General — 20 January 2018 — by Roy Davis (freelance reporter)
Linsbert Bahadur’s life sentence quashed by Belize Court of Appeal

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 16, 2018– In a judgment given by the Belize Court of Appeal, the appellant, Linsbert Bahadur, Jr., 33, convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, had his sentence remitted to the Supreme Court.

Bahadur’s appeal against his conviction was dismissed, however, and his conviction was affirmed.

Bahadur was convicted of the murder of Albert Wade, 32, a resident of Santa Elena Town in the Cayo District who was shot-gunned to death on April 14, 2006.

Wade’s body, with gunshot wounds in his forehead and left cheek, was found in his Toyota Camry car on Negroman Road in Santa Elena Town. Two other men, Benjamin Peters and Samuel Neal, were charged jointly with Bahadur.

But on December 17, 2008, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lyn Vidal, entered a nolle prosequi submission in their favor and they were discharged.

On March 2, 2009, a new indictment was made out against Bahadur. Bahadur went on trial on August 19, 2010.

On September 2, 2010, a nolle prosequi was entered in Bahadur’s favor and he was discharged. The reason given was that one of the witnesses for the Crown was out of the jurisdiction.

Later the same day he was rearrested and re-indicted for Wade’s murder. On November 17, 2015, Bahadur was tried a second time. This time the trial was aborted, because a juror became ill.

Bahadur’s third trial commenced on January 27, 2016. At the end of the trial, the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

On April 18, 2016, Bahadur was re-indicted for Wade’s murder. His fourth trial began on June 28, 2016 and on July 4, he was convicted of murder.

On July 13, 2016, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. The following day he appealed his conviction and sentence. His appeal was heard on June 9, 2017. His attorney, Oscar Selgado, had appealed his conviction on the grounds that the delay in the trial was unjustified and it amounted to an abuse of process; that the judge erred by not exercising her judicial discretion to stay the proceedings knowing that the matter was 10 years old, and she had sat on the matter previously; and that the hung jury should have been an acquittal.

In the opinion of the court, however, the circumstantial evidence proved beyond a doubt that Bahadur shot and killed Wade without any legal justification and the court dismissed the appeal of his conviction.

However, with regards to the sentence of life imprisonment, the court ruled that it was unconstitutional and that the Supreme Court should fix a minimum term of imprisonment for Bahadur to serve before becoming eligible for parole.

The Crown was represented by Senior Crown Counsel Sheneiza Smith.

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