“The prosecutor’s office  is taking us for a ride”

POSTED: 09/16/15 10:15 PM

Attorneys incensed over treatment Son Latino suspects


St. Maarten– Criminal defense attorneys Geert Hatzmann and Cor Merx are incensed about the way the prosecutor’s office is dealing with the suspects it holds in detention for a burglary at the Son Latino nightclub.

When the police arrested the suspects at the airport, the day after the burglary, this newspaper called that a good job. At the same time, we wondered how investigators had managed to get on the trail of the suspects so fast.

Hatzmann and Merx now shed some light on this apparent miracle. The burglary took place on Monday night, August 24. The very next day, police arrested five suspects at the airport, of whom three are still in custody. One of them has Hatzmann as his lawyer, the other two are in the care of Merx.

“They caught two people at the airport carrying large amounts of money that they had not declared,” Hatzmann told this newspaper yesterday. They investigated the source of that money and thought it might stem from the Son Latino burglary.”

“My client was arrested,” Merx added. “They checked everyone on that flight to Santo Domingo. They found a woman traveling with $20,000, only because she had the same suitcase as my client and because they were apparently traveling together.”

A detective saw on August 28 video footage of the burglary and he wrote a report about it, Hatzmann says. But when we went to the Judge of Instruction and asked to see the video, prosecutor Lemmers said that the police was still busy with it and that she did not know when it would be available. You will hear when it will be available, she said.”

“The prosecutor’s office is taking us for a ride,” Merx says. “They have supposedly seen the suspects on a video but at the Judge of Instruction the video was not available. Then it is also not possible to keep my clients detained as suspects.”

Hatzmann and Merx are angry that the Judge of Instruction made his ruling based on the description of the video footage from the police officer’s report.

“The report mentions a short man and a slender man. Those descriptions don’t fit my client. That video is of crucial importance. We feel that the interest of the defense has been affected.”

Hatzmann spoke with the detective that handles the case and he told him that the plaintiff (Son Latino owner Garcia) has threatened one of the suspects.

Merx adds to this: “He has made death threats on Facebook and he has not been arrested. That man does not even know how much was taken from him. He speaks of $50,000, $70,000 and even $90,000. And now he puts $20,000 on the head of my client and the police are not doing anything.”

Hatzmann says the detective told him it is possible to file a counter complaint. “That counter complaint is not in the dossier and the plaintiff has not been arrested either. We did not get a single update about this situation. What disturbs me is that they announce those arrests with a lot of pooha and then they deal with the investigation this way. That is pure nonsense.”

Right now, the attorneys do not know when the case will go to the Judge of Instruction again. Merx has not heard anything about it: “and I am not going to a party when I am not invited,” he says.

Merx is the chairman of the section of criminal attorneys at the local bar association. “I won’t let them walk all over me. We are going to field fierce opposition and that goes at times with strong words.”

Merx is amazed that the detectives let the woman go who carried $20,000 in her suitcase. “It is quite possible that she has fled with the money from the burglary.”

The prosecutor’s office declined to react to the complaints. “We do not react to the positions of the attorneys. That belongs in the court room,” press officer Karola van Nie told this newspaper last night.

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