An ex-security guard, who was employed by HudBay Minerals Inc, has been acquitted in Guatemala for murder, and it is a decision that is expected to have far-reaching consequences, particular in Canadian courts. A judge in Guatemala acquitted the security guard for murder, as he was charged with shooting and killing Adolfo Ich, a Mayan Q’eqchi’ at a protest in 2009.
The ex-security guard, Mynor Padilla, 53, had been employed by Compania Guatemalteca de Niquel (CGN), which was a sister company of HudBay Minerals Inc. He had served in the military previously as high ranking officer, and had been acquitted previously when he shot another man.
Canadian courts are following the proceedings closely, and the events, which led towards the death of Ich, are already being contested through negligence lawsuits, which had been launched in the Ontario Superio Court. It was the family of Ich, and others who had filed the lawsuits.
If found guilty in Canada, Hudbay’s case could cause problems for the behavior guidelines followed by Canadian mining sister companies. All of these have had a long history of environmental and human rights complaints. A spokesman of HudBay declared that the company was pleased about the acquittal, and believed that Padilla had been innocent all along.
The widow of Ich is extremely disappointed by the verdict and declared that she never expected to get justice in Guatemalan courts, but will continue fighting the case back in Canada. Furthermore, the judge dropped all criminal charges that were brought forward against Padilla in this case, including falsifying information, and obstructing justice.
There has long been a view that Guatemala’s justice system is flawed and corrupt, and the plaintiffs will fight in Canadian courts. They are seeking $15 million in compensatory and about $64 million in punitive damages. It remains to be seen how the case will go in Canadian courts.