COURT FINDS PALAU BROTHERS GUILTY OF FORGERY

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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Oct. 31) — Palau Supreme Court Associate Justice Larry Miller found Del. Antonio Bells and his brother Marino guilty of forgery and conspiracy for preparing a fake court order and forging the signature of a former judge.

Court records showed that Bells forged false court orders to trick Robert Bells into leaving Palau because he was causing trouble.

Miller said that although the court does not question the defendants’ intention of acting in good faith when trying to stop their brother from harassing other people, the law was still violated.

"The question with the court now is whether the means they chose to achieve their intentions violated the law. For all the reasons set forth above, the court concludes that they did and finds them guilty of the crimes with which they have been charged," the judge said.

According to the court, Marino Bells and Antonio Bells committed forgery by forging former Associate Justice Barrie Michelsen’s signature and that they have conspired to create the false order.

The government has proven beyond reasonable doubt that forgery has been committed by the defendants, the court said.

The defendants told the court that the fake orders stemmed for the harm Robert Bells might cause for harassing other people.

"The court is not convinced that there was a danger of imminent harm or more importantly that defendants were themselves convinced that such a danger existed," the judge said.

Since it was proven that the defendants prepared a forged court order, "it is obvious that their actions were coordinated," he added.

"And it is logical and reasonable to infer such coordination could not have occurred absent some discussion and agreement between them to create and deliver the forged orders. They are accordingly both found guilty of the conspiracy charges against them," Miller said.

October 31, 2005

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