RTC judge junks motion of British national

REGIONAL Trial Court Judge (RTC) Ester Veloso denied the move of British national Ian Charles Griffiths, one of the accused in the kidnap-slay of a six-year-old girl in Minglanilla town in 2011.

Veloso denied for being premature the motion filed by Griffiths’ lawyer, Rameses Victorius Villagonzalo, who asked the court to determine where he should be detained, pending bail application or trial, schedule of hearings, complete list of prosecution witnesses and appearance of private prosecutors.

Veloso, of RTC Branch 6, held that Griffiths has a pending petition before the Court of Appeals, following the dismissal of the case against his partner, Bella Ruby Santos.

In 2015, Veloso dismissed the case against Santos whom the police had accused of abducting and killing Ellah Joy Pique, 6, while she was walking home from school with friends on Feb. 8, 2011.

Griffiths and Santos had been charged with conspiring to commit the crime.

Veloso granted the defense team’s demurrer to evidence with leave of court, which led to the dismissal of the case against Santos.

The demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss after the prosecution has rested its case, on the ground that the prosecution’s evidence is insufficient.

Judge Veloso ruled she was not convinced by the testimony of a child-witness who said that it was Santos who abducted Pique.

The same witness had testified against Norwegian national Sven Erik Berger and his fiancée Karen Esdrelon, the first couple charged with the crime.

The couple was cleared of the complaint at the prosecutor’s level, before the case could reach the court.

“The filing of the motion is not only premature, but is in conflict with pending action instituted before the appellate court,” read Veloso’s order.
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