The Court of Appeal has ruled that Melonie Coye, and her late father, Michael Coye, are not money launderers, and that they should have never been convicted. That's the bombshell that the Judges of the Court handed down today after they heard the appeal of Belize's first ever money laundering conviction.

After fighting this case for 5 years, being incarcerated, their fortunes reduced to the point that they couldn't properly bury Michael Coye, whose illness worsened during the course of this case, the Coye family are finally getting things to turn around. And it's a giant shift - 1.557 million dollars' worth - that's because the Appeal Court has also ruled that all that money police confiscated back in January 2009, must be returned to them within 60 days.

It's a seismic judgment, and 7News was there when it was delivered. Daniel Ortiz reports:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Melonie Coye and her family walked out of court free of a 5 year-old ordeal. They were cleared today of all charges, when the court reversed the decision of the Supreme Court. It's a complete reversal and quash of all crimes and inferences of criminal behavior.

She was of course ecstatic that her family gets to attempt to rebuild their lives which has been left in shambles after being crushed by the weight of the FIU's allegation.

Melonie Coye - Fully Acquitted of Money Laundering
"I feel good and dad is smiling from heaven - that's all I wanted to say."

That's a reaction very reminiscent of the late Michael Coye when he got to go home while awaiting his retrial.

FILE: November 6, 2013
Michael Coye - Had Just Gotten Bail

"It's a great relief to be home, so that I can sit in my chair, eat a nice ham sandwich and drink a cup of coffee."

Arthur Saldivar - Attorney For Coye Family
"During this entire ordeal I've always maintain their innocence. Mr. Mike Coye is no longer with us, he having passed away as a result of being incarcerated and his illness. So, we first thank God for having the opportunity to have has the matter be ventilated in a way that could have allowed for the justices to see the veracity in the arguments and basically the quality of the argument."

But their initial conviction was heralded by the then Director of the FIU.

FILE: August 8, 2012
Marilyn Williams - Director, FIU
"I believe then, as I believe now that we've always had a very strong case, and it was just a matter of it going through the requisite process."

FILE: August 9, 2012
Marilyn Williams

"Sometimes, you may know that someone committed a crime. But, that is called intelligence; it doesn't become evidence until you can get someone who can actually come and testify as to those facts."

So then, how did it happen that the Appeal went in their favor?

Arthur Saldivar - Attorney For Coye Family
"On the ground that forgery was prove, it really and truly wasn't. Forgery by virtue of the law requires intent to defraud to be established and as that intent was absent they couldn't judge the appellants as being guilty of that offence. It required under our law that the prescribe offences be proved in order to prove money laundering. And those prescribe offences were never established, so in reality the case should not have been sent to the jury."

But this case was given the accolades for its importance, a money laundering conviction where the proceeds of criminal behavior, $1.557 million dollars, was nabbed by the state. What happens to all that.

Rowland Parks, reporter
"In terms of the actual monies that have been held since the beginning of this matter, what become of those monies now?"

Arthur Saldivar - Attorney For Coye Family
"Well, you were in court Rowland, the monies must be returned."

Daniel Ortiz
"All 1.557 million plus interest?"

Arthur Saldivar - Attorney For Coye Family
"Yes, I believe that the allegations were unfounded. That the FIU basically sensationalize a situation in order to gain public favor but ultimately as it was shown they did not have the evidence to prove the allegations that they brought against my clients. In that regard it is sad because lives were destroyed as a result of this and certainly by virtue of what was put out there in the public there will always a stigma and suspicion arising over what has transpired or what did not transpire."

So how will the Coye family deal with the damage that the state has dealt them, now that the court says that they are to be exonerated?

Arthur Saldivar - Attorney For Coye Family
"Daniel, this has been more than a 4 year ordeal; actually 5 years and right now I believe prudence will require us to take out time and savor the fact that justice prevailed and after sufficient time my clients will make up their minds as to what they want to do."

But if we judge from how the now-deceased patriarch of the family answered that question last year, the State needs to be ready to do battle against a civil suit.

FILE: November 6, 2013
Daniel Ortiz

"If you should win your appeal does your family intend to sue the government for this entire ordeal you had to gone through?"

Michael Coye
"I can't answer that yet. We have to wait and see what happens first and then we go after that. I think we are good for a couple millions of dollars."

In the appeal, Tricia Pitts-Anderson represented the State. Arthur Saldivar told us that judging from what they presented, he doesn't believe that they will appeal this decision at the Caribbean Court of Justice.

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