Armed robber proclaims his innocence

POSTED: 03/21/13 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – Louie Alberto Junior E. proclaimed his innocence in the Court in First Instance yesterday, but prosecutor Tineke Kamps demanded 5 years imprisonment against him for an armed robbery, fencing stolen goods and firearm possession. The court will pronounce its verdict on April 10.
The defendant stands accused of taking part in an armed robbery on November 16 of last year on Back street. Together with another man E. approached a couple and demanded that the man hand over his golden necklace. When the victim refused, he allegedly pulled a gun and wrestled with the man before taking the necklace.
On December 1 E. allegedly ill-treated a security guard in a row over a parking space. When E.’s name was linked to the November 16 robbery, investigators did a house search on the defendant’s home address. There they found stolen goods such a passport, a bank card, a driver’s license, a police cap, a bulletproof vest and a baton, and also taser gun, a gun without a cylinder and live ammunition.

The robbery-victim recognized the defendant from pictures presented to him. Louie E. however denied all charges. “I know nothing about all this,” he told the court, adding that he had found the stolen goods that were found in his house on the street. “It was garbage, I did not even look at it and I wanted to throw it away,” he said.
The defendant said that he thought the police cap and the baton would be fitting for Halloween. “I am never out stealing, I am a hard working man,” he said. He claimed to keep the gun that was found as a paperweight, and that ammunition officers found had been given to him by a friend to make a necklace out of them.

Prosecutor Kamps considered the armed robbery proven based on the fact that the victim had recognized E. in a photo confrontation. The defendant admitted to ill-treating the security guard when he was interrogated by the police.
mr. Kamps did not believe a word of the defendant’s claim that he had found the stolen goods on the street. “The gun was in a bedside table, and other goods were also stored in a cupboard,” she said. “These goods can only stem from a crime. That the gun does not function is irrelevant – it can be used to threaten someone.”
The prosecutor said that she could ask for the armed robbery alone 3-year prison sentence. She demanded 5 years of imprisonment, with 2 years suspended and 2 years of probation.
Attorney Aernout Kraaijeveld said that with the victim as the only witness to the robbery there is not enough evidence for a conviction. “There is no supporting evidence.”
The attorney also contested the photo confrontation.”The victim said that the robber had plaited hair, and among the pictures in the photo confrontation there was just one of a man with plaited hair – my client. Besides, the confrontation took place seventeen days after the robbery.”
mr. Kraaijeveld asked the court to exclude the goods that were found at his client’s house from evidence because there was no legal ground for the house search. “There was no reasonable suspicion that there could be a firearm in the house,’ he said. “And up to what point could it be used to threaten someone? The weapon is incomplete and rusty.”
Attorney Kraaijeveld asked the court to acquit his client or to give him at most a suspended sentence.
Louie E. had the last word: “I want to be acquitted of all these charges. I work from ten to seven. Why would I do these things?”

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