any evidence at all to substantiate its claim.”

Reporter: Do you feel like the trial is being affected because it took so long to be in court?

SC Hubert Elrington, Attorney for Sharon Pitts: “Not really. Not really. Trials in Belize tend to go on and on and on and on so I don’t think anything about that. It’s just that it seems to me that the evidence brought by the claimant, the Attorney General, was particularly weak.”

The case continues tomorrow morning.