Perjury punished with community service

POSTED: 02/14/13 12:37 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced a 20-year-old girl to a 6-month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 80 hours of community service for lying under oath to the Judge of Instruction on August 15, of last year. The girl was heard as a witness in the Vesuvius-investigation against Carlos Richardson and Omar Jones. Asked whether a weapon she had seen in Richardson’s possession, the girl told the Judge of Instruction that this had been a pellet gun and not a real weapon.

She told the court that she had lied fearing repercussions if she told the truth. Prosecutor Tineke Kamps said that she understood the defendant’s reasoning up to a point. “This is a serious crime that usually carries high penalties.”

The prosecutor demanded 9 months imprisonment, with 3 months suspended, 2 years of probation and 120 hours of community service.

At the request of attorney Brenda Brooks the court allowed to hear the part of her plea that dealt with the girl’s motivation to lie behind closed doors. In the open court session, the attorney said that the prosecutor’s demand was very high; she asked the court for a conditional sentence.

Judge Tamara Tijhuis noted that perjury undermines the system. On the other hand she considered that then girl had been just 19 when she perjured herself. “You were not adult enough to realize what you were doing,” the judge said, before accommodating the defense with a completely suspended sentence..


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