BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 23, 2015–This morning the prosecutor in the #3 Magistrate’s Court concluded the submissions of statements in the preliminary inquiry into the attempted murder charge against George McKenzie, Jr., the son of reputed gang boss George McKenzie, Sr., deceased.
After hearing submissions from McKenzie’s attorney Kareem Musa and the response of the court prosecutor, Corporal Kennard Clarke, Magistrate Herbert Panton is expected to make a ruling on Friday as to whether he will strike out the charge against McKenzie or send the case up to the Supreme Court for trial.
Last year June, police charged McKenzie with the attempted murder of Paul Alvarez, Jr., who was shot by a lone gunman on Lovely Lane.
The shooting occurred about eight months prior to McKenzie being charged for it. In addition to that, police had already charged another man for the same offense. Albert Robinson had been arraigned for Alvarez’s shooting, which occurred in mid-November 2013.
Musa told the court that he was making a submission, objecting to the committal of McKenzie to stand trial at the Supreme Court.
Musa cited Section 34 of the Indictable Procedure Act which provides an examining magistrate authority to discharge an accused person if there is not sufficient evidence to put the accused on trial.
“Based upon eyewitness statements to police, Albert Robinson was charged with the very same offence for which Mr. McKenzie is before this honorable court,” Musa submitted.
Musa continued, telling the court that police were given a statement in which McKenzie was named on November 27, 2013, but in what would be considered a smoking gun, police never conducted an identification parade with McKenzie until June of the following year.
“I note that the signature of Paul Alvarez, Jr., does not come close to the signature that Alvarez gave in a new statement to police,” Musa stated, before asking, “Why did the police not pick up McKenzie from November when the statement was purportedly given to them?”
Musa said, “We are relying exclusively on the January 26, 2015 statement of the virtual complainant, Paul Alvarez Jr., when he went to CIB to state that he wants no case against this accused. Albert Robinson should be before the court. Why is this man so special? Why is he being targeted?”
“In the circumstances, I respectfully and humbly submit that since Mr. Alvarez has said he does not wish to proceed against this accused, it is a waste of resources and an abuse of process to commit him to stand trial at the Supreme Court,” Musa told the court.
Prosecutor Clarke said, “With all that said, there is only one issue that that court must take into consideration — the statement of Paul Alvarez is sufficient to commit George McKenzie, Jr., to stand trial.”
Clarke added, “He positively identified the defendant, whom he mentioned he has known for several years prior to this incident.”
The prosecutor told the court that Alvarez cannot decide that he does not want court action; the offense is an offense against the state.
“His statement alone is sufficient to commit the defendant to a trial at the Supreme Court,” Clarke submitted.