Defendant put sins of his youth behind him

POSTED: 01/10/13 1:00 PM

St. Maarten – Eric Vladimir Arrindell may well serve as an example of a young man who has put the sins of his youth behind him. When a police officer served him the papers for yesterday’s court appearance, he told the defendant: “I thought you left the island because we have not seen you for a long time.”

And while the defendant has not left the island, he has indeed cleaned up his act. The reason? “I have two young children, your honor,” he told Judge Tamara Tijhuis.

Arrindell was not represented by an attorney, but he asked the court to proceed with the case because he wanted to put it behind him. The charges stem from July 20, 2010, when the defendant robbed an unknown junkie of the loot he had just collected by burglarizing a home.

The defendant told the court that there had been a fight with the junkie and that the latter had dropped a bag that later turned out to contain gold jewelry and a bank card.

But to the police, Arrindell and his co-perpetrator Shaquille Avery said that they saw the victim break into a house and that they had waited for him to come back out before robbing him.

Yesterday, Arrindell denied that he had taken goods from the victim’s pockets.

Judge Tijhuis noted that there is no documentation for the past two years, though the defendant has a criminal record with convictions for theft, destruction and attempted manslaughter.

These days, he is the father of two young children and he has a steady job in upholstery.

Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp considered the charge proven and noted that Avery had been sentenced to 8 months imprisonment for it, with 4 months suspended. “It does not make sense to send this defendant back to prison. He has not been at the police station for two years and that is an achievement. However, he will have to settle the bill for the past.”

Attorney Van der Wulp demanded an 8-month suspended prison sentence, with 2 years of probation and 100 hours of community service. Arrindell spent already 25 days in custody back in 2010.

Judge Tijhuis noted that the summons was not entirely correct and that there is no legal proof that the defendant used violence to commit the theft. “This does not mean that you did not do it, there is proof for the theft,” she said. “You are now walking a straight line and you are a good example for your children.”

Still, the judge also wanted Arrindell to settle the score, but she went below the prosecutor’s demand with a sentence of 200 days imprisonment, 2 years of probation and 60 hours community service. Of the sentence, 175 days are suspended.

The defendant accepted the verdict with a smile and said that the judge would never see him again. Because he also announced plans to move to the Dominican Republic, mr. Tijhuis quipped: “Be aware that they have judges there too.”

 

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