Appeal court will retry Laveist in October on all charges

POSTED: 05/25/12 2:10 PM

St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice postponed the retrial of National Alliance MP Louie Laveist for the second time yesterday afternoon. Appeal court judges Van Kooten, Smid and Verheijen rescheduled the trial for October 3.
Laveist said yesterday that he pursues the court case because he believes in his innocence. The postponement followed after a request from his attorney mr. Jason Rogers who did not have the complete case file at his disposal yet from the defendant’s previous attorney mr. Cor Merx.
Judge mr. H.J. van Kooten said that the court will redo the whole trial. “The Supreme Court has declared the court’s ruling void,” he said. “In October we will therefore look at all the charges, also the ones for which you were acquitted earlier. It is possible that the court will arrive at a different conclusion this time.”
The Common Court of Justice sentenced Laveist on February 11, 2010 to a 5,000 guilders (almost $2,800) fine or 55 days imprisonment, a 6-month suspended jail sentence and a 3-year ban on his right to work in the civil service or as a member of the government.
The appeals court ruling was lighter than the verdict from the Court in First Instance in 2009: 18 months imprisonment, with 9 months suspended, a 5,000 guilders fine and a 5-year ban from office.
The court found Laveist guilty of accepting bribes (in cash and plane tickets) from two different companies in exchange for work permits and a promise to give one company preferential treatment in the bidding process for equipping the new government building with furniture.
The court acquitted Laveist at the time of accepting $10,000 from a company, from forging the minutes of his Culture Club Foundation, from defrauding the Antillean co-financing organization Amfo of 22,750 guilders, and from employing an illegal hairdresser at Barbershop 2.
All these charges will be back on the table for re-consideration during the trial in October.

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