Contact-ban for aggressive father

POSTED: 12/21/14 11:59 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Rudolfo Gumbs to 8 months of imprisonment for threatening and ill-treating his wife on October 19. Of the sentence, 4 months are conditional and the court imposed 3 years of probation. Judge Rick Smid furthermore gave Gumbs a contact-ban: “You are not going back to your wife and you will have no contacts with her.”

The case was in court earlier in November, but then the case was adjourned to await a report about the 43-year-old defendant. Rehab-center Turning Point reported that Gumbs refused to cooperate with treatment for his alcohol and drugs addiction and for anger management training.

Gumbs threatened his wife with a knife and hit her several times with his fists in her face. He also kicked her and grabbed her by the throat.

The defendant denied everything, saying that his son had told on him and that the kid has no respect for him. When Judge Smid quoted from a statement Gumbs had made to the police about the ill-treatment, he denied he ever said what the report claimed.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie considered the charges proven, based on the complaint, the medical report and the acknowledgement by the defendant that he had a fight with his wife. The family’s young son called for help and this person later brought two knives he had found in the house to the police.

“The defendant has a problem with alcohol, drugs and aggression, Van Nie said. “He refuses treatment at Turning Point and he says that the problems are caused by his son’s behavior.”

Van Nie did not buy that story and said that it is very well possible that the way his father behaves causes his son’s behavior. “The little boy was crying when he was at the Rehabilitation Bureau. He asked them not to release his father, because then he would beat his mother again.”

Van Nie demanded 8 months of imprisonment, with 4 months suspended and 3 years of probation.

Attorney Aernout Kraaijeveld told the court that he heard for the first time that his client refused treatment by Turning Point. “I have the feeling that my client is falling through the cracks and that nobody is interested in what is happening to him.”

Kraaijeveld asked the court to acquit his client, because there is no supporting evidence for the verbal threat he allegedly made against his wife. He noted that his client denies the charges.

The attorney furthermore questioned the statement the defendant’s son had made at the Rehab bureau: “It is possible that he chose to confirm his mother’s story. She was sitting right next to him when he said that.”

The injuries the victim sustained are possibly “the result of something else,” Kraaijeveld suggested. He asked the court to acquit his client, who became visibly nervous and stressed when Judge Rick Smid prepared to render his verdict.

“The report from the rehab bureau speaks about the fear the child has for the violence of his father,” the judge noted. He considered the charges proven and sentenced Gumbs accordingly.

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