Crack addict grabs opportunity at Turning Point

POSTED: 03/9/12 11:48 AM

St. Maarten – “It does not happen often that a suspect grabs the opportunities at Turning Point the way this defendant has done. I am not going to applaud but I must say that I do appreciate this. It is good that he takes this opportunity. Now he will have to show that he won’t get into trouble again once he has more freedom.”

Prosecutor mr. Dounia Benammar did not only shed light on the positive aspects of the case against Winston Kenneth Richardson; the 43-year-old stood accused of two burglaries for which he was already in court in September of last year; the case was adjourned on that occasion to give the defendant a chance to go through rehabilitation at Turning Point.

The burglaries occurred on April 6 of last year in a house on Paradise Road and on August 16 at the premises of Independent Consultant Engineers on Zagersgut Road. On the first occasion the addicted burglar was caught red-handed when he climbed out of a window with stolen electronics; the second time he was spotted near the crime scene at six o’clock in the morning with a stolen digital camera in his pocket.

The defendant had “no comment” on the first burglary and claimed that he had found the digital camera on the street. It contained however pictures of construction projects and was recognized by the owner of ICE as his.

After the first burglary, Richardson was arrested and kept in preventive custody until June 3. The second time he was also arrested on the spot and he remained behind bars until September 9. He was released on the condition of going to Turning Point. All in all he spent 84 days in preventive custody for the two burglaries.

“I follow the regulations. I don’t want this lifestyle anymore. I want to go to Statia and get a job,” the defendant told the court. A report from Turning Point confirmed that the defendant is indeed doing well.

“If you want to take part in society you have to take your responsibilities. I note that the defendant does not want to say what happened on April 6, while he has been arrested with the stolen goods,” prosecutor Benammar said.

The prosecutor did not believe that Richardson had found the digital camera on the street, nor did she believe that he had been brutally ill-treated by the police after his arrest.

“You have said after you were asked about the way the police had treated you that you have beaten up, but you said nothing of this to the Judge of Instruction,” she said.

The prosecutor demanded 384 days imprisonment with 3 years of probation; 300 days of the demand are suspended and the defendant has already served the rest. The prosecutor also demanded an extension of probation by 1.5 year for a 2010 conviction to an 8 month suspended prison sentence. Next to that, Benammar demanded that the defendant maintains contact with the rehabilitation bureau and does 240 hours of community service.

“This is a big warning,” she concluded. “There is a sentence of 8 months and 300 days hanging over your head.”

Richardson’s attorney mr. Shaira Bommel had not much to say about the demand.

“On the basis of the file there is proof for both charges. My client was under the influence; he is addicted to crack and cocaine, but during the past six to seven months he has shown that he wants to change his life.”

Judge mr. Monique Keppels followed the prosecutor’s demand, saying that he first will have to complete his treatment at Turning Point.

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