General — 26 July 2017 — by Rowland A. Parks
Justice Lord rules against recusal application

He also set date for hearing Orlando Vera’s appeal of his 2-year sentence

BELIZE CITY, Fri. July 21, 2017–Orlando Vera, the convicted Deputy Director of Belize’s National Forensic Science Service who is appealing a two-year sentence for abetment to pervert the course of justice, appeared in the Supreme Court of Justice Herbert Lord this afternoon for a ruling on an application he instructed his attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, to make on his behalf last Friday.

On that occasion, Vera had asked Justice Lord to recuse himself from hearing Vera’s appeal after the judge had issued several orders that were not carried out, and had continued to rule against Vera’s bail application.

After the verbal application was made to Justice Lord for him to recuse himself from the appeal last Friday, the judge instructed both the Crown, represented by Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, S. C., and Vera’s attorney, Sylvestre, to make written submissions on the recusal application and to complete and submit them by Wednesday, July 19.

Both sides complied and Justice Lord issued his ruling, saying that no basis was established for why he should recuse himself.

“I therefore, from the above, refuse the application,” Justice Lord said. He then announced that “the matter will now be set down for full hearing.”

Justice Lord then ruled that submissions by the applicant, Vera, are to be made and given to the court by August 4. The Crown is to make its written submission by August 11, and the hearing of the appeal is to be on August 15.

Vera, whose case was tried in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court before the Chief Magistrate, was convicted on June 2 of abetment to pervert the course of justice, when Chief Magistrate, Ann Marie Smith, handed down her ruling in Belize City. The Director of Public Prosecutions led the Crown’s evidence against him.

On Thursday, June 8, Chief Magistrate Smith sentenced Vera to serve 2 years in prison.

He and his attorney had already filed appeal papers and so, the following day after he was sentenced, Friday, June 9, Vera appeared before Justice Lord in his first bail application hearing. Altogether, Vera appeared before Justice Lord at least four more times on bail application hearings, and was denied.

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