Yesterday we told you about the case against Osmar Sabido that came to a conclusion after more than five years. After a very long judgment reading by Justice Herbert Lord, Sabido was found guilty of the murder of his then girlfriend Christie Carrasco and sentenced to life in prison. As you heard from Sabido’s attorney, Oscar Selgado, he is not satisfied with the verdict and believes there is grounds for an appeal. Now that is a decision that Sabido’s family will have to take and from what we understand are seriously considering.
Here in Belize the law states that when an accused is found guilty of murder the sentence is life in prison. But does a life sentence automatically mean life behind bars without a chance of parole? Here is how Selgado puts it.
Oscar Selgado- Defense attorney
“There is never life in prison without the hope of parole inside Belize unless I think the Court specifically says so, and I have never heard the Court say that. I know people who have been sentenced to life in prison that are out. We have to look at the purpose of criminal law, the purpose of sentencing – rehabilitation, deterrence, remorse – the person has remorse over a period of time. And so if a person is given a specific life in prison…you have just heard Godfrey Smith and Eamon Courtenay arguing before the Court of Appeal that a person sentenced to life in prison has no hope of rehabilitation. Why should I rehabilitate when I will never be free again? The purpose of criminal sentencing in today’s world is to rehabilitate the offender, so that the offender can come back into society and be a productive citizen. I am certain that Mr. Woods, having taken the control of Kolbe, has instituted enough programs to rehabilitate even our worst offenders. Maybe sometimes there will be a longer period of rehabilitation from case to case, but rehabilitation is there, so that a person should never be sentenced to life in prison without the hope of parole. It’s inhumane to do so.”
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