Rollocks urges parliament to pass new penal code

POSTED: 05/4/11 1:55 PM

Legislation needed against local Internet-terrorism

St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – Legal action against Internet terrorist Judith Roumou is bogged down by the current penal code. Julian Rollocks, who filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office because Roumou stole his information, invaded his privacy, defamed his character and impersonated him on a Facebook-page on January 20 of this year, says that parliament has to act to put the new penal code in place.

Roumou is facing increasing criticism from people who feel victimized by her Internet-activities. Roumou operates at least 37 different Facebook-pages, one Flickr-account and three web sites filled with raving rants against people like Rollocks, Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams, Jeffrey Richardson, Crastel Gumbs and a host of others. An American company is currently preparing a lawsuit against what a representative calls “the hate journalism of Internet terrorist Judith Roumou.”

Rollocks informed the prosecutor’s office in January that Roumou is using his Facebook-account and his hotmail-address illegally, that she changed the passwords and accessed his private email. “This contains very personal and private correspondence. She has posted many of these emails on the worldwide web for all and sundry to peruse,” Rollocks wrote to the prosecutor. “Not only is this damaging to my person, but also to parties with whom I corresponded and who – to their utter shock and horror – now find their private correspondence with me posted on the internet.”

Rollocks referred in his letter to the recent arrest of two young girls in the United States who faced felony charges for using a false Facebook account. He provided the prosecutor with Roumou’s phone number (523 34 93) and with copies of articles that appeared in this newspaper on three different dates in January about the topic.

Chief Prosecutor Mr. Hans Mos informed Rollocks a few days later that criminal law does not provide options to put an immediate stop to Roumou’s Internet-terrorism. “The procedure can be lengthy (with an appeal procedure it can take over two years), and the possible penalties or sentences will not be a real deterrent to the lady, when and if found guilty.”

Mos suggested that Rollocks follow the route of summary proceedings to demand an immediate stop to the abuse, supported by a penalty for non-compliance. “That will be far more effective than any criminal prosecution.”

Prosecutor Mr. Bart den Hartigh elaborated in a letter he sent to Rollocks on January 26 further on the matter. His statements make clear that, if injured parties wish to see an Internet-assailant like Roumou prosecuted under criminal law, they’ll have to wait until the parliament of St. Maarten approves the new penal code.

“The current penal code of St. Maarten does not have any provisions against hacking, stealing of information, impersonating a person or invasion of privacy. The draft of the new penal code does provide part of such legislation, but we are still awaiting its implementation,” Den Hartigh wrote.

Given this state of affairs, the prosecutor added, it is not possible for the prosecutor’s office to conduct a criminal investigation.”

However, he added, “Defamation of character or deliberate insult or offense can be punishable criminal offenses.” But, like chief Prosecutor Mos, den Hartigh indicated that the penalties for such offenses are light. “The code of criminal procedure also does not provide me with an opportunity to intervene in a way that will immediately stop such activities of a suspect.”

The prosecutor advised Rollocks to contact the Facebook abuse-desk, to change the password of his hotmail account and to remove all correspondence from the hotmail-server.

“If these actions are not sufficient, I advise to start a civil injunction supported by a penalty for non-compliance.”

Rollocks told this newspaper that he was unable to change the password for his hotmail-address because Roumou had not only changed his password but also his “secret question.” He started proceedings to take Roumou to court in summary proceedings, but dropped this line of action later on.

However, with the complaint that is now being prepared by an American company against Roumou, Rollocks may decide to join forces. In the meantime, Rollocks says, “our parliament ought to act, because this is a dangerous development. Today I and you are the victims, tomorrow it could be anybody else.”

 

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