Editorial: Death threats (MP Laville vs MP James)

POSTED: 06/13/12 1:20 PM

The stunt independent MP Romain Laville pulled on Monday night is rather unique in the political history of St. Maarten. His anger towards MP Jules James culminated in verbal threats to shoot and kill his adversary.

Now Laville has apologized in parliament, saying that it all happened in the heat of the debate. James understandably felt threatened and he filed a complaint at the police station.

What happens next is no longer under the control of James or Laville. The prosecutor’s office has the monopoly on prosecuting – and also on not prosecuting.

There is an interesting dilemma looming. Threatening to kill someone, as Laville admittedly did, is a criminal offense not taken lightly. It is in itself amazing that Laville has not been arrested – a fate that would befall most others who threatened to kill someone.

But now Laville has apologized and James has accepted this. Will Laville have to take his responsibility like any other citizen? In that case he is looking at a court case and a maximum prison sentence of two years.

If Laville is not prosecuted, others may very well start thinking that, when everything is said and done, the law is not the same for all citizens.

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