Hon. Briceno Criminally Charged For Running Over Vegaís Driverís Foot

Yesterday Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez became the first sitting member of the House of Representatives to be charged for child molestation offences - specifically six counts of aggravated assault of an indecent nature against two girls who were 10 and under at the time.

Well, today, his Orange Walk PUP counterpart John Briceno was also criminally charged – but his charges weren’t exactly history making. He got charged for a trio of traffic offences – but it’s not any old infraction: he’s accused of driving over the foot of the Deputy Prime Minister’s driver. That’s Chris Hendricks, Gaspar Vega’s driver.

Hendricks says that Briceno ran over his foot on Thursday, January 22 in Trinidad Village, Orange Walk. Hendricks’ says he was standing near the gate of a school compound after an event when Briceno ran over his foot and then drove off.

Today 7News was in Orange Walk when Briceno was arraigned for it:…

Daniel Ortiz Reporting…..

This morning, supporters of John Briceno lined the street in front of the Orange Walk Court House.

A few of his political comrades were also there for support. Briceno was inside waiting to be arraigned before Magistrate Merlene Moody, and as soon as it was over, he emerged from court with family members.

But, there would be no running from the press today, and no political operatives to block out the media. Instead, Briceno made a beeline for the press:

Hon. John Briceno - Charged with Traffic Offences

"I think that today is a, in my opinion, a sad day in Belize. Where you can see a political party using the courts of Belize to try to intimidate people. I can tell you that, there's absolutely no truth to what Mr. Hendrix is doing. I'm a bit disappointed with the police department. I believe that the police have so many other important things to do as to follow up something that has been dictated by their political bosses. I think they want to send a message to the Belizean people, that if you stand up against them, they're going to do every and anything to go after you. By doing this I think they're trying to ensure that Belizean would keep quite about the injustices that are taking place in this country. I want to make it abundantly clear, that I am not intimidated. I will not be intimidated, I'm going to continue to stand up for the good people of Orange Walk central and by extension the people of this country. I will not allow the political bosses in this country to continue to push around the citizens of Belize. I've said that I'm innocent and I have nothing to fear and I have absolutely no problem coming back to court to explain to the court and to show to the court that these are trumpet political charges against myself and the PUP."

Reporter

"Sir but an incident did occur, you want over Hendrix foot."

Hon. John Briceno

"Of course not, did you hear what I just said? I said that I am innocent. I drove in, I parked, I spoke to Mr. Hendrix and not for one minute or one second did Mr. Hendrix ever said that anything happened. I spoke to him and then I went to the ceremonies. Not at any moment did Mr. Hendrix say anything, so what is there to answer?"

That may be very well be true, but it was the second day in a row that a PUP politician from the north was arraigned on charges. Apart from that, the nature of the charges bear no resemblance to those of Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez.

But could there be political blowback, given the fact that another member of the Opposition was brought up on criminal charges?

Hon. John Briceno

"I certainly don't fear the deputy prime minister or any of his followers, including his driver. I think that the Belizean people across this country, they're going to see what is taking place today. That the UDP is manipulating the justice system, so that they can try to get some kind of political gain or political favour. I want to make it abundantly clear, absolutely clear, that the people of Orange Walk Town, they know me."

Reporter

"Sir, is there such thing as mischievous act for some who has fabricated an offence or charge. If that a route that you're willing to take?"

Hon. John Briceno

"I am no lawyer, so I will not be able to answer anything at this moment."

And with that Briceno ended the interview, and his family made moves to depart the courthouse.

He was in no hurry to get away, unlike his colleague Dr. Marco Tulio Mendez, who made a dash to dodge the media.

Instead, this Orange Walk Representative took the time out to greet his supporters who were gathered outside of court, treating the arraignment as nothing more than just another public appearance.

Channel 7