Lord Ashcroft's daughter-in-law granted bail in shooting death of police officer

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The Canadian socialite accused of killing a police officer in Belize will be released from a Central American prison as she awaits prosecution.

Jasmine Hartin, the daughter-in-law of British billionaire Lord Michael Ashcroft, was granted bail Wednesday of about $15,000, 7 News Belize, a local news outlet, reported.

Hartin, the 32-year-old mother of twins, had been behind bars since her May 28 arrest in the shooting death of San Pedro Police Officer Henry Jemmott.

Prosecutors argued that Hartin, who has access to what appears to be a bottomless bank account, was a flight risk and should be jailed until prosecution. Her attorney, Belize's former attorney general, told reporters that the judge rejected arguments that Hartin would flee.

NO FAMILY PRISON VISITS FOR SOCIALITE ACCUSED OF SHOOTING POLICE OFFICER

"In the end, the judge felt that there was not an unacceptable risk of flight once the appropriate conditions could be put in place," Godfrey Smith said.

Hartin will have to surrender her passport and ID, report to a police station daily, and must submit any travel requests to authorities.

The longtime partner of Ashcroft's son Andrew has been charged with manslaughter by negligence after police found her with blood on her clothing and arms near a dock. Jemmott's lifeless body was found floating nearby in the water.

She initially claimed Jemmott had been shot by someone from a passing boat but changed her story after authorities allegedly told her she would also be charged with cocaine possession, 7 News Belize reported.

Hartin eventually told investigators that she and Jemmott met up for a night of drinking. Jemmott suggested she practice loading his gun, something she had done with him before following an incident when a man allegedly became aggressive toward her. Hartin said Jemmott advised her to get a gun for protection and that during her second alcohol-infused practice session, she had trouble ejecting the magazine clip and that it accidentally fired, hitting Jemmott, a father of five, behind his right ear.

While the case has generated international headlines because of Ashcroft, it has also exposed a deep divide in the tourist nation. Local authorities have been accused of giving Hartin special treatment because of her family ties and wealth.

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Jemmott's sister, Marie Tzul, said her family was disheartened that Hartin wasn't charged with murder.

Hartin, a Canadian citizen, lives in Belize with her husband. She had previously worked as the lifestyle director for Alaia Belize, the four-diamond luxury resort on Ambergris Caye her husband helped develop.

Ashcroft is worth an estimated $2 billion and was a major donor to the United Kingdom's Conservative Party in the 1980s and 1990s.

Ashcroft has also spent lavishly in Belize. He paid for the police department's gym and has donated to numerous other law enforcement causes.

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Tags: News, Central America, United Kingdom, british parliament, Tourism, Crime

Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty

Original Location: Lord Ashcroft's daughter-in-law granted bail in shooting death of police officer

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