Car-specialist may go to prison for twelve monthsPOSTED: 08/29/13 12:41 PM
St. Maarten – Juan Rafaelin E. is apparently good with cars but that skill landed him behind bars and in the courthouse yesterday, where he had to answer to charges that varied from forging a bill of sale and stealing a car to stealing or fencing car parts on May 10 and May 28. Prosecutor Karola van Nie demanded 12 months imprisonment, keeping in mind that the defendant earned another conviction for burglary as recent as February of this year.
The 20-year-old supermarket employee made all kinds of statements to investigators and also in court yesterday and none of them were plausible, prosecutor Van Nie said. “His statements are not verifiable and he also changes his story. The file is screaming for an explanation. He has only one objective: to mask the truth.”
The prosecutor said that there is enough evidence for a conviction. “A car was stolen on May 28 and the following morning it was found completely stripped in Dutch Quarter. In the defendant’s car a printer was found that belonged to the owner of the stolen car.”
The defendant drove a car that had earlier been stolen on the French side. “It used to be orange, but it was repainted black. He must have known this was a stolen car.” The bill of sale and even the registration plates on the car were stolen. Also on May 10, the defendant was found in a car full of stolen car parts.
“All these facts have to do with cars. Car theft is a problem on this island. Cars are stripped, bills of sale are forged, and it is the only system we have,” the prosecutor said.
The defendant’s attorney Safira Ibrahim contested that her client had stolen car parts. On May 10 he went with another man to a place “in the bushes” where an already stripped car stood, she said. Attorney Ibrahim contested that her client had taken parts from the car: “they were already lying on the ground.”
mr. Janna Westra, who defended E. for the May 25-charge, said there is insufficient evidence in the file for a conviction. The only charge she did not contest was the forged bill of sale. For the other charges she asked the court to acquit her client.
Judge Koos van de Ven will pronounce his verdict on September 18.