David and Anke Doehm were granted Supreme Court Bail of $10,000 each for the charges of Cruelty to a Child in the death case of Faye Lin Cannon. Angry protesters from San Pedro chanted "Justice for Faye" while the court was in session in Belize City. Needless to say, everyone was disappointed at the outcome of the court hearings as the Doehms walk free for the time being.
Bail conditions include that the Doehms surrender their personal documents to the US Embassy, report to the Queen’s Street Police Station every Monday and the usual conditions that bail garners. The judge ordered the Doehms not to leave the country, otherwise they would be immediately detained with bail removed. It was the position of the prosecution that the Doehms were a flight risk.
“One of the issue is that you have to be able to take care of yourself in Belize,” stated Attorney Jaqueline Willoughby representing the Government of Belize. “Their business is down, one of the petitioners was released from his employment and they have no means/property here. The issue of their children is in human services and there are matters in other courts that custody is being sought by the adoptive father. It is our view that there is no reason for them to stay here. This charge will yield them prison time of up to ten years, but at the end of the day it is the discretion of the judge to determine whether or not he would give bail.”
Defense Attorney for David Doehm, Dickie Bradley, stated that the prosecution failed to tackle the issue of the sole grounds of objection, which is if the Doehms will leave the country the moment they get the opportunity. The grounds that they were a flight risk was not strong enough to convince the judge in the supreme court to lock them down until 2018 or 2019.
“It has been the law in this country that bail is a right, not a privilege, nobody is doing you a favor to give you your freedom which is guaranteed in the country of Belize,” stated Dickie Bradley.
“Bail is not to be used to punish the person before a trial is held; those are two very fundamental legal principles. It is all to easy to be denying people their liberty. Under the constitution of Belize even person who are accused of homicide, are entitled to bail. I will be the first to concede that the charge of Cruelty to a Child is a very serious charge; we much take care of our children, but that is not grounds to lock up anybody in prison until 2019 when the trial may take place. That cannot be fair. What if it turns out from forensic evidence that in fact the death of the child was not at the hands of one or both of the parents. We cannot restore back the person’s loss of freedom. That was one of the arguments brought forward.”
The defense attorney’s case to support the Doehms not being a flight risk included proving evidence that they are permanent residents in Belize, were working and had a business on Ambergris Caye and that they had already started the process of applying for citizenship.
What happens now? We wait for trial on the “Cruelty to a Child” placed on the Doehms. We hope they do not flee the country. We hope the remaining three siblings are held in custody and possibly granted to their adoptive father. We pray for justice in the name of Faye Lin Cannon. David and Anke are to return to San Pedro’s Magistrate Court on Thursday, August 24, for partial disclosure. A preliminary inquiry into Faye’s death is scheduled for October 7 while investigations are ongoing.
Ambergris Caye residents traveled to the city to participate in a peaceful protest, demanding no bail for the Doehms