Retrial ordered for BDF Soldier Paulino Assi Print E-mail
( 0 Votes )
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 29 March 2012 00:00

Paulino AssiOn Wednesday March 28th BDF Soldier, 24-year-old Paulino Assi appeared in the Court of Appeal where a retrial was ordered for him. He had been in jail for a year after being found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

On February 17 of last year, Assi was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of  Douglas resident, George Cortez, a civilian who was allegedly being disciplined by Assi after misbehaving behave whilst at a shelter during a flood. Cortez allegedly assumed a very threatening and violent posture against Assi’s Senior Officer and Assi fired a few warning shots and Cortez persisted in advancing with Assi firing at the advancing man killing him. In his defense, Assi testified that he fired because he genuinely believed that Cortez was armed and was launching a violent attack upon his Senior Officer.  Assi was convicted of manslaughter and sentence to 10 years.

At the Court of Appeal, he appealed the year conviction since he claimed he was defending himself.  Last Friday, March 23, the judges of the Court of Appeal heard his appeal in which his attorney, Simeon Sampson had argued as many as four grounds on his behalf. The one that rung out with the judges was that the trial judge gave an inappropriate and erroneous direction in respect of the good character of his client. By the end of last Friday, March 23, the judges picked up on the ground that the prisoner’s good character was not emphasized by the trial judge in sum up. The judges also noted that with the SI, Chapter 135 of the BDF Act, the judge basically gave insufficient directions to the jurors referenced in the SI.  The SI is the guideline which outlines how soldiers should behave in situation such as the one Assi found himself in.

The judges were of the view that if he had not breached the SI, then the jury could have been led to believe that he was acting in self-defense.

Assi will be getting a retrial at a date yet to be announced. He was offered bail in the sum of $6,000 plus two sureties of $3,000 each. In the appeal, Assi was represented by Simeon Sampson.  Cheryl Lynn Vidal represented the DPP office.