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Truth Or Consequences

Belize is Watching
Last Updated: February 3, 2023

Update: Yesterday, February 2, 2023, Justice Antoinette Moore, the Judge in Kareem Martinez’s manslaughter trial, ordered one of the witnesses for his defence, PC Claude Augustine, to leave her courtroom after he gave testimony that she described as “perjury.”

She then asked Prosecutor Javier Chan to have the Office of The Director of Public Prosecutions investigate PC Augustine for that offence.

We’ve been thinking a lot about truth, and the consequences of lying, as this trial unfolds.

Facts and Lies

The thing about facts, is that they’re true. Chip and chip away at them, and more, not less truth is revealed.

Because they’re facts. Factual. True.

Which is very different to lies.  At first glance, they can seem to be true. Especially when they’re being told by people we expect to believe.

But the thing with lies is that they don’t stand up to a lot of scrutiny. No matter how carefully constructed, regardless of how many fellow conspirators support them at first.

So, when lies come up against facts, something’s got to give.

This was on full display this week, from the Dangriga courtroom to the beaches of Placencia, as factual statements stood firm while other testimonies fell apart for all to see.

The officers making those statements that didn’t hold up under questioning said they had excuses.

Discrepancies in timelines – what happened when -  can happen when you don’t have a watch, and reports can be hazy when you don’t have a notebook.

Police officers attending the scene of a fatal shooting with no watches or notebooks?

Disturbing if true, even more disturbing if false.

A few other troubling things have come up in this trial.

Such as a group of police officers who attended a fatal shooting, an event with such serious consequences, being unable to get their stories straight in a court of law.

That’s the other advantage to telling the truth. You don’t have to remember so much.

Telling the truth is so much easier.


Later, after PC Augustine had been chastised for perjury, Attorney Bradley, frustration in his voice, spoke.

“This is a trial in which a child has lost his life, in which a corporal of our police force is on trial for that death.

“It is a tragedy on the two sides -  for those who lost Laddie, and for an officer of the law to be on trial.  And, as he’s going along, he’s changing, and the changes are obvious.

“The judge was not impressed at all that a member of our police force comes to court and does what unfolded.  This is the supreme court of the country, this is the senior court, the higher court,” Mr Bradley said.

We applauded Justice Antoinette Moore and court officials for travelling to Placencia to see for themselves the scene of Laddie’s slaying. It was difficult for Laddie’s family and his friend to relive the tragic events of that night, but they said it was worth it to see the truth revealed in the bright light of day.

We applaud Justice Moore again for taking the tough stance she did about police perjury in her courtroom. 

Now we can only hope the court will set an example by handing down a decision that loudly and clearly states that the taking of a life has serious consequences, and that no one, in uniform or not, is above the law in Belize.

And that the Police Department will acknowledge, and then act on the need for significant changes in training and operations.

And, finally, that individual officers will learn the importance of telling the truth. That not telling the truth has serious consequences.

Belize is Watching.