BELIZE CITY, Fri. Feb. 1, 2019– An accused murderer who went on trial almost two years ago and has been sitting in prison waiting for the verdict that would determine his innocence or guilt, was released on a $40,000 bail this afternoon by Supreme Court Justice Herbert Lord.
The bail application hearing got underway shortly after 2:00 p.m., with attorney Anthony Sylvestre representing Kurtis Lamb, 23, who has been indicted for the August 3, 2011 shooting of Gwen Lizarraga High School student Justin Roches, 20, was shot on the school’s basketball court, and the young Mayflower resident was critically injured as a result.
At today’s hearing, the Crown was represented by Crown Counsel Riis Cattouse, who objected to the granting of bail to Lamb by the court.
In a trial without a jury, Lamb was tried in the Supreme Court of Justice John “Troadio” Gonzalez. The trial continued from July 13, 2016 to August 10, 2016, when the prosecution presented its evidence and the defense mounted its defense.
For the trial to be completed, however, Justice Gonzalez would have had to deliver his verdict. That has not been done, rendering the trial incomplete.
Crown Counsel Cattouse, although objecting to the granting of the bail, was not able to assist the court in saying when Justice Gonzalez, who is now retired, would be able to deliver his judgment, or if the court would have to order a retrial.
Sylvestre took notice of the uncertainty surrounding the verdict by Justice Gonzalez and submitted, “My learned friend is uncertain if a decision by Mr. Justice Gonzalez will be given or if a new trial will be ordered. The petitioner is applying for bail on the basis that his trial has not concluded within a reasonable time.”
Justice Lord asked if there was any indication as to when the verdict would be delivered.
“None,” Sylvestre responded.
Sylvestre then added, “I understand the position of the Crown and the court, but …the petitioner has been on remand for 7 years and 5 months. The constitutional right of persons entitled to bail cannot be taken away,” Crown Counsel Cattouse, in his reply, argued that the period of time that Lamb had been waiting for his verdict did not warrant the granting of bail.
Justice Lord said that he had heard both counsels on the bail application and had to consider a number of points as they related to the case.
Lamb was tried 5 years after he was first remanded, and after two and a half years, he has still not received a verdict. So Justice Lord said he had to take into consideration the length of time that he (Lamb) had been waiting and the fact that Justice Gonzalez is now retired.
“The prosecution cannot give me a date when this matter will be concluded,” Justice Lord said. Before announcing that he was granting the bail, Justice Lord noted that prejudice to the accused has been occurring.
Justice Lord set the bail at $40,000 and one surety, which must be property in like amount.
The bail condition is that Lamb must report to the Raccoon Street Police Station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Lamb was ordered not to interfere with any prosecution witness or witnesses either directly or through a third party or by any electronic means.
Lamb is not to be seen on the streets between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., and he is not to go within 100 yards of the prosecution’s main witness or witnesses, their home, workplace or school.
Lamb was also ordered to check with the Supreme Court office at the beginning of each new session to find out whether a decision will be given or a retrial ordered.