Bar Association blasts attorney Cor Merx for offensive emails

POSTED: 12/11/13 6:26 PM

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – The dean of the Bar Association, attorney Remco Stomp, sent a letter to attorney Cor Merx on Tuesday in which he expresses his anger over emails Merx sent to members of the Bar and to local authorities. “I request that you come to your senses and that you use your wisdom for the benefit of the association,” is the last sentence of the letter of which this newspaper obtained a copy.

It is unclear which subject the letter addresses. Merx is currently off-island and he did not answer an email in which this newspaper asked for a comment on the apparent controversy.

“Remco, and many others with him, recently received many messages from you in which you repeatedly express your opinion,” Stomp states in the letter, adding that the Bar Association appreciates it when members express their opinion. “This is however different when that opinion is expressed in unnecessary offensive language or when words are used that are improper. The value of correctness in speech and in writing is important for the society as a whole, but especially for attorneys. For this reason, this has been added to the rules of conduct. Conforming to these rules is for a sworn attorney and a member of the Bar not free of obligations.”

The dean notes in his letter that Merx “repeatedly expressed himself unnecessary in an offensive way” and that he has shown “his disdain for the Bar Association and its board members unmistakably.”

The letter furthermore notes that Merx, while he was not invited to do so, pushed his opinion “in full length” on the members of the Bar Association and that he “abused the electronic address file of the association.”

Stomp is in particular upset that Merx not only expressed his dissatisfaction and his opinion to the members of the Bar association, but that he also shared this with the authorities “who are right now making things so difficult for us.”

The dean is not happy with the fact that Merx sent his complaints and opinions to unnamed authorities – most likely the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the police, and the Justice Ministry. “In doing this you have seriously undermined attempts by the Bar Association to exact a structural solution from the same authorities.”

While the letter does not offer specifics about the situation Merx has referred to in his opinions, it is a fact that Merx was one of two attorneys who encountered difficulties in November when they wanted to visit clients at the police station. Both Attorney Shaira Bommel, who is a board member of the Bar Association, and Merx were refused entry on October 14; Merx had even announced that he would come to the police station to visit his client Jaap van den Heuvel, but both attorneys were refused access because “the rules had changed.”

A meeting to discuss this issue that was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon was cancelled.

Stomp writes in his letter to Merx that “working hand in hand in times of crisis is essential. You one-sided action created a picture of discord. That is not only counter-productive, it is simply nasty.”

The dean continues by accusing Merx of “damaging the confidence in and the reputation of our profession, certainly towards local authorities.”

With a sneer to Merx relatively young career as an attorney (Marx was sworn on a tumultuous session of the Common Court of Justice on December 17, 2009), Stomp refers to the attorney’s lengthy service record. “You should be an example, but you depict the opposite impression.”

“You think you are allowed to say everything because, you state, you have nothing to lose anyway. Your expressions of indifference are distressing, especially for someone who took the oath and voluntary entered the Bar Association where you were received with open arms. You ignore and do an injustice to the members that do care and stick out their neck without pay and put the general interest before their personal interest,” Stomp wrote.

The Dean notes that Marx passed on the opportunity to present his opinion at a general membership meeting “because, as you said, they need you in New York.”

Stomp closes of his three-page letter with the statement that among the Bar Association’s objectives are the promotion of ethics and brotherhood among its members. “Your actions seriously damage these principles. In my role as Dean, I urgently ask you to refrain from further violating the rules that apply to attorneys and from damaging the honor of the reputation of the profession in St. Maarten.”

 

 

 

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