Court allows hearing additional witnesses in Bada Bing case

POSTED: 08/29/14 2:37 AM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance granted yesterday morning close to all requests defense attorneys made last week in the run-up to the Bada Bing bribery trial that is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2015. The court referred the case back to the Judge of Instruction for hearing witnesses the defense had asked for.

Judge Koos van de Ven dismissed the argument of public prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp, who said during the pro forma hearing last week Thursday that the defense should have notified the prosecutor’s office three days before the hearing about the witnesses they want to hear. “There is no such condition,” the judge said, “A pro forma hearing is designed to determine which witnesses still have to be heard.”

The court furthermore noted that the prosecution had asked for an adjournment of 46 minutes to study the defense-requests, and that the prosecutor had been ready after 14 minutes.

The court rejected requests from attorney Cor Merx to hear former Chief Prosecutor Hans Mos and brothel-owner Toochie Meyers. “Mos is unable to answer the questions the defense wants to ask,” Judge van de Ven said, adding that there is therefore no defense-interest in calling Mos – who returned to the Netherlands last year – to St. Maarten as a witness.

Brothel-owner Meyers is only able to make general statements about the prostitution industry, the court pointed out. “It does not appear that he is able to make concrete statements related to the accusations.”

The court ordered the prosecution to add the letter from the attorney general that gives the order to start the investigation to the dossier. It also approves hearing officers that have been working on the investigation against independent MP Patrick Illidge and Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel, in particular Franciscus Machielsen, an assistant accountant at the tax inspectorate.

Merx argued that Machielsen has been appointed as an extraordinary police officer, but that his mandate is limited to directing fiscal investigations. Judge Luijks said yesterday that Machielsen has written report in the Bada Bing investigation. Only recently, the Justice Ministry published a decree in the National Gazette containing the appointment of Machielsen as extraordinary police officer for the next three years. The appointment becomes effective per September 1 and, unless his previous appointment, has no limitations. During the Bada Bing investigation the accountant was however only authorized to direct investigations, not conduct them.

The Judge of Instruction will also hear the owner of an administration office that did the books for Bada Bing a couple that rented the building on the club’s current location to Van den Heuvel and a bouncer of the nightclub.

Judge Luijks sent the case back to the Judge of Instruction and adjourned the hearing until January 14. On that day, the court will determine the date for the actual trial.

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