Man gets community service for ill-treating his wife

POSTED: 02/17/12 12:44 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Dwain Sylvio Meyers to a 4-month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation for ill-treating his now ex-wife on June 20 of last year. Meyers also has to do 120 hours of community service.

Meyers got into a heated argument with his then wife because she wanted to go out to Tantra.  In the argument, that occurred around nine thirty in the evening, he grabbed the woman by her throat, threw her against a cupboard and then dragged her across the bedroom floor by her hair. He also ruined a pair of the victim’s jeans.

That’s about where the 10-year marriage ended. The woman was left with read imprints of her husband’s hands on her neck.

After she filed a complaint at the police station, Meyers was arrested on June 22. Three days later he was released. In the meantime, the woman had been back to the station to withdraw her complaint, only to hear that this was no longer possible because the file was already on the prosecutor’s desk.

Judge mr. Monique Keppels noted that the ill-treatment took place in front of the couple’s three small children.

Prosecutor mr. Manon Ridderbeks acquitted Meyers of threatening his wife, because there was no supporting evidence for the complaint that he had done so. “It is reprehensible that all this took place in front of the children. If they see violence at home they tend to use violence themselves later on in life. This is the example the defendant gave to his children.”

The prosecutor noted that domestic violence is a big problem in St. Maarten. “Women seldom file a complaint and if they do they often come back later to withdraw it. We encourage women to file a complaint to send a signal to the community that this is not acceptable.”

The prosecutor demanded a 4-month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 120 hours of community service.
Meyers’ attorney mr. Shaira Bommel said that the divorce has been settled and that the couple has made agreements about the upbringing of and the care for their children. “They have looked for a solution in a mature way.”

mr. Bommel said that the plaintiff had started swearing at her husband during the argument and that he had only held her off. “Maybe he used a bit of force, but this was not ill-treatment. They are on speaking terms again and the plaintiff has also been to the police station to withdraw her complaint.”

The attorney said that there is no proof for ill-treatment and asked the court to acquit her client.

Judge Keppels concluded differently. “The ill-treatment and the destruction of the pair of jeans are both proven. The plaintiff had scores in her neck; that is ill-treatment.” She followed the prosecutor’s demand.

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