Prosecutor’s office loses appeal against release of armed robber

POSTED: 04/25/12 3:55 PM

St. Maarten– The public prosecutor’s office lost the appeal against the release of Leon G., a suspect in sixteen armed robberies and firearm possession. The suspect was handed over to the immigration department and deported to his native St. Kitts. Before his departure, the prosecutor’s office managed to serve him a court summons, but it is doubtful whether G. will ever return to stand trial. Let alone serve his sentence.

G. was released last week together with two others at the order of Judge of Instruction mr. Koen Luijks, because he had not been taken from the immigration detention center in Simpson Bay to Pointe Blanche to follow the day program. Attorney mr. Nerissa de la Rosa successfully pleaded for G.’s release at the Judge of Instruction last week; her colleague mr. Brenda Brooks handled the appeal.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan bemoaned the judge’s decision, saying that it does not take into account the impact on society. Chief Prosecutor Mos agreed: “The price the Judge of Instruction is placing on these violations of detainees’ rights is high, too high. A year ago we still had suspects spending 80 days in a police cell. They got a month sentence reduction for every week they spent too long in a police cell. That was reasonable. We are not in a position to ignore a court ruling, so we had to let him go. But my office will do everything that is legally possible to prevent this from happening again in the future.”

Judge of Instruction Mr. Koen Luijks ordered yesterday the release of yet another inmate, Vanty W., who was detained after police found 166 kilos of marijuana in his van at the parking lot of Le Grand Marché.

The suspect was detained by a court order of April 5 that was executed on April 9. The order stated that W. had to be placed in a House of Detention within two times 24 hours, otherwise he would have to be released immediately.

The Judge of Instruction used basically the same considerations as in the previous cases. W. was held at the police station for ten days; from last Friday he was at the immigration detention center in Simpson Bay.

Prosecutor mr. Gonda van der Wulp’s explained to the judge that W. had not been taken to Pointe Blanche to follow the day program because of the riots in Simpson Bay. The judge rejected the argument, saying that the riots lasted only a part of one day while the suspect had not been taken to Pointe Blanche during a period of ten days.

The judge noted that the defendant should have been released on April 11. Because this did not happen, he ordered W.’s immediate release.


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