American Tour operator Bradley Paumen was released on bail for a second time after spending 6 days in prison. He and 3 others: mechanic, Lisburn Anderson; Belmopan businessman, Jahan Abadi, and Korean American Hyang Choing Park have been charged by Belmopan police with the offences of the perversion of justice, and conspiracy to pervert justice.
All 4 are accused of trying to plant a .22 rifle and 150 live rounds of ammunition in Michael Modiri’s vehicle in April 2015. Hyang Choing Park, is former common-law wife of Michael Modiri, and police are accusing her of being involved in the plot to set up her ex. Park was charged for hiring policeman Solomon Mas, to act as her hitman. Abadi is accused of facilitating a key to get into Modiri’s vehicle so that the weapon and ammunition could be planted.
They were initially arraigned on these charges on Thursday, January 28, in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court. The presiding Magistrate, Ladonna John, read the charges out to Lisburn Anderson. Unfortunately, the prosecutor did not inform the Magistrate that the case was being treated as an indictable offence, and so, she took a plea from Anderson, who told the court that he pleaded not guilty to the charge. Shortly after that, the prosecutor informed the court that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was treating these charges as indictable.
Because of the confusion, the Magistrate made a procedural error, and so, she took a short recess. When she returned, she informed the parties that she was recusing herself from the case. That forced the court to adjourn until the San Ignacio Magistrate, Albert Hoare, could arrive and take the case over. A few hours later, the other 3 defendants Paumen, Park, and Abadi, were arraigned before Magistrate Hoare, and because the issue of bail was not raised, they were all remanded for the day.
Abadi and Park were taken before Magistrate Hoare on the next day, Friday, January 29, in San Ignacio. However, because their attorneys did not arrive in time for the hearing, the court did not hear their submission on why these 2 defendants should be granted bail.
On Monday, February 1, Justice Antoinette Moore heard a bail application made by the attorneys for Jahan Abadi, and because the DPP’s Office did not offer any objection, he was released on Supreme Court bail. Also on Monday, Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith had to take over the arraignment of Lisburn Anderson. The not guilty plea was vacated, and he was re-arraigned on the two charges of perversion of justice, and conspiracy to pervert justice. No plea was taken this time around, and he was remanded until Wednesday, February 3. That’s when Anderson and Bradley Paumen were taken back before Justice Antoinette Moore, the DPP’s Office offered no objection and both were granted bail. Paumen was released on bail of $25,000 with the conditions that since he has already handed over his travel documents a month ago in a previous bail hearing, he must continue to report to Belmopan police every Wednesday and Friday. He must show up to all adjournments of his case, and he must not interfere with any of the prosecution’s witnesses.
Anderson was released on bail of $15,000 with the same conditions, but he informed the court once again that he did not own a passport. The only other defendant, Hyang Choing Park, remains on remand, and she will get a bail hearing on Friday, February 5. The DPP has indicated to the press that her office will object on the grounds that she has no rooting ties to Belize, and that makes her a flight risk. Both Bradley Paumen and Lisburn Anderson are facing the prior charge of abetment to commit murder, for allegedly putting a hit out on Michael Modiri and 3 other persons.