men who robbed, beat judge and her husband get 16 years

June 24, 2016
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GUYANA – THREE men were sentenced to 16 years imprisonment by Magistrate Zamilla Ally-Seepaul for the robbery and home invasion of Land Court Judge Nicola Pierre and her husband Mohammed Chan. Dameion Millington, 22, of Lot 118 Caesar Street, Agricola; Nicholas Narine, 18, also of Caesar Street, Agricola and Warren McKenzie, 22, of Lot 18 Brutus Street, Agricola, were all charged with robbery under arms and felonious wounding of Pierre and Chand.

Millington, Narine and McKenzie were sentenced to eight years for the armed robbery charge and eight years for wounding the duo. The men broke down in tears when the magistrate told them their sentences would run consecutively. Prior to the sentencing, the magistrate asked the defendants if they had anything to say; in response, the men denied committing the offences and proclaimed their innocence.
In passing the sentences, Magistrate Ally-Seepaul said she took into consideration the amount of time the men had been on remand and the fact that they have no previous convictions.
The magistrate also considered the evidence which revealed that they were all part of the crime and that they had aided and abetted each other; the serious nature of the offence, since the lives of the virtual complainants had been threatened; the high value of the items they stole; the brutality and use of a firearm.
The matter was prosecuted by Attorney Nigel Hughes, who was hired by the office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
On June 17, the magistrate had found two other men not guilty of the crime. They are Premnauth Samaroo and Anthony David. The charges stated that on July 9, 2015 at Montrose, East Coast Demerara, being in the company of three others and being armed with a gun, they robbed the victims of a safe containing US$7,000, five wristwatches, a Samsung Galaxy S5 phone, a wedding ring, four Oakley sunglasses and one brown leather wallet, totalling over $ 2.6M.
They were also accused of feloniously wounding Pierre and her husband and discharging a loaded firearm at Roy Peters, with intent to maim, disable, disfigure or cause him grievous bodily harm. Pierre sustained a broken jaw and other injuries,while her husband received severe injuries to an eye,which he lost as a result.

SOURCE and PHOTOS: Guyana Chronicle


In January 2015 there were 18 hit and run cases

February 10, 2015


PHILIPSBURG — The police will be cracking down on perpetrators of hit-and-run accidents in the country as the number of cases continues to escalate.

A total of 18 cases of hit-and-run were recorded in January alone. Of the 18 cases, nine have been solved and six will be taken to court where the suspects will have to give their accounts of the accidents in front of a judge.

Police spokesperson Inspector Ricardo Henson said in a police press release on Monday that the Police Traffic Department had reported many collisions taking place on the island after which motorists drive away without leaving the necessary information behind.

“In addition to this, it has become quite regular that drivers who are involved in a traffic accident are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination thereof, which causes them to be unable to drive properly,” Henson said. “The Traffic Department is paying a lot of attention to perpetrators and will make sure they are brought to justice.”

He said the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police Force had been in consultation regarding these illegal acts and many agreements had been made.

Also in January, two drivers were arrested after a collision because they had been under the influence of alcohol. These suspects also will be summoned to appear in court, Henson said. – The Daily Herald


St Maarten burgeler get 36 months

January 15, 2015
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GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced Gerard Alexander Richardson, known as Davis on the French side of the island, to 36 months of imprisonment for a series of burglaries he committed between March and August of last year, mainly in the Pelican area.

The 49-year-old defendant, a hardcore crack addict, came off lightly because prosecutor Nanouk Lemmers demanded 6 years of imprisonment with deduction of the 96 days he already spent in pretrial detention.

According to the prosecutor, there were more than twenty complaints about burglaries in the Pelican area Richardson is the main suspect in all these cases. He sneaked into houses where doors or windows were open, always at night. “He never damaged anything, but he made people afraid. This is not a nasty man and he says that he is not dangerous but when he stands next to your bed in the middle of the night you feel vulnerable.”

Lemmers said that she had charged Richardson with the cases for which there was the most evidence available and that the defendant has previous convictions for similar crimes. “Shortly after he was released from his last conviction, he started again.”

The prosecutor saw no point in sending Richardson to Turning Point because the last time he went there for treatment it did not end well – he walked out. “A stay at the Pointe Blanche prison will do just fine.”

Attorney Geert Hatzmann thought the demand of 6 years extremely high and he questioned the evidence for some of the charges. “A prison sentence apparently has no effect, so that is only a temporary solution. I propose an 18 month conditional sentence combined with intramural treatment, or extramural treatment combined with community service.”

