Attorney outraged about court decision

POSTED: 02/18/14 11:31 AM

Merx challenges Judge Luijks in election fraud trial

St. Maarten – Cor Merx, the attorney of Cernick C., one of the five defendants in the election fraud trial, became outraged when Judge Koen Luijks announced the postponement of the trial until April 14 yesterday afternoon. Merx challenged the judge; in a separate procedure, this request will be dealt with and the outcome could be that Luijks will be excused from the proceedings and that another judge will replace him.

Merx said after the court hearing that challenging a judge is an instrument that should “not be used to lightly to stop a judge who is no longer impartial or prejudiced or who shows for other reasons that he keeps insufficient distance from a case.”

Merx noted that the judge let the attorneys prepare their case “ad nauseam” with the message: “I will rule at the hearing about a postponement.”

Initially the attorney had petitioned the court for a postponement himself but after he had read the file, he concluded that he could handle the matter easily. This opinion is based on a conclusion from the National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche). “The National Detective Agency says in its report that there is no proof for election fraud. The judge also said this during the hearing. The judge also indicated that he had studied the file thoroughly and that undue delay comes into play. This means that the prosecution could be declared inadmissible. The prosecution has been asked to explain all this.”

Merx said that he became very angry. “I had prepared my plea on all these points. I also wanted to ask the question why we were in court on a Monday afternoon with a judge who normally does not do criminal cases. That is weird. I also became angry when he said that April 14 is a pro forma hearing. But dang it! If the case report does not represent anything, then it certainly is not necessary to hold a pro forma hearing. What was this hearing then? A hearing to fool the lawyers?”

Merx noted that when Judge Van Veen presided over the court in Philipsburg it was possible to ask beforehand about the court’s intentions. “That saves everybody a lot of time and effort. Was it not the president who said during the hearing, we have to be frugal with the court’s capacity? Well, then he has a good example here.”

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