By Marion V. Ali
Aracely Cahueque, 21, the woman accused of being the mastermind of the October 2010 murder of Raylene Dyer, 18, walked out of court free of the charge, thanking God and those who prayed for her but saying nothing to the family of the deceased.
The jury acquitted the former beauty queen from Corozal last Friday morning during the Supreme Court trial at the Belmopan courthouse after the prosecution’s case fell apart.
Justice Denis Hanoomansingh directed the jury to find the defendant not guilty after he ruled that a statement given by the prosecution’s chief witness would not be permitted as evidence.
That witness, Brandon Budna, also a defendant in the same crime along with Jason Anderson and Darren Banner, was also acquitted of beheading Dyer and disposing of her body in a river. All the defendants have been acquitted.
The motive that police gave for Cahueque wanting Dyer dead was because she wanted to claim her three-month old baby as her own. I
The case relied heavily on a statement from Budna, now plagued by a vision impediment.
Cahueque’s attorney, Senior Counsel Richard Dickie Bradley, objected to its admittance as evidence. Hanoomansingh ruled in favour of the defense and that forced Crown Counsels Kayshia Grant and Cecil Ramirez to end 10 days of trial.
The judge also criticized the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, for negotiating with Budna, who was himself a defendant, to become a prosecution witness, calling the behaviour “unethical”.
The DPP has opted to not directly respond, and only indicated that she would appeal the court’s decision. But whatever decision is made at the higher court, neither Cahueque nor the three men can be retried for murder.
The proceedings inside the court spilled outside the courtroom after the verdict was delivered and relatives of the deceased and defendant became physically embroiled before the police restored the peace. Cahueque, who left thanking God, her mother and her attorney, had no words for Dyer’s family, except to say that she had no reason to kill Dyer.