Ekron M. faces 11 years, but attorney asks for acquittal

POSTED: 10/23/12 2:56 PM

St. Maarten – Attorney Ralph Richardson asked the Court in First Instance yesterday to acquit his client Ekron Sylvan Collin M. of all charges against him. M. is one of the seven suspects in the Vesuvius-trial, and the prosecution demanded 11 year imprisonment against him last week. He is accused of membership of a criminal organization and weapons possession and car theft. The prosecution also considers him an accessory to the murder of Miguel Hector Arrindell on May 25, but said last week there is not enough evidence to convict M. as an accomplice.

mr. Richardson, at 75 the oldest attorney involved in the Vesuvius-trial, noted that the prosecution speaks of two criminal organizations – one led by Omar J. and one led by Erno L. – but that it remains unclear of which gang his client supposedly was a member. “The prosecution is firing a shower of shot in the hope to hit something. It has to aim its arrows more precise so that we know against what we have to defend ourselves.”
The attorney contested the charge that his client acted as a go-between for Omar J. to organize drugs transports and that he facilitated the gang by spray painting stolen cars in a different color. “All police reports exude an odor of prejudice and a lack of objectivity,” he said. “The officers who wrote them judge as if they themselves are the court. The reports contain a whole series of observations that have not been made by the officers themselves.”
mr. Richardson said that the case file does not offer any indications for the presence of a structure or of close cooperation. “The only thing the file shows is that they (the alleged gang members – ed.) were often together. There are no indications that there were rules or that they had a common objective.”
The attorney added that in the district of South Reward everybody knows everybody. “That does not mean that they are all criminals.”

mr. Richardson asked the court to acquit his client of membership of a criminal organization. He asked the same for M’s alleged involvement in the murder of Hector Miguel Arrindell. “The basis for the charge is a statement by an anonymous witness and information from the criminal intelligence division. But not everything that is written in those CID-reports is true. Sometimes they are misleading. Several witnesses do not mention my client, and many witness statements are either hearsay or they are made up.”
mr. Richardson said that his client has an alibi for the time of the murder but that the man in whose company he was – Charles W. – did not want to get involved in the case. “In the getaway car no DNA-profile of my client was found and police have not found weapons with him either.”

The attorney also contested that M. had been an accessory to the murder. He said that investigators had requested telecom-data and that as an unrequested bonus they had received the actual content of text messages. “The prosecution explicitly needs an authorization for that, he said. “And because they don’t have it, the text messages have to be excluded from evidence.”
mr. Richardson even went one step further and asked the court to declare the prosecution inadmissible.
“In which way did my client facilitate the murder or made it easier to commit? He said. “My client did not act the way the prosecution wants the court to believe.”
As a last point, mr. Richardson contested the legality of the large-scale investigation team that was established for the Vesuvius-case. The island received assistance from detectives and officers from Curacao, Aruba and the Netherlands. “A request for assistance has to be done by the minister of justice and that did not happen,” mr. Richardson said.

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