Sailor sentenced to 18 months for attempt at human smugglingPOSTED: 10/6/11 12:53 PM
St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced sailor Aliaza Anthony Brown, 28, to 18 months imprisonment for an attempt to smuggle four Brazilians from St. Maarten to Tortola on a sailing boat he was taking for a company from Antigua to Tortola, knowing that his passengers’ intention was to enter the United States. At the trial on September 22, the prosecution demanded a 30-month sentence.
Under the aliens pardon rule, Brown will have to serve only one third of his sentence. Because he has been detained since he was caught on May 31, he will most likely be a free man again towards the end of next month.
Judge mr. M. Keppels dismissed the defense argument that the Brazilians were legal in St. Maarten and that they would also be legal in “Tortola upon arrival because they do not need a visa for the British Virgin Islands. “From the statements made by three of the Brazilians it is sufficiently clear that their whole trip was designed to travel illegally to the United States.”
Judge Keppels also dismissed the defense argument that these statements have to be excluded from evidence because attorney mr. S.R. Bommel did not have the opportunity to interview the Brazilians. “The file does not show that the defense requested to interview them and during the trial the attorney also has not shown documents that substantiate that she made such a request.”
The Judge held against Brown that he had not reported the departure from St. Maarten of his four passengers and that, when the Coast Guard intercepted his boat, he had said that there were two people on board instead of six. “From these circumstances the court concludes that the defendant knew he was involved in human smuggling.”
The court considered that Brown is a first offender. He was acquitted of human smuggling (because the act was not completed), but sentenced for an attempt to smuggle the Brazilians to Tortola.