Attempt to remove judge from election fraud court case fails

POSTED: 03/25/14 8:20 PM

Great Bay, St. Maarten – The Common Court of Justice rejected yesterday a request by attorney Cor Merx to remove Judge Koen Luijks from the election fraud trial. Merx filed the request at the trial on February 17 based on the perceived lack of impartiality on the side of the judge. Merx represents one of the police officers who are accused of selling their vote to the United People’s party just before the elections in September 2010.

The attorney wanted to present several preliminary defense arguments in February but Judge Luijks made that impossible by postponing the case until April 14.

The judge instructed the Public Prosecutor’s Office to conduct an additional investigation, after he found in the case file one report that exonerated the United People’s party of all wrongdoing, while at the same time a representative of this party is accused of paying out money in exchange for votes.

Judge Luijks refused to excuse himself from the case and the Common Court of Justice examined the complaint against him during a court session on March 7.

The Common Court ruled that the decision Judge Luijks took during this court hearing do not affect his impartiality. Merx had furthermore argued that there was a secret agreement between the judge and the prosecution. He also felt wrong-footed because he had prepared his defense because the judge had given the impression that the case would be handled on February 17. Instead, Judge Luijks announced the postponement after a brief adjournment.

The court ruled yesterday that Merx would still be able to present his preliminary defense arguments at the trial on April 14.

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