Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte: “We have no reason to lie to the public”

POSTED: 10/17/11 11:48 AM

St. Maarten – “We have no reason whatsoever to lie to the public. On the contrary. But sometimes we withhold information in the interest of an investigation because it is something only the perpetrator knows.”
Chief Commissioner Peter de Witte was, to say the least, not amused when he read an editorial in Saturday’s edition of The Daily Herald about two recent murders, which contained lines like, “Why did the police deliberately lie to the public on both occasions?” and “Lying is a most unreliable tool in the fight against lawlessness and criminality (…), not only because such behavior is reprehensible, but because (….) such unpardonable reckless handling of the truth spawns a lack of trust and serves only to undermine the public’s confidence in the men and women in blue.”
The editorial questions information the police released about the September 23 murder of businessman Mark Deygoo, as well as the information it gave about the murder of Michael Grainville last Sunday in Maho.
But did the police indeed claim that in the Deygoo case the victim had not sustained life-threatening injuries? De Witte: “On the crime scene there was one bullet wound visible, and that was in the victim’s hand. There was a lot of blood on his face. Police spokesman Inspector Ricardo Henson told reporters that there was uncertainty, that the victim was taken to the hospital and that he hoped it was not serious.”
In the case of Michael Grainville, who was found bleeding to death in Maho last week Sunday, the doctor who was on the scene did not immediately see any signs of violence, something that has baffled many people because it later turned out that the Frenchman had been shot in the chest.
De Witte: “The doctor came to the scene and established that the victim has passed away. He did not immediately see signs of violence, but he could not establish a cause of death. That is why we always confiscate the body in such situations. The autopsy was done on Thursday and when we received the results we communicated them.”
While many people find it hard to believe that a bullet wound is not immediately visible, especially because the father’s victim claimed in an interview that his son had been shot with a 9 mm bullet, De Witte explained certain circumstances of the case we are not allowed to publish in the interest of the investigation.
Those circumstances however, make clear that it is indeed possible to miss indications of violence. This is why, De Witte repeated, an autopsy was done because the doctor was unable to establish a cause of death.
The chief commissioner confirmed that, as spokesman Henson stated in a press release, Grainville was shot with a “very small caliber” bullet. Based on the press release and the commissioner’s confirmation, it is therefore highly likely that the killer did not use a 9 mm weapon, as the victim’s father claimed.

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