Two lawyers “found no legal grounds”
Appeal Court President Manuel Sosa said that “The jury was subjected to contradictory and confusing direction”
Glenford “Bucket” Bermudez, the ex- BDF soldier who was convicted of fatally shooting his wife, Racquel Requeña Bermudez, 41, had his appeal allowed when he appeared unrepresented before the judges of the Court of Appeal.
It was alleged that on November 22, 2007, Bermudez ran his wife’s car off the Hattieville/Boom Road when she was heading to the Belize Central Prison. After the car ran into a ditch, Bermudez allegedly shot Requeña with a shotgun to her head, causing her death.
Bermudez then unsuccessfully attempted to end his own life by tying a piece of wire around his neck and attempting to hang himself from a tree.
Bermudez was convicted of the murder on April 27, 2011, and was sentenced to life in prison by Justice Herbert Lord.
This was Bermudez’s third appeal, because in March of this year, and again on Monday, two separate lawyers, Anthony Sylvester and Hubert Elrington, respectively, both after perusing his case file, said they couldn’t find any legal grounds to support the appeal.
Elrington on Monday asked to be removed from the case and was granted that, and Bermudez was informed that he had until today to either find another lawyer, or the matter would proceed without one.
When court resumed this morning, Appeal Court President Manuel Sosa was the first to address the matter, and after he went over the case, he found that the trial judge did not give clear directions to the jury. According to Sosa, “The jury was subjected to contradictory and confusing direction.”
Sosa went on to use adjectives such as “gross, egregious and misleading” in describing the directions given by the trial judge.
Sosa also spoke about the “careless manner in which the unsworn statement was thrown at the jury,” and concluded by saying that “It’s unfair to the accused.”
The Director of Public Prosecution responded by saying that “The injury was a close contact injury. I am convinced that even if the jury had been properly directed, they would have inevitably arrived at the same conclusion.”
The response from the DPP was not enough for the panel of justices, and after Justice Sosa’s rant, he then told Bermudez to rise.
Bermudez was then told that “The court does not see the need to ask you to address any argument to the court.”
Sosa then told Bermudez that his appeal was allowed, but also that the prosecution had put forth a very strong case against him, and so the conviction would be set aside and a retrial was ordered in the interest of justice. In the meantime, Bermudez will be on remand at the Belize Central Prison.
The reasons for the allowance of the appeal will be given in writing at a later date.