Judge: “Court not bound by guidelines gun possession”POSTED: 03/9/15 7:01 PM
St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance offered a first glimpse at its position towards the guidelines Attorney-General Guus Schram recently issued for firearm possession. Basically, prosecutors in Curacao, St. Maarten and the BES-islands will demand the same (and higher) punishments for similar cases of gun possession.
“The court was not informed beforehand about the guidelines and that is not necessary either,” Judge Mauritsz de Kort said yesterday afternoon during the handling of a case against a suspect who had not bothered to show up in court and who was sentenced in absentia. “The court does not have to follow these guidelines because it has its own points of orientation. The court will look specifically in each case whether the demand can be considered reasonable.”
De Kort added that the attorney-general issued the guidelines to uniform its policy for all islands under its jurisdiction. “A judge is not bound by those guidelines, because he will consider which punishment is fitting in each case,” he said.
In the case at hand, Mickael Mauvais, a 26-year-old from the French side of the island was caught with a gun on August 24 of last year. Witnesses had reported seeing a man with a gun in a white car and police reacted to the report. Mauvais had quickly left the white car and stepped into a red vehicle. When officers searched the red car they found nothing, but when they looked in the white car, they found the weapon. Mauvais denied it was his, but to no avail.
Prosecutor Maarten Noordzij said that Mauvais is a repeat offender who had been sentenced in 2013 to 17 months with 5 months suspended. He demanded 18 months of imprisonment.
“In this case – a weapon in a car out on the street, and a repeat offender – I find the prosecution’s demand reasonable,” Judge De Kort said. He sentenced Mauvais accordingly.