Investigation at Prosecutor’s office

POSTED: 08/29/14 2:45 AM

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Dennis Richardson will consult with the chairman of the Law Enforcement Council– former Lt. Governor Franklyn Richards – about a possible investigation into the practice of class justice within the Public Prosecutor’s Office in St. Maarten.

The initiative follows on the heels of the court ruling in the Masbangu-case that revolves around selling and buying of votes before the 2010 elections. The Court in First Instance declared the prosecution inadmissible in this case and remarked in its ruling that, by not investigating the role of the United People’s party and its leader Theo Heyliger, the prosecutor’s office had called upon itself ‘the semblance of class justice.”

“I cannot allow that observation to stand without proper investigation,” Minister Richardson said at yesterday’s Council of Ministers press briefing. “It is my intention to consult with the chair of the Law Enforcement Council whether they are capable and prepared to carry out an investigation whether there is class justice in the Public Prosecutor’s Office in St. Maarten.”

Minister Richardson said that the class justice remark in the court ruling has “thrown a dark cloud over the prosecutor’s office.”

He dismissed statement made in the Netherlands suggesting that the situation at the prosecutor’s office is a matter for the Government of St. Maarten. “Just to keep the facts clear: the appointment of prosecutors is a Kingdom decision, not one that is solely taken by St. Maarten. Secondly, none of the public prosecutors that have served St. Maarten since 10-10-10 are of local descent.”

Richardson pointed out that the Justice Minister has no authority to give instructions to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in concrete cases. “For that, the minister would have to go to court and justify why he wants to give an instruction. If he cannot do that, it would be thrown out of court. In this case, however, the minister of justice had no reason to do this; however, accusing the Public Prosecutor’s Office of class justice calls to mind images that could undermine the functioning of our justice system.”


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