Court handles election fraud trial on Monday August 4

POSTED: 04/15/14 11:41 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance set Monday August 4 as the date for the election fraud trial yesterday during a pro forma hearing. In this trial, a representative of the United People’s party, Roy H., is accused of giving money in exchange for votes prior to the September 17, 2010 elections to Glinda Patricia W., Ashwin Rodney Wilfred M., Cernick Jan Lionel C. and Robert Charles Henry J.

Four of the five suspects appeared in court yesterday afternoon. Only Roy H. did not show up, but his attorney Eldon Sulvaran was present.

In February, the court severely criticized the investigation, saying that it was incomplete. Roy H. is accused of doling out money for votes on behalf of the UP, yet an investigation into the UP by the National Detective Agency concluded that neither the UP nor any other political party had bribed voters in 2010.

Prosecutor Maarten Noordzij asked the court yesterday to clear up this apparent contradiction by hearing three witnesses at the Judge of Instruction – UP-leader Theo Heyliger, Hannibal Gumbs and the policy advisor to Economic Affairs Minister Ted Richardson, Ludwig Ouenniche.

However, all attorneys objected to hearing these witnesses. “They have already been heard, I do not see the need to do this,” attorney Jenna Westra said. Other attorneys expressed similar objections.

The prosecution furthermore submitted a statement from Ademar Doran – head of the National Detective Agency – about the information he received for a review of documents. Solicitor-General Taco Stein submitted a statement from the attorney-general to the prosecutor’s office explaining why it took so long to bring the case to court. Specifics about this statement were not given in court yesterday.

Eldon Sulvaran, the attorney for Roy H. asked the court to hear police officers Lucie Cachet and Gerardus Lake. Sulvaran said it is possible that Cachet already started the investigation against his client before the attorney-general had given permission for it. He wants to hear Lake because the rights of his client may have been violated.

The court decided to reject the prosecution’s request. “Nobody sees the need to hear the witnesses the prosecution asked for,” Judge Koen Luijks concluded after an adjournment of three quarters of an hour. “The court expects little from these witnesses either.”

The court granted Sulvaran the right to hear officer Cachet at the Judge of Instruction. “It could be that the investigation began before permission was given,” Judge Luijks said.

He rejected the request to hear officer Lake, because according to the judge there is sufficient indication in the dossier that Roy H.’s rights were not violated.

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