Menace to society to jail for attempted burglaries

POSTED: 02/16/12 1:36 PM

St. Maarten – Attorney mr. Geert Hatzmann described his client Ereno Richardson as “a menace to society” in the Court in First Instance yesterday morning. The court sentenced Richardson, 52, to 9 months imprisonment for two burglary attempts on November 10 of last year.

During the first attempt, the lady of the house spotted the defendant fiddling with her front door in an apparent effort to gain entry. She started screaming and immediately went after the fleeing man. Her brother joined the chase, after hearing his sister’s screams and spotting the man in the garden. When the siblings caught up with him, they encountered a woman who said that Richardson had also attempted to break into her house.
In this second case, the daughter of the house spotted the defendant in the garage. When she went outside sporting a knife, Richardson fled.

Prosecutor mr. Dounia Benammar considered both charges proven and demanded 1 year imprisonment, given the fact that the defendant – who did not attend the trial – had another conviction to his name from August of last year” On August 17, Richardson was sentenced to 100 days imprisonment and 2 years of probation. Of the sentence, 77 days were suspended.
Attorney Hatzmann told the court that his client has been addicted to crack from anywhere between twenty and thirty years.
“I asked him, is it not time to do something about this? And he told me no, he was fine with his situation. He is a menace to society.”
All the same, Hatzmann thought the prosecutor’s demand “draconic.”
“I am not buying that,” he said, adding that he would plead acquittal for both charges.
Hatzmann said that in the first case, the brother had not actually seen his client fiddling with the front door; he had only seen him in the garden.
“There is no supporting evidence for the statement made by the sister.”

The second case whereby Richardson had been spotted in the garage lacks evidence that the defendant attempted to force his way into the house.
“Just being in the garage is insufficient to prove attempted burglary; maybe it qualifies as trespassing. There is no supporting evidence, and my client denies the charge,” Hatzmann said.
Prosecutor Benammar maintained that there is sufficient evidence; she contested that her demand was draconic, saying that the guideline for home burglaries is 6 months.
Hatzmann referred to the grenswisselkantoor-arrest that acquitted armed men who had been sitting in a car outside a border money exchange office of attempted robbery.
“As long as they were sitting in the car they were not beginning to execute the robbery. In the case of my client, the police should have fingerprinted the front door. I understand that the police have priorities, so this was not done. But then it is not on to demand one year.”
Judge Keppels ruled against the defendant.
“His presence in the garden and in the garage is sufficient,” she said. “On top the defendant has four pages of documentation,” – indicating that Richardson’s lengthy criminal record could hardly weigh in his favor.

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