Judge Paulides concluded that Richardson’s actions had grossly violated people’s feeling of safety and noted that he had previous convictions to his name. “A conditional sentence is now out of the question.” The judge showed some leniency though by cutting the prosecution’s demand in half.


Election fraud case dismissed, but Vote buying proven

August 27, 2014
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Vote buying editorial cartoon-L

TDH – PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance on Monday declared inadmissible the Prosecutor’s Office’s cases against five persons allegedly involved in selling and buying votes on behalf of United People’s (UP) party in the September 2010 election.

The Judge held it against the Prosecutor’s Office that it had decided to prosecute only five suspects, but had failed to investigate the roles of UP and its leadership in the scheme.

According to the Court, the Prosecutor’s Office had been in default. It had given the impression it was administering “class justice” in its decision to prosecute only the “vote sellers,” who had stated they had asked for money because they were in financial trouble.

In itself, the Judge considered it proven that suspects A.R.W.M. (43), C.J.L.C. (45) and R.C.H.J. (63) had sold their votes in exchange for money and that UP-representative R.H. (60) had offered money in exchange for their votes.

The case against a fifth suspect, G.P.W. (50), was thrown out because she had passed away on June 13.

During the August 4 hearing, the Prosecutor’s Office requested suspended prison sentences of three months, with two years’ probation, 150-200 hours of community service and that the Court take away suspects’ rights to vote. In addition, the Prosecutor requested that R.H. be deprived of his right to be elected.

The Judge decided not to impose any sentences, because this would be unfair and in violation of the legal principle that equal cases must be treated equally.

The Court was highly critical of the Prosecutor’s decision not to investigate the role of UP and its leadership.

The Judge agreed with the Prosecutor’s Office that this case, which had endangered free elections, had caused a lot of commotion in St. Maarten and throughout the kingdom. The case had been damaging to the island’s image.

Based on statements in the case file, the Prosecutor’s Office claimed it was “common” in St. Maarten for representatives of political parties to hand out money and goods in exchange for votes, which is punishable by law.

Selling and buying votes is against the law because these practices violate the principles of free and democratic elections. This specifically applied to the case of R.H., who had tried to influence the election results on behalf of UP, the Prosecutor’s Office had stated.

The Court agreed with the Prosecutor that election fraud is damaging to the foundation of the democratic state as laid down in the Constitution.

“Political parties that are prepared to buy votes favour themselves, as this enables them to delegate more candidates to Parliament. This would effectively mean that Parliament may no longer be considered the highest office within the democratic state of Country St. Maarten; the office which should be representing the people of St. Maarten,” the Judge said.

According to the Judge, the case file contained statements concerning R.H.’s party’s involvement in large-scale vote-buying. The Judge said people had been “standing in rows” in front of the building on Ground Dove Road in Pointe Blanche from which UP had been campaigning for the parliamentary election of September 17, 2010.

Among those obtaining money were the four suspects mentioned, all (former) officers of the then-Police Force of St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba and of Voluntary Corps of St. Maarten VKS.

The Judge said there were indications that UP had its own registration system in place for people requesting money to ensure they would indeed vote for this party.

Control and registration are in violation of free and secret ballots, the Judge said about the practice. “Without the willingness of a political party (leadership) to hand out money and goods in exchange for votes there cannot be election fraud,” he added.

However, the Prosecutor’s Office refrained from prosecuting UP and/or its leadership, which the Judge said was unfair, unjust and unequal treatment in comparison with the five suspects.

The Court specifically held it against the Prosecutor’s Office that the role of UP and its leadership in this case had not even been investigated, whereas the case file itself contained information warranting such an investigation.

The Judge pointed at a statement provided by R.H., who had stated that he was accountable to UP leader Theo Heyliger.

According to information obtained by the Criminal Intelligence Unit, Heyliger allegedly had deposited US $3 million into UP’s election fund out of his own pocket. There were also a number of statements indicating that UP had handed out money in Pointe Blanche.

The Prosecutor’s Office also held this to be true, as it specifically mentioned UP in the suspects’ indictments. In this light, the Judge said it was “incomprehensible” that the judicial authorities had not investigated the party’s role in the election fraud.

Statements made about the National Detectives’ lack of capacity were dismissed by the Court, because the state has to provide a well-equipped Detective Department.

Moreover, the Court said it should have been possible to launch a criminal investigation into the involvement of UP and its leadership in the relatively long period between September 2010 and February 2014, when this case was brought to Court.

The Judge concluded that declaring the Prosecutor’s Office’s cases against suspects inadmissible would serve the eradication of vote-buying and selling better than sentencing suspects four years after the crimes had been committed.


