The Triangle Saba believe it is important to inform you as a result of an incident on September 24th, 2013 which has lead to the detention of a suspect who in first instance reportedly was involved with a collision on Saba.
The Triangle comprises the Island Governor, Mr. Johnson, the Chief Prosecutor, Mr. van Delft and the Chief of Police, Mrs. Buitink.
The Triangle is responsible for the integral safety on the concerned island. So also on Saba.
The Caribbean Netherlands Police Force (KPCN) is tasked with the maintenance of public order and safety and the criminal enforcement of the rule of law.
Once the KPCN acts in relation to the enforcement of criminal law this falls under the authority of the Public Prosecution Office BES. In the event KPCN acts in connection with the maintenance of public order and safety this falls under the authority of the concerned Island Governor.
In the Triangle, The Chief of Police BES can be represented by the Chief of Police of Saba, and the Chief Public Prosecutor can be represented by a Prosecutor.
The incident of Tuesday September 24th
As result of a call regarding a collision whereby driver left the scene without making known his identity, the police on Saba went to the scene. Note herewith that the Police Force on Saba does not have day and night uniformed patrol, this in relation to the scale of the police team related to the number of incidents.
Instead, police officers run picket. Picket means, in principal not present at the station, but at home available on call.
Similarly in the evening hours of September 24th.
Three police officers in civilian clothing have, as the result of the aforementioned call, started an investigation on location. One of the three officers had picket, the other two police officers did not, but they rode along with the concerned colleague. These two police officers were dressed in sport clothing because they just came from the gym. In order to respond quickly to the call they did not change their clothing.
In the media it was stated that the police came to the scene because the counterparty (the owner of the parked vehicle) is of Bonairean origin. There would be a relationship with the three seconded Bonaire police officers. The Triangle firmly distances itself from this statement. At the moment of the call the three police officers did not know who the owner of the vehicle was. The KPCN responds regardless to who the person is making the call. Whether it regards Sabans, Bonaireans or other population groups, that does not matter. Later it incidentally appeared that the parked vehicle was registered in the name of a Saban.
The Policy of KPCN is that police officers are allowed to wear civilian clothing during picket. This has to do with the urgency of calls and the time associated with getting there. They must however, for the recognition, wear a vest with ‘politie” on this and must carry with them a police ID (in the form of an ID-card). The KPCN knows no badges (such as in the United Stated of America).
In this case the three police officers were not wearing a vest, and were therefore not directly recognizable as police officers. Therefore they did not handle in accordance with police regulations. However, they did have a valid ID card with them.
As a result of the investigation on the scene the three police officers went to the address of the driver who was reportedly involved in the collision. Before entering a home without permission of the resident a special written authorization is required from the (assistant) Prosecutor. Before entering a yard no authorization is required. The police declare that the home was not accessed.
After the concerned driver opened the door the officers clearly holding ID cards issued by the department spoke with the driver.
Thereafter follows a situation which is qualified by the police as an attempt at manslaughter and/or threat. For this, the concerned, according to the written police report, was the suspect with respect to attempted manslaughter and/or threat. He was held and brought to the station.
There, in accordance with the law, he was brought before an assistant Prosecutor of the KPCN who evaluated the legality of the arrest. Afterwards the suspect was held for hearing and the following day, September 25th, in the interest of the investigation the detention was prolonged by the assistant Prosecutor for the legal term of two days.
The Public Prosecution Office extended the detention per September 27th because further investigation was necessary. Also on September 27th the suspect’s detention was evaluated by an independent judge, the examining judge. This judge found that the procedures were legitimate in accordance with article 89 of the Wetboek Strafverordening BES.
On September 30th (so after 6 days) the suspect was released on the order of the Public Prosecutor of the Prosecutor’s Office BES because the interest of the investigation allowed this on that day. There were no further grounds to hold the suspect longer in detention.
The suspect is summons to appear in Court in First Instance on October 8th on Saba. Because the case still has to appear before the judge no further substantive reports will be made about this case.
Press release Triangle Saba, October4, 2013