Headline — 21 December 2016 — by Rowland A. Parks
Disappearance of police file thwarts case

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Dec. 19, 2016–In the criminal justice system, all kinds of stories emerge to suggest that all is not well. Apart from the constant parade of accused murderers walking from indictments, critics contend that cases before the lower courts are thwarted by all kinds of “hanky-panky”.

This morning, Chester Norales, 36, appeared before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser in a case for which he was first arraigned last December, when police charged him for committing burglary and dangerous harm against his next-door neighbor, Patrick Grant, 93.

It turns out, though, that the prosecution could not proceed with the trial, because there was no police case file. This left the Magistrate with the only option of striking out the charges against Norales, who walked away a free man today.

Under the new guidelines, the timeline for dealing with the matter had been exceeded, so the matter had to be struck out.

Chester Norales, charged for burglary and dangerous harm against Patrick Grant, 93, walks

Many questions remain, though: Where did the police case file go? Who was responsible for its safekeeping and ultimately, who was responsible for investigating this case?

Last December, Patrick Grant’s home on Fern Lane was burglarized. A number of items were stolen, and Grant was severely beaten into an unconscious state by the burglar.

Grant’s television set was found afterwards at the home of Noralez, a close neighbor. Police arrested and charged Norales with the two offences.

In court, the accused said that he had purchased the television set from someone on the street. After he was arraigned on the charges, he was remanded to prison but was later released on Supreme Court bail.

Norales also has a case of sexual assault against a student for which he was recently arraigned in court.

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