Beggar could go to jail for 30 months

POSTED: 11/15/12 1:08 PM

St. Maarten – Ramon G. is looking at a 30-month prison sentence with3 years of probation for an attempt at extortion, theft of a cell phone and shoplifting. Of the demand, 12 months are suspended. Judge Tamara Tijhuis will pronounce her verdict on December 5.

On August 22, G. allegedly jumped into a car in front of Holland House on Front Street demanding $2 from the driver. When the victim said he had no money on him, G. forces him under threat with a knife to drive to the parking near the Greenhouse restaurant to find an ATM. There, the victim fled his car and asked a security guard to call the police.

The defendant, who made a confused impression, said that he had just asked the man for two dollars and that he himself had offered to drive to the ATM. “I was not under the influence of drugs, I was hungry,” he told the court.

Two days before this incident the 21-year-old defendant was caught at the Lovely Cosmetics store attempting to steal packages of hair. He’d also pocketed a bottle of perfume. The defendant said that it was all a misunderstanding and that he was just checking out the price of the merchandise. The prosecution also charged G. with the theft of a cell phone on May 3 of last year. That, too, was a misunderstanding, the defendant told the court. He had “borrowed” the phone from someone he did not know, then he “suddenly got in a hurry” and jumped on a bus.

Prosecutor Mr. Gonda van der Wulp considered all charges proven. “The extortion charge is the most serious one,” she said. “Getting off drugs on your own is not easy; you try to get your hands on money in all kinds of ways.”

Mr. Nerissa de la Rosa defended G. only on the first charge; for the two thefts the defendant opted to go without an attorney. “There is no proof for extortion,” Mr. De la Rosa told the court. “My client did ask for money. He is a beggar but there is no law against that. The attorney asked the court to acquit her client.

The defendant has quite a history. On June 8, 2010, he was the target of attempted manslaughter near the Jump Up Casino in Philipsburg. The man he accused of shooting at him, and hitting him in his right leg – a rapper known as crucial – was acquitted of the charges for lack of evidence. In January 2009, G. was sentenced to 24 months for his role in an armed robbery that took place in Sucker Garden on October 25, 2008. Of the sentence, 18 months were suspended. The appeals court later added 240 hours of community service to this sentence.


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