Supreme Court rules on Laveist-case in October

POSTED: 09/7/11 1:34 PM

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – The Supreme Court in The Hague will rule on October 25 on the cassation of National Alliance party parliamentarian Louie Laveist, his attorney Reinold Groeneveldt confirmed yesterday in answer to a question from this newspaper.
Groeneveldt said that the procurator general has already concluded, but that this document is not public. “The Supreme Court will take a decision about it on October 25,” he said.
On February 11 of last year, the Appeals Court found Laveist guilty of bribery. He was sentenced to a six-month conditional prison sentence, a 5,000 guilder fine and a 3-year ban from office.
The sentence was a partial victory for the defense because solicitor general mr. A.C. van der Schans demanded a 24-month prison sentence with 9 months suspended, 3 years of probation and a 5-year ban from office.
In 2009, the Court in First Instance sentenced Laveist to 18 months imprisonment, with 9 months suspended, a 5,000 guilder fine and a 5-year ban from office.
The court acquitted Laveist of forging minutes of a Culture Club Foundation board meeting, and of defrauding the Antillean co-financing organization Amfo to the tune of 22,750 guilders ($12,640). It also acquitted the former Commissioner of employing an illegal hairdresser in Barbershop 2.
However, the court considered proven that Laveist had accepted an airline ticket for a flight to Canada from A. Bembo or Bemal enterprises, and a $6,000 check for his Culture Club Foundation from Bargains Unlimited in exchange for several work permits.
When Laveist stood before Judge Smid in April 2009, he had this to say: “I know deep down that I am not a criminal. I also know that St. Maarten knows I am not a criminal. Yet an arrest team of seven people came to arrest me, as if I am a serial killer. All my good work is down the drain because somebody thinks that I collect money for work permits. I have never accepted a dime in my life. I am stunned and shocked, and I have no idea why I am here, or why I am charged with defrauding Amfo. I know what is right and what is wrong. I wrote the law on human smuggling, and I would never break immigration laws.”
Laveist’s First Instance verdict dates back to April 28, 2009. After the Supreme Court ruling in October, it will be irrevocable.
The Laveist-investigation started in October 2008. He was arrested on October 22 at his home in Cole Bay. Two days later the Judge of Instruction extended his detention by eight days. Aitchen R., an assistant of the former Commissioner of Labor was also arrested. He was charged with taking bribes, but in the end he was never prosecuted.

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