Trial adjourned until March 25: Young murder suspect stays at Ms. Lalie your care center

POSTED: 01/20/15 8:08 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance adjourned the trial against 17-year-old Shimano G. yesterday to March 25. The boy shot 28-year-old Etienne Leblanc on October 9 of last year in his father’s Flex-DVD store on Front Street.

The adjournment is at the request of the prosecution and, according to youth prosecutor Karola van Nie, in the best interest of the young defendant who is currently one of the residents at the recently opened Ms. Lalie youth care center in Cay Bay.

Van Nie told the court that the defendant is in a somewhat diminished state of accountability and that it is important to keep him at the center for a longer period for observation. “That is necessary for a balanced judgment.”

Attorney Remco Stomp asked the court to lift or suspend his client’s pretrial detention. “He has been detained since the beginning of October. His father was being robbed and he stood up for him. This was a self-defense situation.”

Stomp said that his client had been accused of robbing a necklace from someone on the French side and that the victim had come to the store to reclaim it. “They came looking for him, they sought the confrontation,” he said. “It is unlikely that my client will receive an unconditional prison sentence.”

Prosecutor Van Nie objected to the young man’s release and noted that the victim had not come to the store with a weapon. “There is no support from witness statements for self-defense,” she said. The defendant shot his victim three times, once in his back.”

Van Nie added that the defendant’s initial statement to the police did not find support in the dossier. Confronted with the findings of the investigation, the defendant opted to exercise his right to remain silent. Yesterday Stomp said that his client was prepared “to tell the real story to the judge.”

The prosecutor was not buying it: “We are talking about murder or manslaughter here,” she said. “It is in his interest to adjourn the case. As a youth prosecutor, I want to consider his development. Otherwise he would be facing a long prison sentence and be heading for Pointe Blanche.”

Judge Paulides adjourned the case to March 25 and rejected the requests to lift or suspend the boy’s pretrial detention.

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