Published On: Wed, May 28th, 2014

Suspect Schotte must remain available for Justice

Public ProsecutionWILLEMSTAD - The magistrate (RC) decided yesterday that the custody of Gerrit Schotte, MFK leader and former Prime Minister of the country Curaçao is no longer necessary, since there is no longer any collusion risk (risk that he may influence witnesses).

He remains a suspect in this case pending his trial, and should always remain available for any police questioning. Schotte has pledged to continue to be available, but if he does not fulfill, the Prosecution will lock him up again.

This decision comes after his lawyer Eldon ‘Peppie’ Sulvaran had submitted a third request, based on Article 91 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP), for the immediate release of his client.

As already known, Sulvaran had previously filed two requests based on that article, which, according to him, were ignored. Subsequently, the lawyer filed a third request yesterday. The scope of the third request was that magistrate Kroeze had not decided on the first request based on the same Article 91.

Eventually, magistrate De Kort handled the third request and considered that there were already two requests dealt by RC Kroeze, who decided that there were no grounds to immediately release Schotte and that the reasons indicated in the third request were also not enough for his immediate release.

In addition, separate from the request for immediate release, there also came the question about the progress of the investigation.

The Public Prosecutor stated that in recent days witnesses have been heard in Italy, Curaçao and St. Maarten, a search was conducted in Italy, and that there will be more witnesses heard in the coming days and that there is therefore a risk of collusion.

“Without undervaluing the seriousness of the allegations, the magistrate held that in view of what has been put in relation to the progress of the investigation, the extensive contents of the file and that Schotte would not know who the witnesses to be heard are (and thus the supposed collusion danger is not obvious), the continuation of the detention is no longer reasonably necessary,” the prosecution says in a press release.

During the request treatment, Sulvaran also argued, based on Article 89 CCP, that RC Kroeze took days to decide about the lawfulness of Schotte’s detention. This was unfair, Schotte’s legal representative said. The OM reports this further in the press release, but does not clarify what was the decision on this.

The criminal investigation into money laundering and forgery, of which Schotte and his partner Cicely van der Dijs are accused, will be continued and eventually a judge will consider this case.

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