General — 17 February 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
BDF driver pleads guilty to manslaughter by negligence

He was fined $10,000 for death of a toddler, 3

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 14, 2018– A Belize Defence Force civilian driver who was facing a manslaughter by negligence charge for the death of a 3-year-old toddler, for which he pleaded guilty last week, was spared a custodial sentence and fined a total of $10,000 when he appeared for sentencing before Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Williams today.

After pleading guilty, Hubert Martinez threw himself on the mercy of the court, asking the court not to impose a custodial sentence on him because he is the sole breadwinner for his wife and three sons.

Justice Williams imposed a fine of $2,500 plus $5 cost of court on Martinez, 40. This fine is to be paid to the Government of Belize for the offense.

In addition, the court also ordered Martinez to pay $6,000 to the estate of Jahston Terry, the 3-year-old child who died as a result of the accident that was caused by Martinez. Martinez was also ordered to pay $1,500 to Jaheem Terry, 5, Jahston’s older brother, who was injured in the accident.

The court ordered Martinez to pay all the fines by August 8, 2018.

Last Friday, the court heard mitigation pleas on Martinez’s behalf. One of Martinez’s former co-workers, BDF Major Clifton Williams, appeared to speak on his behalf. A neighbor of Martinez, Orlando Perez, the owner of Perez Hardware Store in Ladyville, also entered mitigation pleas on his behalf.

Both Perez and Williams described Martinez as a very hardworking and loyal person who took care of his wife and three sons.

After hearing mitigation pleas, Justice Williams had reserved her ruling to take into consideration those mitigating factors, since she had ruled out any aggravating factor.

On December 4, 2013, the day when the accident occurred, Martinez was the driver of a passenger van that veered onto the sidewalk on Cemetery Road, in front of Constitution Park, where the two children were walking, hitting both of them. Jahston’s head was crushed by the impact and his brother was injured.

A test that was done on Martinez confirmed that he was not drinking at the time of the accident.

Martinez was represented by attorney Bryan Neal, while the Crown’s case was presented by Crown Counsel Rene Montero, Jr., son of Works Minister Rene Montero, Sr.

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