Murder-suspects to Pointe Blanche, burglars sent home to make space

POSTED: 05/6/11 2:49 PM

Prosecutor’s Office awaits decision Justice Ministry on emergency plan

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – Dismissing rumors about the possible release of two murder suspects, the office of the public prosecutor sent a statement to the media yesterday to address the situation at the filled to capacity Pointe Blanche prison.

“Today the prosecutor’s office has sent the two suspects of the three recent fatal crimes and a number of violent robberies and rapes up to Pointe Blanche,” Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos wrote in the statement.

The suspects, S.R. (20) and C.A.R. (31), both from Dominica are suspected of the murders of Ludovic Guillevin on February 26, Foidel Louis and Emilio Nova Valdez, both on March 4.

Mos stated that the judge of instruction ordered on Wednesday that they would have to be incarcerated in the Pointe Blanche prison within 48 hours. “The judge decided that the third suspect in this case (J.B.S., 28 – ed.), who allegedly fenced the stolen goods from the violent crimes several times, was to be suspended from his the pre-trial detention. He was ordered to hand over his passport to prevent him from fleeing from his trial.”

Because the Pointe Blanche prison is full, the Public Prosecutor’s Office again had to take the decision to send two other suspects home to create space for the two murder suspects.

 

The two suspects (aged 29 and 31) who had to be released from their pre-trail detention were sent up only recently, Mos stated. The released men are both suspects in a burglary whereby they stole among other things a flat screen TV, phones and watches from a private house on March 31.

“Having to send them home is a major setback to the newly installed and very successful police team that copes with home burglaries,” Mos stated. “Yet due to the lack of prison cells, those who were arrested had to be sent home after 26 days, because the prosecutor’s office is unable to comply with the judge’s order to have them sent up to Pointe Blanche.”

Mos pointed out in his statement that the prosecutor’s office only has the authority to send suspects home who are in pre-trial detention and whose verdicts are not yet irrevocable. Once the judge has given the verdict and this is irrevocable, this prison sentence will have to be executed and cannot be overruled by a prosecutor’s decision.

Since March 1, the prosecutor’s office had to send 19 suspects home due to lack of prison cells at the Pointe Blanche detention centre.

 

Mos stated that the prosecutor’s office submitted plans to Justice Minister Roland Duncan in February designed to prevent the current situation. The prosecutor’s office suggested to the Minister to order that the new police cells at the police station be considered “as a place where pre-trial detention can be executed.”

At the moment this is prohibited by law, because these cells don’t have the formal status required for pre-trial detention.

The prosecutor’s office furthermore suggested “to grant detainees, who have been irrevocably convicted and who are closest to their early release date, grace for the rest of their term, but only when and if their place is needed to lock-up new pre-trail detainees.”

Inmates sentenced for serious crimes and repeat-offenders would not benefit from the grace-option, Mos stated.

“The Minister of Justice has not yet decided on these plans. Awaiting his decision the prosecutor’s office will be forced to send pre-trial detainees home due to lack of prison cells.”

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