Saturday, May 24, 2008


The charges may or may not stick but tonight, less than a week after one person was killed and eleven others wounded by a hand grenade, two men are behind bars awaiting trial for murder. News Five’s Janelle Chanona reports from Magistrates’ Court.

Janelle Chanona, Reporting
This afternoon sixteen year old Akeem Smith and his twenty year old brother Kareem were charged with Murder, Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Attempted Murder in connection with Sunday night’s grenade attack in Belize City.

The accused were barefooted as they appeared before Chief Magistrate Margaret Gabb. Because the offences are indictable matters, no plea was taken. Akeem’s case was transferred to the Family Court for initial processing and both brothers are remanded to Hattieville Prison.

The minor is believed to be the lone perpetrator who rode up to the corner of Mayflower and Vernon Streets and then threw a hand grenade into a crowd of people. Sixteen year old Darren Trapp was the most critically injured and died hours after the incident. Eleven others were rushed to hospital with various head and body injuries.

Akeem and Kareem maintained their innocence to the crime in court this afternoon. Outside, their emotional mother accused investigators of refusing to conduct an identification parade before charging her sons.

Voice of Karen Smith, Mother of Accused
“Dehn chance my two son dehn becaz dehn innocent and di one deh who do it, dehn battam di go cinco seis fu think dehn wah call dehn.”

Janelle Chanona
“How did they link your sons to the crime then?”

Karen Smith
“Just cause dehn mi gat ting, my lee son weh sixteen and one ah dehn from deh soh—but no from dah side—mi have ting and he mi shot up my son pan di bridge and my son gawn back and gawn shot dehn and den CYDP talk it over and everything and den dat dah weh happen now, dehn di seh how dehn di call up fu dehn name. But from di ting happen, dah wah clear person. All of a sudden, my pickney dehn, dehn black and dehn turn clear.”

Janelle Chanona
“How did you link the attack with these two particular individuals?”

Inspector Sinquest Martinez, Lead Investigator
“It’s a matter of linking, they have been put in the crime scene. Witnesses come forward and assist us in the investigation.”

Janelle Chanona
“As far as motive, what would have led to such a drastic action?”

Inspector Sinquest Martinez
“Retaliation amongst themselves.”

Janelle Chanona
“For which attack? We’ve heard reference to a Lake I incident.”

Inspector Sinquest Martinez
“Well I’m not going in-depth because the investigation continues as we speak.”

Janelle Chanona
“Knowing that a lot of people are concerned that this will become the status of urban warfare, urban terror is the police looking into finding out if more grenades are out on the street?”

Inspector Sinquest Martinez
“Exactly. And we need to put an end to this immediately because we do not want it to continue. It is very, very dangerous. Kids, innocent people and passer-bys could get hurt with these gruesome attacks.”

And according to police, their response to the escalation in violence will be intensive searches, border patrols and aggressive efforts in soliciting community support.

Inspector Sinquest Martinez
“All I am asking the public to bear patience with us and start working along with us.”

Janelle Chanona
“And you are confident in the evidence you have?”

Inspector Sinquest Martinez
“We will see down the road ma’am.”

Both Kareem and Akeem Smith are scheduled to reappear in court on May thirtieth. Reporting for News Five, I am Janelle Chanona.

But in addition to being charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder, tonight Kareem Smith is in plenty of hot water in connection with other arrests. In October, he appeared before Magistrate Sharon Frazer, charged with two counts of Robbery. As one of the conditions of his bail, Frazer ordered that if Kareem was arrested again, his bond would be immediately revoked. However, in court this afternoon, Chief Magistrate Margaret Gabb discovered that since that order Kareem has been arrested not once, not twice but five times for offences ranging from Threatening Words and Common Assault to Possession of An Unlicensed Firearm and Robbery. In light of that revelation, Kareem has been ordered to reappear before Magistrate Frazer on Wednesday. The Chief Magistrate referred to the oversight by prosecutors as “outrageous”.

No comments: