BELMOPAN, Belize – Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal was this week awaiting the outcome of a post-mortem examination of a 17-month-old baby to decide on the charges to be field against a 21-year-old man who has already appeared in a court on sexually-related charges.
The baby, Allyssa Nunez, died in hospital on Sunday.
Attorney Oscar Selgado confirmed that his client, Everal Martinez was arraigned before the Senior Magistrate with four charges on Monday.
“Two counts of attempted rape of a child; two counts of attempt, attempt – I’m saying it, I’m repeating it – attempted rape of a child. There was no rape of any child; it was an attempt, alleged. And two counts of attempted assault of a child; again, it was an attempt[ed] assault of a child.
“These were indictable offences and so my client was not made to plea. However, I am saying it categorically that I have taken instructions from my client and he did not commit these offences, or these atrocities, against that child,” the attorney told reporters.
“Moreover, I am informed by the learned Madam DPP that there is another charge to be laid against my client, a more serious charge, which I think emanated from the death of the child, but that will come in the future,” he added.
He said contrary to what has been posted on social media indicating “a child has been raped; a child has been carnally known front-way and back-way’ and all this foolishness – none of that has been happened.
“There was an attempt of these things and that is an allegation made by the Crown. And until that allegation is proven, my client is innocent, and he must be given that opportunity to be innocent and remain innocent until he is found guilty or otherwise.
“So that this thing in Belize about demonstrations that I am seeing happening, it is good because a crime like this cannot be tolerated at any level in society; but at the same time, we want to make sure that we have the right person arrested and charged. It is no good right now, the public heralding death for Everal Martinez, when in fact he is an innocent person and the wrong person could be in jail while the guilty person walks the streets.
“So I am saying until the man is given a fair trial by an independent and impartial court, let us treat him as an accused person, merely a suspect person because that is what he is, a suspect in an alleged offence,” Selgado said.
Martinez, who had recently moved into the home with the child’s mother, was denied bail. He was arrested last weekend after police said they were called to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, along with Department of Human Services, where “they were informed that there was a minor with several bruises to the body and apparently the minor had been sexually molested.
“The minor had to be rushed to the IC Unit because of the condition the minor was in,” the police said.
Media reports said then that the baby had been left in the care of the accused by her grandmother, who had travelled from the Maskall Village, west of here, to the capital.
The reports said that on her return to the village she was told by the man that the child was not well and having convulsions. – CMC