Court rejects Wifol’s challenge (Simpson Bay Resort)

POSTED: 04/19/12 12:46 PM

No proof of de Haan’s prejudice

St. Maarten – The challenge board rejected a request by Wifol-attorneys mrs. Maarten Le Poole and Wim van Sambeek to remove Common Court of Justice Judge mr. Jurjen de Haan from the bench yesterday. The board found no evidence that the judge is prejudiced against Wifol and that he therefore should not be involved in a request by the Simpson Bay Resort to freeze the April 2 court ruling that ordered the company to abide by the collective labor agreement its predecessor Pelican Resort signed with the union.

mr. Le Poole stated in an email to this newspaper that he is disappointed about the ruling.
“The reality is that a request to challenge is seldom granted. However we do not regret that we made the challenge and we will have to live with the result.”
The request to freeze the April 2 court ruling will now probably be heard tomorrow in a teleconference session with the Common Court in Curacao.
The members of the challenge board – resident judges Keppels, Thierry and Luijks – noted in their ruling that judges have to be considered impartial based on their appointment to the bench, “unless there is an extraordinary circumstance that presents a serious indication (…) that a judge is prejudiced towards a party or a point of view in the case, or that this party has a justifiable and objective fear that this is so.”

The challenge board did not find facts or circumstances that suggest prejudice on the side of Judge de Haan towards Wifol.
The board also found objective justification for Wifol’s fear that Judge De Haan is prejudiced. The union based its concerns on the fact that Judge de Haan was also part of the court that ruled against Wifol on November 4 and November 7 of last year. But according to the challenge board there are no indications for prejudice.
The board also ruled on Wifol’s complaint that Judge De Haan had not reacted to its request to excuse himself from the case. That request was made some days before the court hearing last week Friday to avoid the need for an embarrassing challenge in open court.
“Wifol could deduct from the fact that the judge took part in the investigation in court on April 13 as a member of the court-combination that the judge saw no reason to honor Wifol’s request.”
The board ruled that this refusal does not lead to “a justified fear of prejudice.”

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