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Mentally unstable man remanded to prison on burglary charge

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Aug. 5, 2015–A Belize City man who is apparently suffering from some kind of mental ailment was remanded to prison this afternoon after he was arraigned before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser on a charge of burglary.

Lincoln Moguel, a former taxi driver, has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison for several months, after he was denied bail on a charge of taking a conveyance without lawful authority.

In April 2014, Moguel attempted to drive off with a police pickup truck from Precinct 3, on Racoon Street, but was spotted by Constable Janel Myers, who managed to stop him in time, before he could get away.

After many adjournments, Moguel’s case finally concluded before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith on Monday, August 3, when he was found guilty of the charge. He was spared from spending more time in prison, but was fined $1,000 and released.

The forty-two-year-old Moguel, however, did not value his freedom, because this morning he arrived back at court, emerging from the police van that brought prisoners to court. He was properly shackled with a heavy chain, instead of handcuffs.

When the van returned to court this afternoon, however, Moguel was not on board. He had inadvertently been left at the Precinct 3 “piss-house” on Queen Street, although his court paperwork was completed. He was eventually brought back to court around 4:00 p.m.

On Monday, after he was found guilty, fined and released, Moguel re-entered the criminal justice system, in less than 24 hours. This time, it was for an offense which carries a more severe penalty—a minimum prison time of five years.

The present allegation against Moguel is that he committed burglary when he entered the Polonio Street home of Margaret Trapp, in Belama, “with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.”

Court documents said that Trapp called police when she went home Monday evening and found a strange, dark-skinned man in her house.

Trapp told police that the man, whom she did not know, began to close the windows of her house, as if he was living there. This made her fear for her safety.

Following Magistrate Fraser’s reading of the brief facts to him, Moguel told the court, “The lady gave me a drink of water. If she was in fear, do you think she would have given me a glass of water to drink?”

Court prosecutor Corporal Kennard Clarke objected to bail on the ground that Moguel could be a threat to Trapp, the virtual complainant.

Magistrate Fraser advised Moguel to check into his health: “If you are sick, you need to see about your health,” she said.

She remanded Moguel until his next court date on October 16.

On Monday, in court, Moguel had told Chief Magistrate Smith that he did not commit the offense of taking a conveyance without lawful authority. He was “set up,” he told the court, and the police did not give him his charge sheet nor his disclosure.

Smith advised him to get help for his mental condition.

Before the case went to trial, Moguel was declared fit to stand trial by a psychiatrist.

Moguel has until December 31, to pay his $1,000 fine; if he defaults in payment, he will spend six months in prison.

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