By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The trial over the destruction of the Maya archaeological site, Noh Mul, suffered another delay this week, when it was transferred back to the court in Corozal.
Chief Magistrate Ann-Marie Smith accepted a submission on Friday by attorney Brian Neal, that the matter be heard in Corozal, after it was sent to Belize City on Wednesday by the Corozal magistrates Court.
Neal reasoned that the trial should be held in Corozal because the media would give too much coverage if it is held in Belize City, making it difficult to have a fair trial.
The trial is now set to be heard in the Corozal magistrate’s court for April 20.
Neal appeared in court without his client, UDP Standard Bearer for Orange Walk Central Denny Grijalva, owner of De-Mars Construction company, who stands accused along with his wife and employees for turning the over 2000-year –old Maya site to rubble. Neal, while not going into the details of the case, says that Grijalva, who was in Chetumal at the time of the trial, maintains his innocence.
The trail takes place some two years after the site’s destruction.
Noh Mul, Maya language for big hill, is located on private property near the villages of San Jose/San Pablo, just north of Orange Walk Town. On May 10 the Department of Archaeology halted the demolition of one of the central structures of the site, but by that time the once 70-foot structure had been irreparably damaged.
The event raised the ire of several organizations, including the Belize Tourism Board and Belize Tourism Industry Association, and even the Ministry of Tourism itself.
Dr. John Morris of the Archaeology Department told local media that the event was the worst he had ever seen in his 25 years as an archaeologist.
The Archaeology Department explained that the structure was built from limestone and may have taken over a thousand years to construct.
The demolition of the ruin for the sake of road fill also caused Belize a lot of negative press in the international media, including articles in the New York Times, Huffington Post and National Geographic Magazine.