Conditional sentence for hit with shovel

POSTED: 01/20/15 8:04 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced 39-year-old Bert Bolan to a 3-month conditional prison sentence and 2 years of probation for hitting a man with a shovel on July 2, 2014.

The incident happened on Union Road in Cole Bay where the defendant had parked his work truck along the side of the road, apparently in such a way that traffic could pass by freely. His victim thought otherwise when he arrived in his car. He started shouting at Bolan, then came out of his car and hit him in his face. Bolan retaliated by hitting his attacker with a shovel.

That reaction had consequences: the shovel hit the victim’s elbow and fractured it in such a way that it will hinder the man for the rest of his life.

The victim was in court because he claimed damages for lost income to the tune of 6,053 guilders.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie considered the ill-treatment proven, based on the complaint, a medical report and witness statements. “This was not a matter of self-defense. The victim came out of his car and hit the defendant. But if somebody hits you it does not mean that you should hit back, and certainly not with a shovel. The defendant should not have done this.”

Van Nie considered the role the victim had played in the whole affair. “He was under the influence of alcohol and he sought the confrontation.” She demanded a 3-month conditional prison sentence with 2 years of probation and asked the court to mitigate the claim for damages to 2,000 guilders.

Attorney Shaira Bommel disagreed with the prosecutor and said that her client had acted in self-defense. “This has to result in dropping all charges.”

Bommel said that her client had walked away after the later victim had hit him, but that the man pursued him to the point where he could not get away from the situation anymore. “The victim sought the confrontation several times.” The attorney also asked the court to reject the claim for damages.

Judge Paulides found proof for ill-treatment with a weapon (the shovel) and dismissed the call on self-defense. “The method the defendant chose to retaliate is disproportionate.” The judge did consider the provoking role the victim had played.

She declared his claim for damages inadmissible because it is unclear from the salary slips the victim submitted what the difference is between his salary before and after the attack. The claim for immaterial damages was “unclear” the judge said. The victim will have to pursue his claim for damages in a civil procedure.

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