BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan 20, 2015–Steven Buckley, 43, the man who took the blast of a police pump action shotgun in his face and beat the odds when he survived on a life support machine at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital Intensive Care Unit, appeared in the Supreme Court this morning, but the civil case that he had filed against the Government has been adjourned once more.
Now, after almost 5 years, Steven Buckley, who has been paralyzed as a consequence of being shot by a high ranking on-duty police officer, is frustrated with the criminal justice system.
On the night of Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Steven Buckley, a construction worker, was in the pickup truck of his employer, Marlon Myers, when he was shot by a police officer.
After investigating the incident for five weeks, police charged Inspector Dennis Lopez with attempted murder and dangerous harm, which are indictable offences. The then Chief Magistrate Margaret McKenzie ordered that Lopez be remanded to prison, but he was not immediately taken to the Belize Central Prison; instead, he was reportedly kept in a special room at the Queen Street Police Station, before transported to the prison.
The shooting incident that resulted in Buckley’s injuries occurred when Buckley, Myers and Alfonso Juarez were travelling on Kraal Road, after having picked up their tools from a construction site in the neighbourhood in which the shooting occurred. Police were conducting a search of the area for a vehicle allegedly resembling Myers’ pickup truck.
Lopez allegedly fired two shots, hitting Buckley, who was seated in the front passenger seat, through the vehicle’s windshield.
Today, Myers told Amandala that up to now, the police have not compensated him for the damage to his vehicle.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow, on behalf of the government, had awarded Buckley $100,000 as a partial settlement.
The civil claim that Buckley filed against the government, however, has not been able to go forward, but it will be easier for it to proceed after the criminal case against Lopez concludes.
The criminal case will establish whether or not the shots fired by Lopez were justified, because he was acting in the line of duty.
When the incident first occurred, three was a discrepancy about whether Lopez had fired a single, or two shots from his police-issued 12-gauge shotgun. The occupants of Myers’ pickup claim that Lopez fired two shots, but Lopez had told police investigators that he fired only one shot.
Buckley’s civil claim against the government has been adjourned to February 9, 2015.