Briones: Dazed and confused

I HAVE to admit, I sometimes catch myself scratching my head whenever I encounter court-related stories.

At first, I blamed the reporters for resorting to legalese gobbledygook. Then they showed me the documents they based their articles on. And my heart went out to them.

It must be torture—yes, torture—trying to make sense of pages of sentences that appeared to have been constructed to confuse their reader.

That happened again the other night, while I was reading about David Lim Jr.’s case.

Remember him?

He’s the guy, who, back on March 19 this year, shot at a motorist during what police described as a road rage incident.

There was no denying that it was Lim, who aimed a gun and fired at nurse Ephraim Nuñal. Unbeknownst to him and his girlfriend, who was with him during the incident, the whole thing was caught on a dashcam and uploaded on Facebook.

I thought it was an open and shut case.

In fairness to Lim, he never had a brush with the law prior to this encounter. But he must pay the consequences for his action.

Lim was charged with frustrated homicide and illegal possession of ammunition.

After that, he posted bail. Not much was heard about the case until he asked the court to be allowed to leave the country to go on a cruise in the US and Canada with his family.

In his pleading, he said he wanted to “travel and spend time with his family in these difficult times when he is facing unwarranted accusations, denunciations and even bullying.”

The court, despite the defense’s objection, gave him the go-ahead.

Lim then filed an omnibus motion to refer his case for preliminary investigation and to suspend proceedings.

Well, what do you know, the court granted his motion as well.

To those who don’t know, preliminary investigation “is an inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably guilty thereof, and should be held for trial.” Or, in layman’s terms, it’s to determine whether a person should be tried or not.

Last month, when Lim filed his omnibus motion, defense lawyer Mundlyn Martin pointed out that he waived his right to preliminary investigation during the inquest. The prosecution also pointed out that on all stages of his case, Lim was accompanied by his counsel. “Lim cannot anymore feign ignorance and shout injustice that his right to due process claiming that he failed to avail (himself) of his right to preliminary investigation,” it said.

Maybe the court knows something we lesser mortals don’t.
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