Editorial

Editorial

Two weeks ago this newspaper carried the story of a young Nicaraguan student accused of murder, who was acquitted after spending more than four years in jail. .
The prosecution based its case on the
strength of a confession, made by the accused prisoner to the Commander of the Gang Suppression Unit at the time, Senior Inspector Marco Vidal. .
It was a high profile case because the murder victim was the former Secretary General of the People’s United Party, Mr. Carlos Espat. He was found naked in hisbathroom, bludgeoned to death. .
The person accused of the crime was 22-
year-old Sylvio Espinoza, a Nicaraguan student in Belize, believed to be a member of the gay community. .
At the trial he was able to establish that the police had deprived him of food and water and sleep for 24 hours, after which he signed his statement of confession. Espinoza also claimed that a senior official of the Gang Suppression Unit had beaten him.
Dismissing the charge of murder against Espinoza, Justice Adolph Lucas accepted the defendant’s claim that he had been deprived of food, water and sleep for 24 hours prior to his confession. He ruled that the confession was invalid and set the defendant free.
In writing his story, Reporter’s freelance correspondent Aaron Humes, reported that Espinoza claimed that he had been “beaten by a senior official of the Gang Suppression Unit at the time, and threatened as well.”
This report did not sit well with Senior Superintendent Marco Vidal, who took the position that the expression “at the time”, meant that the prisoner was being beaten at the time that he, Vidal was taking his confession.
Since he was the only senior GSU officer present “at the time”, he claims that he was slandered, though his name was never mentioned, and though his claim of being alone with the prisoner is contradicted by another court report, which states that there were other senior GSU officers present at the “confession”.
We accept Mr. Vidal’s implied declaration that he had no hand in the beating of the prisoner, but we do not accept his declaration that he was the only senior officer present for the confession. .
Also we cannot help but note the juxta-
position of the GSU hunger game and the confession statement. Could it be that Senior Superintendent Vidal was unaware of this prisoner being tortured in this high-profile case the very day before his confession to murder ? ?
It is possible that Senior Inspector Vidal as the Officer in Command of the GSU would not have known about the beating and the torture of this prisoner? ?
This Editorial is not about Marco Vidal. It is about an endemic problem
in the Police Department which has worked time and time again to derail the course of justice in Belize. .
The case of Sylvio Espinosa is the latest in a long line of police abuse incidents which has succeeded in defeating the work of police prosecution, allowing guilty people to go free!

Comments are closed.