In 2004, a 17-year-old female, claimed that Edward Wilfred Arthurs, then 26, a Belize City resident and friend of her brother, raped her then robbed her of her money.
The alleged rape had occurred in the Lord's Ridge Cemetery. After 6 years on remand for the rape and robbery, Arthurs was acquitted of the incident on Friday, October 12th. A jury of 9 people deliberated for a little over three hours and found him not guilty of both counts. The trial concluded at 2:12 p.m., before Justice Troadio Gonzalez after a week of trial.
Although he was set free of this offense, Arthurs was not free to go home as he is presently on remand at the Belize Central Prison on a murder charge so he was escorted back to the Belize Central Prison.
Prosecutor in the case, Thalia Megan Francis called as many as 6 witnesses to testify in the case against Edwards including the a 23-year-old woman. The woman took the stand at the commencement of the trial on Friday, October 5th where she told the court that on the night of July 13th, 2004, the accused was speaking with her brother near the Cumberbatch Field. When he left, she went to speak with her brother and then she left. That’s when Arthurs allegedly followed her as she walked by the cemetery.
She said that at about 9 p.m., as she was walking near the burial ground, she looked back three times and saw that it was him. She then suddenly felt someone grab her from behind and placed rag over her nose and she lost consciousness. When she woke up, she was naked and Arthurs was raping her. She said that they got into a struggle as he began to rob her of her cash and a bottle of lotion.
She managed to scratch him during the struggle but he then pulled out a knife and placed it at her throat and threatened to kill her if she told anyone what he had done.
She said that she then ran out of the burial ground and made it home.
Arthurs was not arrested until 2006 as he was on the run after the report was made, police were unable to locate him.
In his defense, Arthurs who was unrepresented, told the court that he was with a friend that night at a nearby Shopping Center on Queen Charlotte Street. He was playing a game when his friend made a remark about someone.
He said when he looked up, he saw it was the 17-year-old, who then said to him that it was he who was insulting her.
He then said the female began to curse him out and that’s why they got into an altercation. He then walked up to her and slapped her and then he went his way.
He denied ever raping her and said that that was the reason the female made up a story of him raping her.
The jury’s verdict was unanimous on both charges.
The doctor who had examined the woman testified that he noticed that the 17-year-old female's hymen was not intact but that he had seen no signs of abuse on her body.
During her trial, the victim appeared to have no understanding to the questions put to her by the accused or the prosecutor.