Appeals court demands 18 months against Bobby V. for sexual assaultPOSTED: 09/30/11 12:23 PM
Reputed businessman claims his innocence
St. Maarten – Two hours before the deadline expired on July 15, Attorney General Dick Piar decided to appeal Bobby V.’s acquittal for sexually assaulting a 16-year-old second cousin on March 7 of last year. Yesterday, Solicitor-General mr. A.C. van der Schans demanded 18 months imprisonment and 2 years of probation on appeal; 6 months of the demand are suspended. But at the end of the hearing, defense attorney mr. J.G. Bloem wondered aloud whether this was “a rape case or a rip off case.”
The appeal hearing was a replica of the trial in the Court in First Instance on June 15. This time, the defense fielded two attorneys. mr. E.P. Sulvaran dealt with the facts of the case, and mr. Bloem handled the more legal-technical aspects.
The 16-year-old girl filed a complaint for sexual assault against the defendant on March 22 of last year. She alleged that V. had assaulted her on the last day of the Heineken regatta in the bedroom of his own house, but the defense argued that the timeline did not check out and that the assault could not have happened the way the girl claimed – if it happened at all.
Solicitor-General Van der Schans however considered that there was legal and convincing evidence. “There is a detailed complaint that is supported by other evidence. The girl’s grandmother was angry that she had been left alone with the defendant, saying that he had molested other niece s as well in the past.”
mr. van der Schans considered the girl’s statements credible.
Attorney Sulvaran attacked the plaintiff’s character. “The parents want us to believe that she is a model teenager, but from statement of her grandmother we know that she was caught in the possession of drugs, that she sneaked out of the house at odd hours and that her father beat her with a bull whip. Three years ago she falsely accused a cousin of sexually assaulting her. Only after the boy’s mother threatened to go to the police did she admit that it was a joke. This is a girl with serious behavioral problems.”
Sulvaran also pointed to countless contradictions in the girl’s statements, and repeated a claim mr. Bloem made during the trial in June that the mother had wanted to negotiate a settlement out of court whereby the defendant would buy three townhouses for $500,000 each. mr. Bloem added that the mother had upped the price in a later stage to $1.8 million to make the complaint go away.
mr. Sulvaran asked the court to acquit his client. “I am not even going to argue the solicitor –general’s demand because I do not see how this could lead to a conviction,” he said.
“My name has been damaged,” Bobby V. said at the end of the proceedings. “I have always led a straight life. I have never touched that girl, and I have never molested anybody. It’s sad that my name is being dragged through the mud while I have done so much for St. Maarten all my life. I also resent the way I was punished when they put me in a police cell.”