BELIZE CITY, Wed. Jan. 10, 2018– Stephen Buckley was shot by Police Inspector Dennis Lopez on April 28, 2010. Lopez was arrested, charged and arraigned on attempted murder. The case made its way through the Magistrate’s Court and in March 2011, Lopez was committed to stand trial at the Supreme Court.
He was indicted in the June 2011 session of the court, but since he was indicted, the matter has been lying dormant.
In August 2013, the government paid Buckley $50,000 as a partial settlement. Buckley has a civil suit pending, but apparently is awaiting the result of the criminal case against Lopez before he proceeds with his civil claim.
Today, in a telephone interview with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, S.C., Amandala learned that the hold-up of Inspector Dennis Lopez’s case has to do with the backlog of cases at the Supreme Court.
Vidal explained that the Lopez matter was assigned to the Supreme Court of Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez. Justice Gonzalez, however, has since retired from the bench (last year), “and nothing has happened with his list of cases,” she informed us.
She also pointed out that the matters that were before Justice Gonzalez have not been assigned to any other judge.
DPP Vidal told us that her office has been ready for trial from the time they indicted Lopez on the attempted murder charge. She said that at one point, the attorney for the accused man (Lopez) was not ready.
“Mr. Buckley has been in constant contact with Mr. Awich (the Crown Counsel who will prosecute the case),” DPP Vidal said. “The judge will set the date for the trial,” she said.
In an interview earlier this week with 7News, Buckley said, “From I went to the court and asked about the case, they said the case doesn’t have any judge to deal with it, and I asked them why. They said they don’t have any judge.
“This year they said they were supposed to have a judge. They are not sure if they will have a judge to do it … I want to know why the case is prolonged, because if it was me who shot the policeman, what do you think would have happened to me? They would have already locked me up in jail.”
Buckley, who was shot in the face, has been left paralyzed in the right side of his body and is unable to work.