Ruling on request for release on February 20: King-killer suspect seeks freedom in appeals court

POSTED: 01/31/13 11:50 AM

St. Maarten –A large delegation of family and friends of the murdered American couple Thelma and Michael King flocked to the courthouse yesterday afternoon for the appeal hearing of Meyshane Kemar J., the main suspect in this murder case. The defendant’s attorney is seeking her client’s immediate release based on procedural mistakes made by the prosecutor’s office. The appeals court will announce its decision on the request on February 20.

Bibi Shaw, a writer for a local gossip web site was thrown out of the court room by police officers for violating courthouse rules. The court does not allow photography in the courtroom and when Shaw was ordered by a prosecutor in the public tribune to put her camera away, she refused whereupon a police officer ordered her outside.

Attorney Mr. Brenda Brooks appealed a decision by the court to declare the first summons for J. void with the objective to obtain het client’s immediate release. When J. was summoned to appear in court for the first time this year on January 10, the summons was served to him only days before the court date, while there is a legal requirement that a summons has to be served at least seven days before the court date. J. refused to waive this term, and he did not appear in court on January 10, whereupon the court declared the summons void. The same day, J.s summoned again, this time to appear in court on January 17. That day he did make an appearance.

When mr. F.J. Lourens, the presiding judge, asked J. why he had appealed the court decision, the defendant did not know what to say. “You got your way,” the judge pointed out. “You were not there on January 10 and the court ruled that you were right. Why did you appeal?”

J. – who has confessed to the murders to investigators – initially remained silent, then turned to his attorney, and finally said that his rights had been violated.

“But the judge agreed with you,” an exasperated judge Lourens said.

Solicitor-General Taco Stein said this is not a run of the mill case, but that J. is a suspect in the Ocean-case – the murder of Thelma and Michael King. “I do not see what the interest is the defendant has for this appeal. If there is no interest, the appeal must be declared inadmissible.” Stein noted that the defense attempted in a roundabout way to obtain J.’s release from preventive custody.

The solicitor-general pointed out that there is no legal basis for the appeal. He cited one of the conditions defendants have to meet for filing an appeal: “This is only possible for charges of which he has not been acquitted. For this reason alone the request has to be declared inadmissible.”

mr. Stein contested that the prosecutor’s office has no right to issue a new summons while the term for appeal against a court decision has not expired yet.

J.’s attorney Brenda Brooks said that her client does have an interest in the appeal and that she persists in requesting his immediate release.”

Family and friends of the murder victims attended the hearing, fearing that the main suspect in the killings would become a free man before his trial and that he would escape justice. They said that the American news broadcaster CNN is on standby in case such a decision would be taken.


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