Slap on the wrist for filing false complaintPOSTED: 06/27/13 3:25 PM
St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced a 53-year-old woman yesterday to a 4-week conditional prison sentence and 2 years of probation for filing a false complaint against her alcoholic and abusive husband on August 7 of last year. The woman admitted in court that she had lied to the police when she told them that her husband had threatened to shoot her with a firearm.
“I try to avoid him as much as possible,” the defendant told the court about the current domestic situation. “He promised he would undergo treatment for his bad temper. Once he mentioned to me that he would get a weapon and shoot everybody. He also drinks a lot.”
Judge Tamara Tijhuis wondered if it would not be better for the defendant to leave her husband.”I want him to go into counseling and I want him to treat me better,’ the woman said.
Prosecutor Tineke Kamps noted that unfortunately there is a lot of domestic violence on the island. “That leads to unsafe situations at home and that is what we are dealing with here.”
The prosecutor said she wished that the defendant were strong enough to stop the abuse from her husband.”But not this way. The consequences of filing a false complaint are significant. It gave the police more authority to search your house and your husband was detained on suspicion of firearm possession and threat.”
The prosecutor demanded 4-month conditional prison sentence with 2 years of probation and 120 hours of community service.
Judge Tijhuis considered the charges proven, “in spite of the reasons you had for doing this.” The judge said that false complaints “undermine the whole system” and that it also harms the person that is being falsely accused. But because the judge appreciated that the woman had acted from a position of feeling powerless she handed down a sentence below the prosecutor’s demand whereby she also dropped the community service.