Bladen 12 Trial on weeklong adjournment

The content originally appeared on: Amandala Newspaper

Photo: Defense Attorney, Leeroy Banner

by Kristen Ku

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Feb. 19, 2024

The ongoing Bladen 12 voir dire, which was set to continue today, February 19, has been adjourned for another week. The adjournment came at the request of the chief prosecutor, Ms. Alifa Elrington, who sought a week-long pause in the proceedings after falling ill.

The adjournment was confirmed by attorney Leeroy Banner outside of the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building today to reporters, “… She’s requesting a week of adjournment until the 26th of February,” he said.

Despite the defense being prepared to continue, they couldn’t due to the fact that co-prosecutor, Mr. Singh indicated his preoccupation with other court matters and his unpreparedness to proceed without Ms. Elrington.

The trial, a significant narcotics case, saw Sergeant Ortencio Pop of the Anti-Narcotics Unit testifying last Thursday, February 15, with his testimony revealing deviations from the Commissioner’s Guidelines during the detention of Juan Esparza Sanchez, a Mexican national implicated in the seizure of over 800 kilos of cocaine.

Attorney Banner, challenging those procedural breaches, suggested that such oversights could have compromised Sanchez’s rights, and hinted at potential mistreatment—a claim that Sergeant Pop denied.

The defense’s allegations of physical assault, partly based on a significant time discrepancy between Sanchez’s detention and his arrival at the police station, remains in question.