After 4.5 years, suspect in court for Dayalani-murder

POSTED: 11/21/13 1:25 PM

Trial postponed due to attorney’s food poisoning

St. Maarten – Four years and 179 days after armed robbers fatally shot businessman Haresh Dayalani, murder suspect Robertson Craig P. appeared in court yesterday to give account. The now 31-year-old defendant saw his case postponed to March 26 of next year – to the dismay of public prosecutor Tineke Kamps – because his attorney  Shaira Bommel was unable to work due to food poisoning.

Robertson P. is charged with two armed robberies at the Pelican Marina Resort on two consecutive days – May 14 and 15, 2009 – and with the armed robbery on May 26 of that year that ended the life of Dayalani, who was commonly known under his nickname Danny.

The Indian business community reacted at the time with great sadness and anger to the Dayalani-murder. Protesting the criminal violence on the island, the businesses closed their doors on the Thursday and Friday following the killing. The business community also offered immediately a $5,000 reward for information that would solve the crime; in July, they upped the reward to $25,000.

Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards said at the time that “closing businesses does little to solve crime. The best response to crime is one involving the entire community and not merely selective action,” he said.

Another reaction to the murder was the establishment of a broad based task force on crime. Its members were not only Indian merchants like Cookie Bijlani and Damu Rawtani, but also SHTA President Emil Lee, Chamber of Commerce President Glen Carty, Elco Rosario of the now defunct Comprehensive Business Association and Keith Graham of the Sonesta Great Bay Beach Hotel.

The task force started with good intentions – and with the organization of a silent march in Marigot. As time went by, it slowly ceased to exist or to take any further actions.

In April 2010, the Court in First Instance sentenced Louis Albert Richardson, aka Sticky, to 16 years for five armed robberies and attempted manslaughter on a policeman. Interestingly, Sticky robbed a group of Indian merchants on May 25, 2009 near their home on Welgelegen Drive in Cay Hill. On the day of the Dayalani-murder, Sticky also robbed a group of Indian citizens on Kangaroo Road.

He was marked a suspect in the Dayalani murder at the time of his conviction but the prosecutor at the time, Rienk Mud did not charge him with it. “I am not going to charge him for it if I cannot present sufficient proof in court,” Mud told this newspaper in 2010. “But he is still a suspect in this case and we will charge him with it when the investigation is complete.”

Currently however, Sticky is no longer in the picture as a subject of prosecution in this case, due to lack of evidence. “This does not mean that that could not change in the future,” prosecutor Kamps told this newspaper.

Prosecutor Kamps expressed yesterday her sympathy to the family of the murder victim. “It is terrible for the family that we have to postpone the trial. But this is a serious indictment and it is not possible to continue without an attorney for the defendant.”

Judge  Koos van de Ven asked the prosecution to research earlier options in February or possibly January of next year for the trial, instead of March 26.

Because the prosecution needed some time to look at all options, the defendant returned to the Pointe Blanche prison and was brought back to court in the afternoon to hear the new date for his trial.

It appeared that there is no earlier possibility to handle the trial than March 26. To remain within the legal terms for prosecution, Robertson P. will appear in court for a pro forma hearing on February 6 of next year.

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