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Kim Simplis on Gender Based Violence in San Pedro

The Special Envoy for Women and Children, Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow has been following the case of Ms. Carrie Tripodi who was severely beaten by her ex-boyfriend, Mr. Russel Casimiro on the night of April 1, 2018. Mrs. Simplis Barrow feels the need to release a statement, as she is extremely appalled and dissatisfied by the negligent way in which the case is being handled by law enforcement officers.

According to Ms. Tripodi, on April 2, 2018, after obtaining a medico – legal form from police and attending the San Pedro Polyclinic, she filed a report at the San Pedro Police Department; her complaint included wounding and burglary. Ms. Tripodi also requested a restraining order against Mr. Casimiro.

On Tuesday, April 3, 2018, Mr. Casimiro appeared at the San Pedro Magistrate Court where he pled guilty to WOUNDING, and was fined $1,000 to be paid by July and was released on probation.

The Special Envoy is concerned about details that have emerged regarding the handling of the case namely:

a) Assertions that the medico – legal report that documents the extent of the injuries sustained by Ms. Tripodi was apparently lost by the Police and so the Magistrate was not permitted a fair opportunity to assess the extent of the damage caused by Mr. Casimiro to Ms. Tripodi.

b) The fact that no charge was levied against Mr. Casimiro for forcibly entering Ms. Tripodi’s home.

The Special Envoy also understands that Russel Casimiro is a previous domestic violence offender and has served time in prison for domestic abuse. This information Mrs. Barrow believes should have been taken into consideration by the Magistrate when Mr. Casimiro appeared in court.

Mrs. Barrow again stresses that violence whether occurring in the home or in the community is a gross violation of human rights and calls on law enforcement officers to take seriously their responsibility to protect citizens and to ensure that perpetrators of crime and violence are held accountable. “Violence instills fear and insecurity in women. Our police officers must ensure that cases of gender based violence are properly investigated, that survivors are protected from their abusers, and that perpetrators understand the severity of the heinous crime committed,” Mrs. Barrow states.

The Special Envoy calls on the relevant authorities to review the management of this case and also calls for the appeal of Mr. Casimiro’s penalty of a very low fine and probation in view of the extent of the injuries he inflicted upon Ms. Tripodi and the aggravating factor of his unlawful entry into the victim’s home.

It is imperative that all stakeholders in the system do their part to ensure that victims are encouraged to come forward to report these heinous violations and that they receive justice when they do.

On Monday, April 2, 2018, Russel Cassimiro broke into Carrie Tripodie’s home and beat her savagely. According to the police report, the woman told them that about 12:15AM, she was getting ready to go to bed, when she heard a knock on her door and her ex-common law, Cassimiro said, ‘open your door, I know you are in there.’ When she refused to open the door for him, Cassimiro scaled up the side of the house and broke into the balcony and made entry into the house through a door that was unlocked. He then asked her for his phone and after she handed it to him he proceeded to punch her in the face repeatedly causing the injuries to her face.

A Public Notice posted by the Belize Tourism Board on Friday, April 6, 2018, indicates that in light of recent media reports on Mr. Russel Casimiro, the Belize Tourism Board hereby informs the general public that Mr. Casimiro has not been licensed as a Tour Guide since 2015. Mr Casimiro is therefore not legally authorized to conduct any tours or perform any functions of a Tour Guide.

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