Burton Caliz to stand trial once more

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 18, No. 11            March 13, 2008

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Ex-PC Burton Caliz

He received a ten year sentence for the manslaughter of Leroy Pilgrim but he is now out free after the Court of Appeal ordered he be retried for the crime. In 2004, Burton Caliz, then an officer in San Pedro, was convicted of manslaughter for the shooting death of Leroy “Dan” Pilgrim in San Pedro Town on February, 2004. According to the judges in the court of appeal, the jury that convicted him never specified whether he was guilty of Manslaughter or Manslaughter by Negligence. Because of this oversight, Caliz’ attorney, Leo Bradley Junior immediately applied to the court for bail, which was granted in the sum of eight thousand dollars.

    Pilgrim’s death is still surrounded by mystery, and conflicting stories still abound. At the time, the cops’ version of events was that they attempted to search Pilgrim near a lagoon but a struggle ensued between Caliz and Pilgrim. The police maintained that the two men slipped and fell into the water, during which the gun went off, fatally wounding Pilgrim.

    No date for the new trial has been set. Burton Caliz told the media that he expected his conviction and sentence would have been quashed, and that he was looking forward to going home. But that was not the case as he will be standing trial once more. He remains on interdiction and has the charge of manslaughter hanging over his head. Caliz will continue to receive half his pay until and if he is acquitted of the charge.

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