St. Maarten Court acquits gypsy of stabbing cab driver

POSTED: 03/25/11 12:08 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance acquitted gypsy cab driver Bernardo O.L.H., 28, of stabbing a cab driver on January 23 near the Caravanserai Resort for lack of evidence.

Judge Mr. M. Keppels ruled that the file did not contain enough evidence. “There is mention of a gypsy cab driver, of a car with an M-plate, of an actual number plate and of the defendant who admits that he had an argument with a cab driver. One plus one could very well be two, but in this case I do not find the proof in the dossier.”

A gypsy cab driver had an argument with a cab driver named Hughes near Caravanserai on January 23 over a passenger. When the cab driver walked to his car with the client, the gypsy came after him and stabbed him several times with a knife.

The defendant was summoned to the police station the same day, and he was arrested on the spot. That arrest was unlawful, defense attorney Mr. G. Hatzmann said, because at that moment there was no specific suspicion against his client. When H. asked to speak to a lawyer, police failed to phone the attorney on duty immediately.

Hatzmann said that these violations of his client’s rights ought to lead to the inadmissibility of the prosecution. On February 2, the judge of instruction already ruled that the statement H. made at the police station is not admissible as evidence.

Prosecutor Mr. M. Overmeer contested the attorney’s position, saying that the defendant had been detained because the license plate number of his car had been mentioned to police. “He admitted that he had an argument with a cab driver, and his rights were not violated intentionally. I will consider the fact that the attorney was informed too late in my demand.”

The prosecutor asked the court to declare the defendant guilty without imposing a penalty. Hatzmann maintained his plea to declare the prosecution inadmissible and, if that argument failed, he asked the court to acquit his client.

Judge Keppels rejected the inadmissibility-plea, saying that the judge of instruction had already ruled on the legality of the arrest. “But without his statement I do not arrive at a complete story. I do not find proof for the charges in the dossier and I acquit the defendant.”


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