Once again an expat Central Pacific property owner has been declared innocent of forgery. This is the third time that a court in Puntarenas made that pronouncement in the case of Sheldon Haseltine and his lawyer.
But the case is not over yet. Haseltine said that as the Tuesday hearing drew to a close, the lawyer for the complainants in the case said he would appeal.
Haseltine had been cleared twice before, but an appeals panel remanded the case back to the trial court twice before on technicalities.
The evidence is so conclusive that even the prosecutor has sided with the accused.
The allegation is that Haseltine and his lawyer, Horacio Mejias Portuguez, forged the signature of a Costa Rican consul in The Bahamas on a document giving the expat the right to act on behalf of his corporation. The document is important in another case in which Haseltine hopes to validate his ownership of valuable land in the central Pacific. He
has been fighting for nearly 15 years. The corporation is registered in Panamá, but administered in The Bahamas. The document required and got the seal of the Costa Rican consulate in The Bahamas.
The prosecutor, Dixiela Madrigal Mora, has reported that she spoke with the consular official who verified that he signed the document.
The persons who raised the forgery allegation are Armando González Fonseca, a well-known Costa Rican businessman, and Martha Sandoval, who has lived on one of Haseltine’s properties. Otto Giovanni Ceciliano Mora is representing the complainants.
Armando Rodríguez, the judge, rejected a demand by the complainants for 100 million colons and, instead, ordered them to pay 15 million each, plus costs, Haseltine said.
González also is a party in the case that seeks to determine the ownership of the valuable property. He is on record saying that he purchased rights to the property from a squatter.
An appeal date is expected in a few weeks.