BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan. 2, 2018– This morning, the Belize City Magistrate’s Court opened for the first business day of the New Year and a massive, heavily armed police presence could be seen: a metal barrier was placed at one strategic location, sealing off a portion of Treasury Lane from the direction of Southern Foreshore and at the Regent Street side of the court building. Almost a dozen police officers from the Special Patrol Unit (SPU) took up positions, sealing off the court perimeter.
Inside the court building, the person for whom the elaborate security apparatus was rolled out was not placed in the cell with the other detainees who had been brought to court, but was sitting quietly outside the holding cell area on a chair. After that person was in the building for most of the morning, a woman police court orderly eventually went in the holding cell area and emerged with the accused, Woman Police Constable Michelle Brown, who leaned on her fellow police officer for support as she limped her way toward Chief Magistrate Sharon Fraser’s courtroom.
The court was called to order as Chief Magistrate Fraser sat on the bench and told the accused woman to stand. With obvious difficulty, Brown attempted to stand up. Fraser, seeing that she had difficulty standing up, indicated to her that she would be permitted to sit through the arraignment.
Brown told the court that she was 24-years-old and is a police officer residing at Luis Street, in the St. Martin’s area of the Lake Independence area.
With those preliminaries taken care of, the Chief Magistrate told Brown that she was being charged with the murder of Fareed Ahmad, which occurred on December 28, 2017, between Miles 16 and 17 on the George Price Highway.
After reading the charge to her, Fraser then explained to Brown, who appeared in court without an attorney, that the charge of murder is an indictable offense and that the court cannot offer her bail. “You will be remanded to the Belize Central Prison until March 9, at which time you will be brought back to this court,” the Chief Magistrate told her.
In a few minutes the arraignment was over. Brown, however, remained in the courtroom, apparently waiting for the police vehicle that would transport her to the prison, where she will remain until her case is tried at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has a serious backlog of criminal cases, with over 200 persons on remand for murder in the Belize Central Prison. An attempt is being made for the court to deal with newer cases within two years from the time of arraignment.
The allegation against Brown is that she murdered Ahmad sometime after 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 28.
Ahmad and Brown were both found by some Hattieville residents who said that they heard the sounds of gunfire, and shortly after a BMW SUV owned by Ahmad crashed into a parked car.
An autopsy performed on Ahmad indicated that he died from blunt trauma force to the head as a result of a road traffic accident. Ahmad also sustained gunshot injuries to the face, the autopsy had confirmed.
Brown’s police-issued 9mm handgun was removed from Ahmad’s wrecked vehicle and two expended shells were recovered from inside the vehicle. At their press briefing today, police confirmed that two rounds from Brown’s gun were missing. Police investigators believe that the two expended shells found in the vehicle were from Brown’s gun, which has been sent for forensic testing.