Sunday , October 1 2023

Judge hears eight cases in court session

The Daily Herald writes that Judge Koen Luijks presided over a court session at the Government Building on Tuesday morning.

The case against a 60 year old U.S. resident accused of attacking police officers was suspended to allow additional hearing of the officers who made the arrest.

Following a closed-door hearing of civil cases, the judge dealt with contestations of fines related to vehicle registration, lack of valid international driver’s licence or paid vehicle road tax. The first case led to a fine for lack of documentation. In the second case, Prosecutor Marleen Overmeer eventually requested an acquittal upon establishing that the driver had paid the road tax and was actually insured when fined. The third traffic-related case involved an accident on June 23, in which the driver hit other parked cars without stopping to identify or provide his contact information. The driver assumed responsibility and claimed to have returned to the scene of the collision, but he failed to leave his contact information or call the police to identify himself. The Judge asked if the reason to postpone such action was the defendant’s level of alcohol consumption at the time. The driver confirmed moderate consumption over six hours prior to the incident and stressed his prompt compliance with repairs to the damaged vehicles through the insurance.  The Judge followed the Prosecutor’s request for the two infractions and one misdemeanour establishing fines for each.

The fourth case concerned an American resident (60) arrested at his residence on September 24, for a fenderbender caused in his private parking lot. The suspect’s attorney concentrated on “questionable statements” of the three police officers who had made the arrest. The police statements first mentioned the suspect was “inebriated,” but in a subsequent report the officers had said he was “heavily intoxicated,” according to the defence.
The suspect and his wife contested this police statement. An invoice from the restaurant where the couple had dined just before the arrest confirmed he had only one drink. The restaurant owners had also provided a statement on behalf of the suspect.
The attorney also pointed at the “unnecessary violation” of his client’s privacy, despite him being easily traceable at his home. He doubted the police’s judgment in handling this case. The Prosecutor concurred that the apparent inconsistencies in the police report needed to be clarified.
The suspect, who had been released from detention after seven days, stated, “This was a very frightening and confusing night and the situation was escalated not by me. My wife and I were terrorized and afraid, and ultimately unnecessarily had trespassers on our property and were home invaded and terrorized by three strangers.”
The Judge allowed the request to have the police officers summoned and questioned and referred the case back to the Investigating Judge, requesting for each witness to be heard on what occurred on the suspect’s property.

The next involved a man who damaged a trash can, allegedly due to frustration with a dog barking in the neighbourhood. He received 20 hours of community service. The sixth case involved a young man who was found in possession of 10 grams of cocaine on July 28. On July 5, 2012, he was found in possession of 28 grams of cocaine. Judge Luijks withdrew himself from this case as he had also been the investigating judge. The suspect was called to appear in Court again on January 14, 2014, when a different judge will preside.
The seventh case involved a resident, originally from the Dominican Republic, who falsified a bill of sale with intent to evade paying a fine for unpaid car insurance. He received three months suspended on three years probation and 80 hours of community service. A Dominicano resident of St. Maarten was accused of physical abuse and threatening a person with a screwdriver in a scuffle on August 13. The suspect contested witness statements and his own declaration, arguing imprecision in the translation from Spanish translation. The judge sentenced him to 293 days, 270 of which were suspended, on three years probation and 240 hours of community service.

Meeting of the Central Committee of Saba on October 18
Graduation ceremony for graduates Comprehensive School