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“Bladen 12” trial postponed as new defense team steps in

General“Bladen 12” trial postponed as new defense team steps in

Photo: Defense attorney, Richard “Dickie” Bradley

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Mar. 25, 2024

The highly anticipated “Bladen 12” trial, the biggest drug trafficking case in Belize, faced yet another delay today during what was supposed to be a continuation of a critical voir dire process.

The procedure, aimed at determining the admissibility of crucial evidence including statements made by the accused, hit a snag following an unexpected decision.

Attorney Lynden Jones, now representing Elmer Nah, a former police officer implicated in the case, has taken on the representation of an additional four defendants suddenly left unrepresented following the conviction of their previous counsel, Oscar Selgado.

Jones, needing time to meet with his newly acquired clients, requested an adjournment of the trial, which was granted.

In a separate development, Nah, through Jones, sought to have an inspector from the GI3 unit removed from his security detail, citing safety concerns.

Nah alleged that the inspector, who is involved in Nah’s ongoing Belmopan triple-murder case, made threatening remarks towards him.

“We are living in violent times. A prisoner gets up and says to the court, ‘I don’t feel safe because officer so and so is telling me certain things. I don’t feel safe.’ That is a very serious matter, and the Senior Magistrate took it seriously; but I’m sorry, I beg to disagree. That’s a matter that should have been dealt with right away,” defense attorney Richard “Dickie” Bradley told reporters.

This complaint was documented by Senior Magistrate Baja Shoman, who advised that the issue be addressed through the Police Department’s Professional Standards Branch.

Under the guidance of Head of Prosecution, Alifah Elrington, the prosecution also anticipates another six days to complete the voir dire, as she announced six to ten witnesses yet to testify.

However, Bradley shared different views, suggesting that it is a waste of the court’s time, stating, “At least 18 witnesses do not have to come to this court to say a word. They can tender in their statement. Nothing is in there that can incriminate any of our clients. We’re really wasting the court’s time when we’re going to call as much as they want to call, when there is no need.”

The “Bladen 12” case is scheduled to continue on April 3rd and April 8th.

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