(CMR) Venezuelan pilot Juan Carlos Gonzales Infante (60), who was found not guilty of smuggling gold into the Cayman Islands over three years ago, remains behind bars still awaiting an extradition hearing due to issues with legal aid.
Infante was taken into custody alongside four other men in 2019 for the alleged smuggling of $6 million worth of gold found on board the private aircraft he copiloted. They were all found not guilty in 2020.
While Infante was found not guilty here, he is wanted in the United States on drug smuggling and money laundering charges. Infante is fighting the extradition; however, the hearing is being affected by issues with granting him legal aid.
On Friday, when Infante appeared in the Grand Court, it was revealed that a medical report was outstanding as Legal Aid has not yet made a decision regarding paying for it.
Prosecutor Toyin Salako expressed frustration regarding the length of time it was taking for legal aid issues to be resolved.
“It is embarrassing for us…We can't keep going like this,” she said, asking that the Court write the legal aid director to find out when a decision is likely.
It was pointed out to the court that every single adjournment has been because of legal aid issues or funding.
In the meantime, Infante, who appeared via Zoom, told the court that he was invoking Articles 6 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law,” regardless of whether they are citizens or immigrants, students or tourists, workers or refugees.
Article 7 states that all are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
He is expected to return to court on 14 November, when an update will be provided.