Teenaged street robber gets a free pass on appeal

POSTED: 07/12/13 1:00 PM

St. Maarten – Jofelder Rafael Emmanuel got something out of his appeal against the verdict the Court in First Instance handed down in March for robbing a 66-year-old lady of her heirloom necklace and for threatening a 15-year-old girl with rape. The latter incident happened on October 23 of last year, but the Common Court of Justice acquitted the boy of the charge for lack of evidence.

The court sentenced Emmanuel to 22 months imprisonment in March, with 6 months suspended. The Common Court commuted the sentence yesterday to 22 months, of which 20 months are suspended.

The prosecution charged Emmanuel with stopping the 15-year-old girl in the street and telling her: “Yo, all of us are gonna hold you and put you in the car and rape you.” The Appeals Court ruled there is insufficient proof in the file to establish “that the threat was of such a nature that it could cause the girl to reasonably fear that she was indeed going to be raped.” The court also considered that the defendant made the threat in bright daylight on a public road.

However, the charge for the robbery stuck. On the morning of October 23 of last year, Emmanuel and a companion were driving down L.B. Scott Road when they spotted an elderly lady. Emmanuel got out of the car, walked up to her, said politely good morning and then ripped a gold necklace from the victim’s neck.

The victim told the police she had received the necklace thirty years earlier from her mother. She recognized Emmanuel as the robber in a photo confrontation.

The court ruled that the teenager is guilty of robbing “a defenseless elderly woman, by pulling a gold necklace from her neck. Such a robbery in a public space is a serious crime.”

The court considered the defendant’s age, his clean police record and the fact that he intends not to get in trouble with justice ever again and decided to make the largest part of the sentence conditional. Emmanuel already served the unconditional part of the sentence. With the help of his mother, he has taken steps to enroll in a study at the Albeda College in Rotterdam.


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