Two women sentenced for fighting pregnant adversary

POSTED: 01/31/13 11:37 AM

St. Maarten– An encounter between Aisha Latoya Londie van Putten, her friend Esmeralda Clarine Arrindell and a women with whom van Putten still had a score to settle, ended in an ordinary street fight in front of the Tropicana Casino in Simpson Bay on September 28 of last year. The pulling, pushing, the kicking and beating did not sit well with the Court in First Instance, where by Judge Tamara Tijhuis sentenced 28-year-old Van Putten to134 days with 90 days suspended, 3 years of probation and obligatory supervision by the Rehabilitation Bureau; “This is not the way to solve problems,” Judge Tijhuis told the defendants at the end of the hearing.

The fight started outside the casino with an exchange of insults before it became physical. The victim, a 6.5-month pregnant woman who has seriously injured Van Putten in 2011 by stabbing her, told police that her attackers had grabbed her handbag, emptied its contents on the street and had stolen her cell phone and her wallet containing $280.

Van Putten said that since the stabbing the victim keeps looking for confrontations with her. She spent 44 days behind bars after the fight; Arrindell spent 68 days in a cell.

Prosecutor Dounia Benammar said that there is insufficient proof for grave ill-treatment, but she considered committing public violence proven. She charged Arrindell with stealing the victim’s cell phone. Both women have criminal records, the prosecutor pointed out.

The prosecutor demanded 6 months and 44 days imprisonment against van Putten with 6 months suspended, 2 years of probation, 120 hours of community service and obligatory supervision by the rehabilitation Bureau. Against Arrindell she demanded 5 months and 68 days, with 5 months suspended, 2 years of probation and 90 hours of community service.

Van Putten’s attorney Shaira Bommel said that four people had been involved in the fight (the two women, the victim and her boyfriend). “They all have their own story about what happened. It is unclear what happened but it seems that both parties have sought the confrontation because of past history whereby my client was seriously injured.

The attorney said that her client lost her spot in a government training course for unemployed citizen, but that she had found a new job in the meantime. She asked the court for a punishment equal to time already served with optional community service.

Arrindell’s attorney Brenda Brooks said that the victim had sought the confrontation. “If this is public violence all four should be on trial,” she pointed out. She asked the court to acquit her client because “there are enough reasons to doubt the inconsistent statements of the victim.”

Judge Tijhuis acknowledged that there were two opposing stories involved. While she found no proof for serious ill-treatment, she concluded that there is enough evidence for committing public violence. “I take the past history into account, but also the fact that the victim was pregnant. You are both mothers, so you ought to understand the relevance of it.”

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