Restaurant-owner remains jailed for eight more days

POSTED: 09/23/14 9:57 PM

St. Maarten – The Judge of Instruction extended the detention of the 75-year-old owner of Toppers restaurant by eight days yesterday. Last week police visited the restaurant in Simpson Bay and found a handgun and ammunition for which the owner, H.A.D., did not have a permit.

The court in Philipsburg has over the years handed down a variety of sentences for illegal firearm possession. In general, sentences for business owners were more lenient than those for individual citizens.

In 2006, an Australian sailor was caught with two handguns and two shotguns on his boat, as well as with 2,000 rounds of live ammunition. He received a $5,000 fine. In the same year, a 62-year old St. Maartener was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, but 9 months were conditional.

In April 2012 Jacques de Castro, who was a manager at Robbie’s Lottery in Cannegieter Street at the time, received a 12-month conditional prison sentence and a 1,500 guilders ($835) fine fur the presence of a handgun in his desk drawer.

In February of last year Fahdi Hasbani, owner of the Harley Davidson story on Cole Bay, was sentenced to a 1-year conditional prison sentence and a 2,000 guilders (a bit more than $1,100) fine. The firearm in this case was found in a home Hasbani leased to a Venezuelan man who was arrested for money laundering.

In 2011, the owner of a garage in Madame Estate was sentenced to an 18-month conditional prison sentence for gun possession.

Last year, as a side-effect of the Bada Bing bribery case, businessman Mella Slujalkowsky was caught with a firearm in a home in Pointe Blanche he leased from bribery-suspect Patrick Illidge. He spent 34 days behind bars and was let off the hook with a 394-days sentence of which 360 days were suspended.

For others, illegal firearm possession has ended in general worse. The standard sentence is 12 months imprisonment. In 2012, a 26-year old was hammered with a 2-year prison sentence for double gun possession.


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