by Roy Davis (freelance writer)
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 23, 2023
After reading and hearing submissions from the prosecution and the defense in the trial of attorney Oscar Selgado, 54, who is accused of trying to arrange the killing of a former client, Justice Nigel Pilgrim set Friday, December 1, as the date when he will give his decision on the voire dire as to whether or not the statement of Giovanni Ramirez should be admitted as evidence.
Selgado is charged with abetment to commit murder.
Ramirez, in the statement he gave to the police, alleged that Selgado hired him to kill Marilyn Barnes, an elderly woman who had implicated Selgado in a sex scandal and who, according to reports, had also been a client who was in the process of making a complaint about him to the General Legal Council. Ramirez said that the deal became sour when [he] attempted to blackmail Selgado by threatening to share a recording of a telephone conversation in which Selgado was allegedly discussing the proposed contract killing, and he became fearful that Selgado wanted to have him killed. It was for this reason, said Ramirez, that he refused to go to court and testify.
Ramirez expressed his fear in a three-way conversation between himself, Police Commissioner Chester Williams and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Cheryl Lynn Vidal.
In her submissions, the DPP said that the Crown has proven that the witness, Ramirez, fears for his life if he testifies, and that not testifying is no material prejudice to the accused.
Former High Court judge Adolph Lucas, Sr., who is representing Selgado, submitted that Ramirez is a gang member, and he should have no fear of being killed. He said that Ramirez should come to court to have his fear tested, and that Ramirez’s evidence has not been tested, which is prejudice to the accused, who testified and was subjected to cross-examination.
Selgado, in his testimony, denied knowing Ramirez and having anything to do with hiring him to kill Barnes.