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Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Home General CCJ permanently ends sentence of Solomon Marin, Jr.

CCJ permanently ends sentence of Solomon Marin, Jr.

The high court found that Marin's constitutional right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time was breached.

BELIZE CITY, Thurs. July 1, 2021– This week the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) handed down a decision in the case of Solomon Marin, Jr. and permanently stayed the enforcement of his sentence. Marin will remain a free man after the court found that his right to a hearing in a reasonable time was breached.

Marin was convicted in the Belize Supreme Court for the crimes of kidnapping and robbery and was sentenced to two concurrent ten-year terms in prison. He appealed those rulings, but nine years passed before his appeal was heard in an appellant court.

The court, upon reviewing the appeal, agreed that the delay breached Marin’s right to a fair
hearing, as was argued by Marin's legal team. Marin had also asked for the convictions to be quashed, but ultimately conceded when it was ruled that the convictions were sound and should remain in place.

And thus, although the Court of Appeal had agreed that Marin's rights were violated, it did not grant any remedy, and, as previously mentioned, it found that his conviction was sound and refused to quash it.

At the CCJ, however, Marin argued that after finding that his right to a fair trial was breached, the Court of Appeal should have granted a remedy for the violation and submitted that the proper remedy was a permanent stay of further enforcement of his sentences.

The counsel representing the Government of Belize argued, however, that the constitutional
issue of the breach of Marin's fundamental right did not arise from the case and as such had to be filed in a separate application in order for remedies to be sought.

CCJ Justice Jamadar found that in certain circumstances the Court of Appeal can grant relief where a breach of a person's fundamental right arises during a case before the court, even if it is not directly related to the issues arising from the criminal trial.

In those cases, the CCJ said it was not necessary for an individual to file a new application to seek relief.

The release from the CCJ states, “Marin was granted relief for the breach of his constitutional right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time. In a judgment authored by Justice Barrow, the Court explained why both a declaration and an order suspending any further execution of the sentences imposed were the appropriate remedies in this” Justice Anderson also agreed that the Court of Appeal had the jurisdiction to rule the delay in the hearing of Marin’s case to be a constitutional violation and agreed that a permanent stay of
further enforcement of the sentences was appropriate.

Marin was placed on parole in February of this year and his sentence was to run until January 2023.

His attorney was Anthony Sylvestre, and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Senior
Counsel Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, represented the Crown.

In 2006, then 27-year-old Solomon Marin was found guilty of a robbery and kidnapping inside the Belmopan Supreme Court. He was accused of accosting Leon Castillo in the parking lot of First Caribbean International Bank in Belmopan and taking him through a feeder road off the Hummingbird Highway with other men.

The victim, Castillo, was robbed of his wallet, which contained just $50, and the men drove
away with his blue Isuzu Rodeo pickup. The co-accused, Oliver Rodriguez, was acquitted of all charges at the time of the trial.

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