Private prosecutor called in to handle four year old murder case

By Anita Flowers
Freelance Reporter

A four year-old murder, dating back to September 2010, is making waves in court circles today because the Attorney General of Belize has appointed a private lawyer, Ellis Arnold, to be the prosecuting attorney.

On September 5, 2010 family members discovered the body of Carlos Espat in the bathroom of his apartment at the corner of King and Albert Street, where he lived alone.
His head and chest had been bashed in by some blunt instrument, but the house showed no sign of forced entry.

Espat was a former teacher and political scientiest, and was closely associated with the People’s United Party. He was a counselor and his brother, Mark, a former Minister of Government of the same party.

In January 2011, city police arrested 22 year old Sylvio Espinoza, a Nicaraguan who at the time was living in Belize City. It is believed that Espinosa knew Espat and visited him at his home.

Since then, Espinosa has been spending his years on remand, but the case has now come up for hearing.

No reason was given for the Attorney General’s by-passing the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, but Director Cheryl Vidal acknowledged that there has been a precedent for this.She explained that a fiat order had been made by someone in the government to appoint Ellis Arnold as the private prosecutor.
Espinosa was first arraigned in the Magistrate’s Court on January 5 2011, and the matter is now to be heard in the Supreme Court in the court of Justice Adolph Lucas.
Espinosa is being represented by attorney, Audrey Matura-Shepherd and the trial is set to commence on Monday, March 16, 2015.

DPP Vidal recalls a previous occasion when a private Attorney, Linbert Willis was appointed as prosecutor for a matter.
Espinosa’s attorney, Matura-Shepherd confirmed that she was aware of the latest development.

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