Attorney Brandon asks court to acquit her client Erno L.

POSTED: 10/23/12 3:06 PM

St. Maarten – There were no family members at the temporary courthouse in the Belair community center yesterday to support Erno L., the second defendant in the Vesuvius-case who appeared yesterday morning to hear his attorney mr. Peggy Ann Brandon plead his case. Her conclusion: there is no proof that Erno L. had any part in the April 20 shooting at the former Tan Tan supermarket in Dutch Quarter, no proof that he ever possessed a firearm and no proof that he was a member of a criminal organization. mr. Brandon asked the court to acquit her client; last week, the prosecution demanded 20 years imprisonment against him.

mr. Brandon said that, while an investigation ought to be focused on finding the truth, in her opinion the prosecution had “used carefully cut witness statements to support a scenario,” among others through the selective use of telecom-information.
Erno L. was together with Charles F. actively looking for Omax Bye, the killer of Amador Jones on April 20, the prosecution claimed last week. But mr. Brandon told the court that, based on telecom-information, it is clear that her client and Charles F. were not together at all that day. “He was not with F., he had no knowledge of the Tan Tan shooting and he is not a member of a criminal organization.”
The attorney attacked the prosecution’s opinion that Erno L. was uncooperative. “He retained his right to remain silent at the advice of his attorney,” she pointed out.
That Erno L. was relocated to Aruba after his arrest without his attorney’s knowledge, that the prosecution uses anonymous witnesses and recorded confidential information to support its case, did not sit well with mr. Brandon. “I was not able to hear some of these anonymous witnesses because they did not want to come, while others were at a different location where I could not hear or see them. Questions were related to the Judge of Instruction who translated them to these witnesses; he then related their answers to me. That is an infringement on my right to ask questions. These statements cannot be used as evidence.”

mr. Brandon said that a conversation between her client and alleged gang leader Omar J. in a police car in Aruba has no legal basis. The prosecution requested authorities in Aruba to make the recording, saying it would not last longer than thirty minutes.
What happened according to mr. Brandon is that a police bus, in which Erno L. and Omar J. were transported, mysteriously broke down and that it took about an hour before it was repaired. During that time, the two detainees spoke with each other, unaware of the listening device. “Nobody asked my client for permission to record this, and nobody called the prison to pick them up when that bus broke down either. This is what I call entrapment.”

Also, the attorney said, the recording was made on November 21 of last year while the report was written almost four months later, on March 5, while these reports have to be made within three days. She asked the court to exclude the recording from evidence.
mr. Brandon said that her client could not have witnessed the Amador Jones murder from the position where he was standing at the Under the Sun car wash on April 16 of last year. She also contested that Omar J. had given instructions to find out what Omax Bye looked like, because “Omar J. knew exactly what he looked like.”

This last remark was an incorrect reference to a statement in the prosecution’s demand, because prosecutors said last week explicitly that Omar J. did not know what Bye looked like.
mr. Brandon presented evidence from telecom-data that showed her client’s whereabouts on the day of the Tan Tan shooting. Based on the call logs, she showed that L. was in South Reward at 2.45 p.m. – a quarter of an hour before the shooting, and that his car was at 2.59 p.m. seen on a camera from the WIB on Illidge Road. “There is no proof that my client was looking for Omax Bye together with Charles F. There was no search for Omax that day.
My client’s whereabouts are solely based on the untruthful statements by Charles F.”
The prosecution mentioned last week also that Erno L. took part in several meetings prior to the Tan Tan shooting. mr. Brandon said that there is no proof such meetings ever took place, adding that the weapons possession charge is again solely based on statements from Charles F. “We all know that y client likes to fight, but he uses his hands.”

mr. Brandon also rejected the charge that her client had been part of Omar J.’s criminal organization. She presented telecom data showing that there had never been phone contacts with Carlos R., Andrew D. and Doniel Th. and that the phone contacts with Omar J., Ekron M. and Charles F. were limited to a few calls. “And we don’t even know whether this were conversations,” she added.
mr. Brandon said that the C.I.D. tattoo originated with her client’s family.”That Charles F. decided on his own to have it and to give it a meaning is his thing,” she said. “There is no reason to believe the statements of Charles F. or that my client was in a close working relationship with anybody. He had no knowledge of the Tan Tan shooting, he did not participate in it, he did not intend to harm Omax Bye and he did not attend any meetings. None of the elements in the indictment can be proven and therefore an acquittal has to follow.”

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