Three Colombians who appeared before a District “A” magistrate today for sentencing will now have to wait a little longer to know
When fraud accused Bairon Valencia Lopez, Hames Mendoza Arevalo and David Mauricio Botero-Montes stood in the dock in front of Magistrate Douglas Frederick, he informed their attorney-at-law Allan Carter that he would be breaking the law if he arraigned them today.
The presiding judicial officer explained that because the Spanish-speaking men had pleaded guilty yesterday before another magistrate, he was not au fait with all the facts and therefore could not rely on what took place in that case.
In addition to that, “the issue I have, is that a person under the law, is entitled to know the charge(s) [that brought them before the court]. Since they don’t speak English, I can’t proceed with the case. It [charges] would have to be [read] in a language they understand [Spanish]. That is the law. I would be circumventing the law,” insisted Magistrate Frederick.
The court then decided that the matter must be dealt with as soon as practical and –– with agreement from their lawyer –– ruled that the case would be heard on Friday by which time an interpreter should be available to translate the charges to be read out.
The accused, who arrived from prison handcuffed and shackled by their feet, were ordered returned in the same manner. The defence counsel told Barbados TODAY afterwards, that they hope to get an interpreter on Friday and then the magistrate may [or may not] impose sentencing.
“The magistrate will determine what he will do [after reading the charges]. He may sentence them . . . . I say, he may. They are not serious charges,” pointed out attorney Carter, who is representing the three Colombians in association with Andrew Pilgrim.
Earlier, Carter, who was able to decipher information from one of his clients who “speaks a little English,” told the court that the men complained that they had spent seven days in custody already and that this was an issue for them.
The lawyer informed the magistrate that the accused were concerned that they have families waiting on them.
Twenty-six-year-old Lopez, a student, is charged that on February 5, he had another person’s driver’s licence for use in connection with criminal deception, 35-year-old taxi driver Arevalo is facing a similar crime allegedly committed the same day, while 26-year-old student, Botero-Montes, pleaded guilty to possessing a visa card that was not his, for use in connection with criminal deception.
Botero-Montes had to answer an additional offence of loitering on the premises of Kathleen Gardner, and suspected to be about to
The trio, who were staying at Kirtons in St Philip are charged together with a fourth Colombian of no fixed place of abode. That fourth man –– who also pleaded guilty yesterday –– is expected to be sentenced at the District “D” Magistrates’ Court tomorrow.