Friday, April 25, 2008

Reasoning, not so much

The "reasoning" offered by the Mexican judge to support his guilty verdict in the Brenda Martin case turns out to be...well, the contentions of the prosecution, in their entirety and what should be, in a fair system of justice, inadmissible statements from Martin:

Meanwhile, Martin's lawyer said he is shocked by the reasoning used by the judge to find her guilty and sentence her to five years in prison.

"It is unbelievable," Guillermo Cruz Rico said Friday from his Toronto office. "I am just shocked at how the judge could find her criminally responsible based on the evidence that he cites."

Cruz said Judge Luis Nunez Sandoval took the allegations made by the police and the prosecutors in their original arrest warrant issued for Martin on Aug. 23, 2003, and accepted them verbatim as reason for convicting her.

"All he has done is taken the same allegations that were written by the PGR (federal prosecutors)," Cruz said. "It is all the same arguments."

The judge also relied heavily on voluntary statements made to police by Martin in 2001 and 2002.

Cruz had previously failed to have the charge against Martin thrown out on the grounds Martin was never told she was a suspect when she provided the statements. She was not given the option of having a lawyer present and she was not provided with a translator, the lawyer has said. Cruz said all of those were violations of Martin's rights under both international and Mexican law.

Cruz said Sandoval completely rejected Martin's defence. He said the amount of money she received as a chef - $500 per week - was excessive. The judge also said the severance she received - $26,000 - after she was fired was also excessive.

"He said the defence was not credible because she failed to mention in her statement that she had worked full-time for Waage."

The judge also dismissed as not credible a sworn affidavit by Waage in support of Martin.

And on this basis, Ms. Martin may yet have to serve jail time in Canada. Well, Canadians travelling to Mexico, you're warned...