by Roy Davis (freelance writer)
BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 7, 2024
A “no case to answer” submission that was made by attorney Adolph Lucas, Sr. on behalf of his client, attorney Oscar Selgado, who is charged with abetment of murder, was overruled today by Justice Nigel Pilgrim in a decision 18 pages long. The allegation is that on February 7, 2019, Selgado solicited the commission of the crime (abetment of murder) by asking Giovanni Ramirez to kill Marilyn Barnes.
Lucas’ submission was that the evidence adduced by the Crown was inherently weak, vague and inconsistent, and the court in its fact-finding function would not be able to convict with the Crown’s evidence taken at its highest.
The Director of Public Prosecution, Cheryl Lynn Vidal responded by saying that the submission is a matter of credibility and reliability, and is for the court to determine in its fact-finding function.
After Justice Pilgrim read his decision, he asked Selgado to stand, and he told Selgado of his three options: that he can remain silent, that he can give a statement from the dock for which he cannot be cross examined, or he can go on the witness stand and give sworn testimony for which he can be subjected to cross examination. Selgado chose to testify.
He said that he has no recollection of any interaction with the Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams. He said that he had limited contact with Williams when he was a Belize Defence Force officer, and that he left the BDF 23 years ago.
Selgado said that the investigating officer, Wilfredo Ferrufino, wanted to arrest him while he was in court and he protested to the judge, Justice Colin Williams. He said that contrary to what Ferrufino said, he (Selgado) was arrested as he came out of the court house, and the DPP had a magistrate waiting for him to be formally charged. He testified that he was given a bail for which land document was required, and he did not have his property document in Belize City, so he was locked up until the following day when he got his land document from Punta Gorda.
Selgado said that Senior Magistrate Tricia Pitts Anderson testified that he was given disclosure, and that the compact discs were to be given to him, but he never got them. He said he accepted the evidence that he is the owner of a white Toyota Forerunner, and that at no time did Ramirez mention the license plate numbers on his vehicle in his deposition.
Selgado became visibly upset under cross examination by the DPP when she asked why he did not pay keen attention to all of the proceedings in the trial. He said that he doesn’t know the Ramirez who gave the statement, but he knows a Giovanni Ramirez who is his cousin, who [works] for the Transport Department in Punta Gorda.
He admitted that there was a complaint against him that was sent to the General Legal Council, but he said he could not recall until he was shown a letter he wrote to the General Legal Council, and the date was in 2019. He also said that the name of the person who made the complaint was Marilyn Barnes.
In a previous testimony he gave at the voire dire, which was incorporated in the main trial, Selgado said he doesn’t know Giovanni Ramirez, and he has no contact with anyone by that name.
After the defense closed its case, Justice Pilgrim set Tuesday, February 13, as the date when he will hear closing submissions from the Crown and the Defense.