BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 17, 2018– This morning, following submissions by his attorney, Anthony Sylvestre, in the Supreme Court of Justice Michelle Arana, Deon Bruce was granted permission by Justice Arana to appeal his case to the Belize Court of Appeal.
Last December, Bruce had applied for a writ of habeas corpus, but Justice Arana had ruled against him.
Bruce, 32, is a Belizean for whom the United States has sent an extradition request to the Belize government. The US is seeking Bruce’s extradition so that he could be tried in the United States for murder and attempted murder.
Bruce is wanted in Chicago, Illinois, for the shooting death of Aaron Carter, whom he allegedly shot and killed after an argument escalated when a bottle was thrown at Bruce’s vehicle. Reportedly, Bruce allegedly stopped the car, pulled a firearm from the trunk of his vehicle and fired at Carter and a companion, Bryan Rodgers. The incident happened on July 28, 2010.
Bruce has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison ever since he was arrested in 2013 on an arrest warrant following the US extradition request to the Belize government.
Upon exiting the courtroom, Sylvestre explained what the process and the hearing was about. He said that Bruce has been on remand at the Belize Central Prison and that they had applied for a writ of habeas corpus for him to be released.
“You may recall the case of brothers Gary and Mark Seawell, that the warrant that they were held on was defective and as a consequence, it was held that they were unlawfully being held,” Sylvestre said.
Sylvestre explained that when he was retained by Bruce, they examined the warrant on which he was committed to prison, and found that it had a defect that was similar to what had been found to be defective in the warrants on which the Seawell brothers were held.
Sylvestre added, “We were not successful last December, but the procedures of the court allow him to appeal to the Court of Appeal; but before he can make his appeal to the Court of Appeal, he must first receive permission from the Supreme Court. That’s what we sought and that’s what we obtained.”
Sylvester said they have 21 days from today to file the appeal papers at the Court of Appeal. What they will be filing is a habeas corpus application which will determine if Bruce is being held legally.
The Court of Appeal has three sessions, which take place in March, June and October respectively. Sylvester said that they would not be able to present their case in the October session of the court, but all things being equal, the appeal should be heard by next March.
In the meantime, Bruce will have to wait behind bars for his appeal to come up in the March 2019 Court of Appeal session.