Vesuvius-trial continues in August

POSTED: 03/7/13 8:52 PM

St. Maarten – The appeal hearing for the seven suspects in the Vesuvius-trial will take place in the last week of August, the Common Court of Justice announced yesterday during a pro forma hearing where defense attorneys presented their final requests for further investigation. The court sessions took place at the Belair Community Center, the venue that was chosen last year October for the trial in First Instance as well.

The court planned another pro forma hearing for June 19. This session is a technical formality; on that day the court will postpone the trial until Monday August 26 and then the real appeal hearing will begin. Like for the trial in First Instance in October of last year, the court has reserved a whole week to deal with the cases against all defendants.

Security around the center was lighter than in October, probably because it was known beforehand that not all defendants would make the trip from the prison to Cay Hill. Ekran Morgan, Erno Labega and Andrew Davis were the only Vesuvius-suspects to appear before the judges. Omar Jones and Carlos Richardson, who are both serving a life sentence for a string of drug-trade related murders, opted to stay away, as did Daniel Thomas and Charles Fleming.

The court granted requests by attorney Brenda Brooks to hear several witnesses in the cases of Jones, Richardson and Thomas. For Thomas, the court allowed all four witnesses the attorney wants to hear at the Judge of Instruction. Among the witnesses that will be heard in the cases of Jones and Richardson are Richardson himself (in the case of Jones), Andrew Davis, Omax Bye, Kennedy Fergus and a by now 16-year-old girl. The court rejected six witnesses, mainly because the defense did not provide properly substantiate the requests. “The defense has had enough time to do this, given the fact that it was already known on December 10 that there would be a pro forma hearing today,” the court ruled.

The court also agreed, at the request of attorney Peggy-Ann Brandon, to hear Charles Fleming and another witness in the case of Erno Labega. Attorney Brandon also asked the court for a new reconstruction of the day of the attempted murder of Omax Bye and the attempted manslaughter on Kennedy Fergus, on April 20, 2011. The court left a decision about such a reconstruction up to the Judge of Instruction, after hearing the two requested witnesses.

The court granted a request of mr. Cor Merx, who acted for his confrere attorney Ralph Richardson, to appoint a telecommunications expert who will be charged with investigating the way cell phones beam their signal to transmission masts. The outcome of this investigation could benefit defendant Ekran Morgan who is accused of involvement in the murder of Hector Miguel Arrindell on May 25, 2011. Morgan claims that he was in Philipsburg that day and not in Cole Bay where the murder took place. The Court in First Instance sentenced Morgan because a transmission mast in Cole Bay picked up the signal from his cell phone around the time of the murder. At the trial in October, attorney Richardson referred to a case in the Netherlands that showed that these signals do not always go to the nearest transmission mast.

This newspaper asked UTS CEO Glen Carty yesterday whether it is possible to beam a signal to a transmission mast in Cole Bay from downtown Philipsburg, where Morgan claimed to be. “Only if you have a clear line in sight and the Philipsburg mast signal is weak. A cell phone will pick up the closest and strongest cell site.”

Attorney Merx also asked the court to provide video footage from two banks in Philipsburg that could prove the presence of his client there. Like the Court in First Instance, the appeals court rejected this request. “The banks keep video footage at most for six months and sometimes only for three months. It is useless to give an order to make this footage available.”

Andrew Davis, the Vesuvius-defendant who was stabbed nine times at the Simpson Bay House of Detention in January, appeared after the lunch break in court. Here, attorney Merx booked another victory, because the court granted his request to confront his client with police officers who allegedly practiced their structural observation skills on Davis at a time when there was no legal basis to use such a method.
The attorney said that in the second half of October 2011 Davis was approached by a man while he was playing a soccer game with the request if he could join the game. The man claimed to be an employee of Windward Roads. Davis soon noted that he was being followed and that his picture and pictures of his house were taken. Later he recognized the Windward Roads-employee as a detective.

mr. Merx objected on an earlier occasion with success against unlawful structural observation. This was in the bribery trial of politician Louie Laveist. Faced with real prison time, the appeals court overturned the Laveist sentence and made his prison term fully conditional based on the fact that he had been the subject of structural observation.

In the Davis-case, the Court in First Instance dismissed the notion that the defendant had been under structural observation.

The detectives involved in the case will now face Davis in front of the Judge of Instruction who will determine what really went down.

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Comments (1)


  1. Koen says:


    is this the Andrew Davis that was transferd to a prison in holland in 2012?