BELIZE CITY, Wed. Apr. 15, 2015–Keyren Tzib, a female who holds the rank of seaman in the Belize Coast Guard, was able to smile with family members and a high school friend who was present this afternoon after Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord announced, “everything I asked for has been given and bail will be granted.”
Tzib has been at the Belize Central Prison for the past eight days, since she was arraigned on charges of attempted murder, use of deadly means of harm and dangerous harm against petty officer Kurt Hyde, who she allegedly shot onboard a Coast Guard boat that was returning to its Belize City base, after a multi-agency operation around San Pedro, on Easter Monday.
Under an amendment to the Crime Control and Criminal Justice Act, any person who can prove to the court that he or she is of good character with no criminal record, can apply for an expedited bail at the Supreme Court. Prior to the amendment, bail applicants had to wait 10 working days before approaching the court for bail.
Tzib’s attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd, made a bail application under the provision of the amendment to the law, and the case was heard on Friday, April 10. Bail was denied then, and Justice Lord gave the parties certain orders to carry out before he considers offering bail today, Wednesday.
The court wanted a report on the virtual complainant (Hyde)’s condition, following a scheduled surgery on Sunday onboard a US Navy medical ship, and it wanted a psychological examination of the bail applicant, Tzib, to determine if she was a danger to herself or to society.
Having learned that Hyde is in stable condition onboard the USS Comfort and that Tzib is not a danger to herself or society, Justice Lord offered her bail of $10,000 and one surety in the same amount, or two sureties of $5,000 each.
The bail was offered on the conditions that: “The petitioner turn over her travel document to the Supreme Court Marshall. The petitioner report to the Ladyville Police Station every Monday and Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The petitioner attend each and every adjournment at the Belize City Magistrate’s Court until the matter is completed.”
Further stipulations are that Tzib is not to “interfere or communicate with the virtual complainant either by herself or a third party.” (The judge explained that the third party that is mentioned, is a reference to electronic means of contact). Tzib is also not to go “within 100 yards of the virtual complainant, his home or workplace.” Additionally, if Tzib at any time reports to the Coast Guard headquarters, “the Coast Guard is to ensure at that time that both the virtual complainant and the petitioner are not within 100 yards of each other”. Other conditions of bail include the following: “The petitioner is not to interfere or communicate with any prosecution witness. The petitioner is to continue to undergo follow-up clinical treatment and use prescribed medication. If the petitioner is arrested and subsequently charged for any other offense, then the petitioner is to be brought immediately, or as soon as possible thereafter, before a judge of the Supreme Court.”
The Coast Guard Deputy Commander Elton Bennett was at the hearing, but managed to slip past reporters, declining to give an interview.
Matura-Shepherd, however, told the media that there was an understanding at the Coast Guard that Hyde and her client were not to be assigned to work together.
“Another thing the media may not know about and the public did not know about is that there was also an understanding that Mr. Kurt Hyde and her were to never work together or be placed together. In the affidavit given by the Coast Guard second in command, Elton Bennett, however, it states that they opted for Mr. Kurt Hyde, who was in another vessel, to go pick her up at the San Pedro base to bring her to town for a hearing that she had because they didn’t want two vessels coming in the same direction,” she said.
Matura-Shepherd added that, “The Coast Guard needs to take responsibility because they, better than anybody else, know the internal issues there.”