Crime — 04 October 2013 — by Rochelle Gillett
Maritza Hernandez, 21, charged with theft, handling stolen goods and damage to property

Hernandez was remanded into custody after it was learned that she is a Honduran with a temporary visa valid only until October 19, 2013

Maritza Hernandez, 21, a Honduran domestic of #34 East Canal, is spending her first night on remand at the Belize Central Prison tonight after she was denied bail by Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith.

Hernandez was arraigned on charges of theft, handling stolen goods and damage to property after her roommate, Suyapa Barahona, made a report to the police.

According to that report, when Hernandez arrived at home at 4:00 Saturday evening, she found that Barahona had packed her belongings and had them waiting for her at the door. Hernandez, who according to Barahona appeared to be under the influence of something, became enraged, went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and went into the room, where she damaged a Sony brand flat screen television valued at $2,000.

Hernandez then left the house and when Barahona checked her possessions, she found that her Samsung Galaxy cell phone valued at $600 was missing.

Hernandez pleaded not guilty to the theft and handling stolen goods charges, but accepted responsibility for damaging the television.

When enquiries were made about Hernandez’s residency status, her Honduran passport was presented to the court. Checks of the passport revealed that Hernandez was issued a temporary visa, which is valid until October 19, 2013.

After learning this, the prosecutor, Sgt. Egbert Castillo, asked the Chief Magistrate to deny Hernandez bail because (1) the adjournment date would be on a date after her VISA expired, and (2) once given bail, when her visa had expired, she would be free to leave the country and not answer to her charges.

The Chief Magistrate agreed with Sgt. Castillo and denied Hernandez bail, but, in the process, expedited her matter so that her trial will take place on her next scheduled appearance to court on November 1, 2013.

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