Bada Bing owner bribed MP Illidge for $150,000

May 9, 2014
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TSXM – GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance moved the Orca-trial against independent parliamentarian Patrick Illidge and Bada Bing owner Jaap van den Heuvel to an unspecified future data yesterday, because the attorneys for both defendants were not available. Van den Heuvel’s attorney Cor Merx is on vacation and Illidge’s counsel Ralph Richardson had to leave unexpectedly for the Netherlands for a family matter. He returned one day before the trial and did not have enough time to prepare his defense. The court had informed the defendants that they did not have to appear.

Yesterday’s session was scheduled as a pro forma hearing where prosecution and defense have the opportunity to present additional investigation wishes, like the hearing of witnesses. Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp proposed to move the pro forma hearing to the chambers of the Judge of Instruction and to set the trial date for October 29.

“That is the birthday of Patrick Illidge,” Judge Koos van de Ven noted. Illidge can relax – the trial will not take place on that date. The judge also rejected the idea to let the Judge of Instruction handle the pro forma hearing. Instead, he wants to meet with the attorneys in the course of next week to set the dates for the pro forma hearing and for the trial. It is certain that none of this will happen before the elections on August 29.

Prosecutor Van der Wulp told the court that her office wants to make sure there is no undue delay. “This is a pro forma hearing about investigation wishes. The attorneys have the dossier, they could send a replacement. The defendants have an interest in shelving this case.”

Judge van de Ven pointed out that the dossier is massive and that it was completed on April 9. The summonses went out on April 24. “The defense needs time to study the dossier,” he said.

Birthday or not, the accusations against Illidge are serious and potentially damaging for his reputation as a politician. The prosecution presented its case yesterday in court and it appeared that the bribery involves much more money than previously thought.

Illidge is charged with taking bribes for an amount of up to $150,000 from Van den Heuvel. In exchange, the prosecution charges, he was to use his influence to speed up handling of the operational license for Bada Bing for the address of its current location on Sr. Patientia Road in Simpson Bay by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, or to make sure that the ministry would issue this license. Furthermore, Illidge was expected to talk the Ministry of Economic Affairs into allowing Bada Bing longer opening hours and to settle the registration of the nightclub’s new address (from the Maho shopping center to Sr. Patientia Road). The last favor Illidge was expected to provide was an extension of the work permit for several girls that work at the brothel. Illidge is also charged with illegal firearm possession. During a house search in March of last year, detectives found a Ruger-LCP 9 mm Browning Kort.

The charges against Illidge pale however compared to those the prosecution brought against Van den Heuvel and against his company Lunteren NV that does business as Bada Bing.

The most remarkable charges are membership of a criminal organization, trafficking in women and bribing Illidge. Other charges are of a fiscal nature.

The criminal organization charge is remarkable, because the summons mentions Patrick Illidge and three others as its members, but Illidge himself is not facing the same charge.

The criminal organization’s objectives were, according to the summons, committing forgery, money laundering, bribing civil servants, employ foreigners without a permit, tax-evasion and trafficking in women.

The prosecution accuses Van den Heuvel and his company both of hiding the origin of more than 1.7 million guilders (close to $950,000) “while he knew or reasonably had to suspect that this money stemmed from a crime.” Like Illidge, Van den Heuvel is also facing bribery-charges. The summons states that he paid Illidge $150,000.

Another charge is that the defendant forged a commercial lease agreement for the building Bada Bing and the Neverland restaurant currently occupy, and that he submitted this document with his request for a hotel, coffeehouse and restaurant permit.

Van den Heuvel and Lunteren NV are also charged with trafficking women. The summons identifies six of them; the prosecution holds that Van den Heuvel or a third party he engaged recruited these women in the Dominican Republic, and transported them to Bada Bing where they were put to work as prostitutes.

Bada Bing housed the women in the club in rooms where they also had to do their work, and had them pay $60 per day for the pleasure. They had to share their room with others. Furthermore Van den Heuvel charged the women for the price of their airline tickets and for the condoms they use during their work. The women had to sign a contract that stipulated at which times they could leave the building and when they had to be back. They had one day off per week and had to pay a fee if they wanted to leave the building.

Other charges against van den Heuvel and Lunteren NV have to do with failure to submit returns for profit tax (over the period 2008-2011), and with submitting monthly turnover tax returns that understated the company’s turnover (during the period 2008-2012).

The eighth charge is that van den Heuvel employed four foreign women in Bada Bing while they did not have a work permit.

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