General — 29 July 2017 — by Rowland A. Parks
Mario Galvez tries to protect ex-girlfriend, but DPP says case will proceed to trial

BELIZE CITY, Tues. July 25, 2017–Three adults and a minor (who is still remanded), who are facing charges in connection with an alleged aggravated burglary that occurred at the home of businessman Mario Galvez on Wednesday, May 24, appeared this morning in the Magistrate’s Court before Senior Magistrate, Sharon Fraser.

The virtual complainant, Galvez, also appeared. Galvez’s purpose for appearing at court today was to inform the presiding magistrate that he “came to drop the case.”

Esther Garcia, 28, an ex-girlfriend of Galvez, is facing a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary. No one else has been charged for the conspiracy along with Garcia. Nicholi Rhys, with whom Garcia admitted to being in a relationship when they were arraigned, is facing an aggravated burglary charge along with Kyle Carter, 22, and a 17-year-old minor in connection with the same incident involving Garcia.

On Monday, July 3, Amandala had asked Galvez if it was true that he had dropped his complaint against Esther Garcia and Nicoli Rhys, 26, along with two others,whom he had alleged had burglarized his home and robbed him.

Galvez had replied that he had. Then he added, “but the state don’t want me to drop the charges, so I will be treated as a hostile witness.”

There are some interesting aspects to this case as it pertains to Nicholi Rhys, a young man who first came to the attention of media when he was charged for the sensational murder of the South Side Gangsters leader, Andre Trapp, in June 2010. He was acquitted of the murder charge in February 2013, but since then, he has become known as an affiliate of the George Street Gang.

Rhys was remanded to prison when he was charged in relation to the Galvez incident. His first application for bail at the Supreme Court was unsuccessful. He had been out on bail for two minor offences, the cases for which have been dragging on for a long time before the Magistrate’s Court.

Notwithstanding the fact that the Crown was unable to wrap up a case involving 6 persons who were charged for a bullet and possession of small quantities of cannabis since 2014, Crown Counsel Jackie Willoughby made an application to Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord to revoke the two bails for the minor offences that Rhys had been charged for, in effect, keeping him on remand.
During that hearing, when it was brought to Justice Lord’s attention by attorney Dickie Bradley, who represented Rhys at the bail revocation hearing, that Galvez had made a statement to police saying that he didn’t want to continue with the case, Justice Lord ordered that Rhys be taken before the magistrate as soon as possible to have the matter sorted out.

That Supreme Court order was not followed. Rhys was eventually released on bail granted to him by Justice Lord despite Crown Counsel Willoughby’s objection that he had violated the two previous bail conditions for the minor offences.

This morning, the two cases that Willoughby was banking on to keep Rhys locked up in prison concluded in Magistrate Fraser’s court when the more serious charge of keeping unlicensed ammunition fizzled out, with the prosecutor withdrawing that charge from 6 persons, including Rhys.

In regard to the charge for the possession of a small amount of a controlled drug, which had been brought against 6 persons, one person decided to “man-up,” and changed his not guilty plea to guilty. He was ordered to pay a fine for the small amount of cannabis. The prosecutor then withdrew the charge from Rhys and the others.

In the Galvez matter, Magistrate Fraser told Mario Galvez, whom she had invited to stand near the witness stand, that he needed to go to the DPP to withdraw the case from the accused persons.

“It might have concerned a judge to grant Nicholi Rhys bail, but the DPP’s office is not withdrawing the case,” Magistrate Fraser told Galvez. “They are prepared to put you on the witness stand as a hostile witness.”

The Senior Magistrate told Galvez, “I have already been informed that they are taking over this matter.”

The three adults charged in the matter are all on Supreme Court bail, while the minor, who was the last person to be charged, remains at the Wagner’s Youth Facility, located at the Belize Central Prison.

A few minutes after the others with whom he is accused had left the courtroom, Rhys got up to leave and Magistrate Fraser said to him, “I no wan see you back ya.”

Rhys replied, “I have a job and a young son to take care of,” as he left the court until September 29, the next adjournment date for the Galvez matter.

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