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DPP Kirk Anderson Wanted To Charge Ben Bou-Nehra For Murder
posted (October 26, 2007)
Of course, all this comes now because the first investigation into the killing of Shawn Copious was delicately handled by police. So Ben Bou-Nehra was not charged for manslaughter until almost a year after Copious was killed. And it’s only then that information started to emerge which showed that there was a case for murder.

We go back to August of 2006 when 7NEWS received documents prepared by prosecutor Cheryl Lynn Branker Taitt instructing the police to make the charge for murder. We revisit that story to find out why she insisted that murder was the case and what happened when police refused to follow her directive. Again this story was originally prepared in August of 2006.

[Original Airdate: August 17th, 2006] Jules Vasquez Reporting,
On July 24th. Chayben Abou-Nehra was charged for manslaughter, for killing this man, Shawn Copious, in front of Abou-Nehra's home on September 19 of 2005. Abou-Nehra was bailed and is to re-appear on the first of September. But according to the DPP's office, he should be behind bars, on remand for murder. That's the express directive contained in this letter, sent from the DPP's office to the CIB Office on July 13th, 2006. Written by Senior Crown Counsel Cheryl Lynn Branker-Taitt, it directs CIB boss Chester Williams as follows: "you should proceed to arrest and charge Chayben Abou-Nehra for the offence of murder...." Four letters from Branker-Taitt written between the 16th June and the 13th July explain why the charge should be murder. She points to: the locations of the two fatal bullet wounds in Copius's back and buttocks, inconsistent, she says, with someone who was in a threatening position, she points to the fact that six expended shells were all found on the street outside Abou-Nehra's property, when he claimed Copius was in his yard; and that Copious was shot from a distance of greater than 5 feet, at which distance she says a man with a knife would pose no serious threat.

She found that: "Copius was shot after he exited the yard...and Abou-Nehra fired two shots at a man who was more than 5 feet away from him and who was at the time leaving or had already left his premises." She concludes that it was an unjustified shooting, because, "these circumstances point to the conclusion that at the time of the firing of the fatal shots, there was no present danger." In that same letter, Branker-Taitt directed ASP Williams to get statements from Dr. Hugh Sanchez and force armorer Albert Ciego.

But by the thirteenth July, those additional statements were either not forthcoming or lacking and Branker-Taitt wrote again to ASP Williams, "almost a month has gone and additional work has not yet been completed." She further accuses him of not even trying to get a statement from Dr. Hugh Sanchez. With that, Branker-Taitt gave her directive to bring murder charges forthwith.

But the police did not, they instead brought the manslaughter charges, which sent the DPP Kirk Anderson into a rage and forced a standoff with the Police Department. Meetings were held and letters sent, culminating in this one, on Monday August 14th. The DPP states to the Commissioner of Police: "you and the officer in charge of the CIB outrightly refused to comply with my office's directives that Mr. Abou-Nehra be charged for the offence of murder." The DPP then points to section 50 of the Constitution which makes him, "the pre-eminent legal authority in Belize, with respect to the charging and prosecution of any person." He then concludes that after the police told him they would charge for manslaughter and ignore his directive he was, "expecting written apologies both from yourself as well as from ASP Chester Williams."

The letter notes that none has been forthcoming and Anderson concludes: "I feel it necessary to insist that such apologies now be provided...since both yourself and officer Williams were...disrespectful to (my) office as regards our directive that Mr. Abou-Nehra be charged with murder." Anderson then states, "I will not have any more meetings with you, unless and until both such apologies have been proffered." And after all that Anderson declares: "since you appear to have decided that you will only comply with this office's advice/directives as and whenever such advice meets your liking...effective August 15, 2006, this office will no longer be accepting any files from police..additionally we are...now returning to your office all case files which are not yet under consideration."

Attached to that is this, a list of 403 cases that the DPP's office returned, which were there for review and instruction. They run the gamut, form arson to murder, to kidnapping to carnal knowledge, manslaughter, maim--all now left to the whim of lady justice.

Of course, because police refused to bring those charges, then DPP Kirk Anderson famously packed up 403 files and sent them to the Raccoon Street Police Station. Police sent them back and left them on the sidewalk in front of the DPP’s office. Today the police were back at the DPP’s office but they were internal affairs officers, there to get a statement from the DPP who has said he will make the police investigate, and not bring perjury charges.

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