Opinion: Heart-wrenching

POSTED: 03/30/15 12:51 PM

The verdict in the Dest-case that came down yesterday triggers the question whether it was all worth it. The defendant was the marketing manager of the Tourist Bureau and he was the one who pushed for the completion of the investigation against him.

The result is satisfying and disappointing at the same time. On the one hand, the prosecution got a guilty verdict. On the other hand, the judge told the defendant that he does not deserve any punishment. In the middle is Dest – with a career in shambles and five years of criminal prosecution headaches behind him.

His punishment? A one-day conditional sentence with a one-day probation period. In other words – no punishment at all. The real punishment is of course in the process that led up to this verdict.

In 2010, Dest was suspended after reports about irregularities at the Tourist Bureau. Director Regina Labega befell the same fate, but in December of that year, the suspension for both was lifted. Labega was promoted to managing director of the airport, while Dest fell by the wayside.

Battling health issues that do not need to be discussed in a public forum, Dest showed guts by forcing the prosecutor’s office to complete the investigation against him and to take him to trial.

It is hard to say whether Dest experienced yesterday as his finest moment. We can very well imagine bitterness and indignation after all the ruckus the investigation created.

Adding insult to injury, two other suspects – Regina Labega being the most prominent of the two – still have not been prosecuted. The investigation is not complete yet – meaning that the National Detective Agency found better things to do. A decision about prosecution simply hinges on the completion of this investigation.

As long as the national detectives keep busy with other cases Labega will never go to court and that seems unfair to Dest who was left to his own devices.

It is unsettling that old cases like this keep lingering, almost to the point where nobody cares about them anymore. It were better if the national detectives made some of these old cases a priority and got them out of the way. That way, everybody will be able to move on. The way things stand now, Labega and her co-suspect Coffi have to go through life as suspects in an investigation that may never be completed, and never be brought to court.

As heart-wrenching as the court ruling against Dest is, there is something not right about such a situation either.

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