Glenford Baptist, until recently the only remaining prisoner under sentence of death in Belize, was resentenced today to 25 years’ imprisonment. Mr Baptist was given a mandatory and unconstitutional sentence of death in 2001. He eventually filed a constitutional challenge to his sentence and in July 2015 the Honourable Kenneth Benjamin, Chief Justice of Belize, quashed the death sentence and adjourned the case so that sentencing reports could be prepared. Mr Baptist’s legal team submitted powerful evidence of his reform and rehabilitation, including from prison staff.
Mr Baptist was represented by the Belize law firm Courtenay Coye LLP, with the help of Joe Middleton (recently called to the Bar of Belize) and the Death Penalty Project, all acting pro bono. “This is the beginning of the end of a protracted sentencing process for Mr Baptist”, said Joe Middleton, “but it also underscores the progress Belize is making with capital punishment. Although the death penalty remains on the books in Belize, no one has been executed for 30 years, and it’s a credit to the criminal justice system that there are no more condemned prisoners”.