Fight with girlfriend ends badly: 80 hours of community service

POSTED: 09/13/12 1:17 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced 39-year-old Christopher Anthony Dunkley to a 2-month conditional prison sentence and 80 hours of community service for ill-treating his girlfriend Kimberley Z. in the night from June 1 to 2. There was a bitter confrontation between prosecutor Dounia Benammar and defense attorney  Shaira Bommel when the latter launched a fierce attack on the victim’s credibility.

mr. Bommel wanted to establish that the victim has a history of lying; she submitted two statements of acquaintances of the victim to substantiate this claim. To further discredit the victim’s credibility, the attorney said: “She works at the St. Maarten Medical Center and a couple of months ago she distributed confidential medical information about my client’s wife. The hospital is considering taking steps against her. Previously she worked at the cabinet of the governor and there she also leaked confidential information.”

That’s when prosecutor Benammar shot out of her chair, saying: “This is going too far. The victim is unable to defend herself against these allegations. If the defense wants to do this it should have heard the victim as a witness.”

mr. Bommel maintained that she is able to back up the allegations.

The defendant and the victim started a fight after a visit to a couple of nightclubs in the victim’s room at the Caravanserai resort. The victim claimed later that Dunkley had pushed her hard against a mirror in the bathroom whereby she sustained injuries to the back of her head and that he had later grabbed her by the throat, almost suffocating her.

Dunkley wanted the court to believe that the woman had been the aggressor and that he had attempted to get away from her. In the process, he claimed that she had ripped his shirt. A security guard at the resort states to police that the defendant’s shirt was in one piece when he eventually left.

Prosecutor Benammar conceded that the statements of the victim and the defendant differed. “The plaintiff says that the defendant used violence against her and he says that she is a comedian who does all kinds of things to herself.”

One of Dunkley’s claims was that the victim had inflicted strangulation marks on her own neck.

Prosecutor Benammar stuck to the objective evidence: the medical report and the statement by the security guard. She took into account that the victim had sought the confrontation and that she had threatened Dunkley to reveal their relationship to his wife.

mr. Benammar demanded a 3-month suspended prison sentence with 2 years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

mr. Bommel noted that the victim had left Caravanserai after the alleged ill-treatment and that she had driven straight past the police station in Simpson Bay to go to her client’s home. “Apparently the injuries were not that bad,” she said, adding that the woman had never cried out for help to the security guard.

After the clash with the prosecutor about the victim’s reliability, mr. Bommel noted: “I think she has problems.” She said that the victim’s statement is not sufficient as legal and convincing evidence and that the security guard had not seen a single injury on the woman. “We have to be careful with the victim’s statement. It is unclear what went down there.”

Judge Tijhuis ruled that the position that the victim’s statements are unreliable carries insufficient weight against the evidence consisting of the medical report and the accompanying pictures. “There is enough to support the victim’s statement, while the defendant’s statements are not always consistent,” she said.

The Judge took into account the actions by the victim and her angry state of mind. “You had a fight and you used violence. That is ill-treatment and you should not have done that,” the judge told Dunkley.

Did you like this? Share it:
Fight with girlfriend ends badly: 80 hours of community service by

Comments are closed.