No get out of jail card for gang leader JonesPOSTED: 07/15/15 10:18 PM
Conclusion attorney general Supreme Court
St. Maarten / The Hague – Attorney-general at the Supreme Court T.N.B.M. Spronken has concluded that the verdict against Omar Jones should be mitigated by three months because the court took too long to handle his cassation, by the rejected Jones’ attorney Benno de Boer’s demand to void the conviction. The Appeals Court in St. Maarten sentenced Jones in 2013 to 29 years and 9 months imprisonment.
De Boer’s argument to declare the verdict void was that a witness in St. Kitts (Omax Bye, the suspected killer of Jones’ brother Amador on April 16, 2011 – ed.) had not been heard as a witness. Kennedy Fergus, another potential witness, could not be found anywhere.
In November 2013, the Appeals Court noted that these witnesses – and four others – had not appeared as requested. Jones’ attorney Marije Vaders insisted that she wanted to hear them because their statement were used to establish the facts while it later appeared that there were discrepancies with statements made in court.
Bye was at the time detained in St. Kitts and the prosecution had filed a request for his extradition. Solicitor-General Taco Stein told this newspaper yesterday that this request was later withdrawn because it became “too complicated.”
Under St. Kitts law, the whole procedure against Bye should have been conducted in a court in St. Kitts whereby all the witnesses from the trial in St. Maarten would have had to testify, Stein explained.
Omar Jones shot at and wounded Kennedy Fergus during an attack on the life of Omax Bye on April 20, 2011, in Dutch Quarter. Fergus has since disappeared.
The Appeals Court asked the solicitor-general at the time to summon the witnesses and ordered that the police bring them in. However, the police did not find the witnesses on their last known address, and they did not appear voluntarily either.
In August 2013, Jones defense team told the Appeals Court that it wanted to go to trial in November of that year. “If everything has been done to hear the witnesses but it did not succeed, then it stops.”
Attorney-General Spronken concluded that the Appeals Court “apparently and understandably” understood from this remark that the defense no longer wished to hear these witnesses. The defense did not submit an explicit request to hear them either.
Spronken rejected the cassation of a second suspect, Daniel Thomas, who is serving 4 years for hoarding firearms on behalf of Omar Jones. His attorney Gerard Spong filed cassation because, in his opinion, Thomas did not know that by hoarding weapons and ammunition he facilitated drug dealing. Spronken concluded however that Thomas did know that objective of the organization, of which Omar Jones was the leader, was to commit crimes. He therefore rejected Spong’s argument – and the verdict against Thomas stands.