Published On: Wed, Aug 27th, 2014

OM appeals against the sentences in the Masbangu-investigation

Sint MaartenPHIILLIPSBURG - Today August 27, 2014 the Public Prosecution Service of St. Maarten appealed against the decisions of the Court concerning the Masbangu-investigation. This investigation started after the election fraud during the last elections. Last Monday, August 25, 2014, the Court found the prosecution inadmissible in the cases against the suspects RCJJ (born in 1951), CC (born in 1969) and ARWM (born in 1970). Those suspects, also in the opinion of the Court, sold their vote to a representative of the United People Party (hereinafter UP), RH (born in 1953). The public prosecution was found inadmissible in the criminal case against RH as well. Referring to the principle of equality and the prohibition of arbitrariness, the Court found that the prosecution lost its right to prosecute, since the role of the leadership of the UP was not sufficiently investigated.

The Public Prosecution shares the view of the Court that the role of UP leaders is not (sufficiently) investigated, but has already made a statement in court. During the hearing on August 4 this year, the public prosecutor explained that the investigation could not have been on the leadership of UP as well, given the limited capacity of the Landsrecherche. During the last election period the Landsrecherche had
only one or two detectives. The Prosecution considers that those considerations on capacity and feasibility justify that the Masbangu investigation was kept small. Furthermore, the Public Prosecution believes that the consequence of inadmissibility goes too far, bearing in mind the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the formation of the Landsrecherche is now expanded. This enables the Landsrecherche to carry out new and deeper investigations. However, the formation of the Landsrecherche is still not at full strength. Some cases, even today, are because of that still waiting (too) long to be investigated or have been investigated insufficiently. The Public Prosecutor has already brought the lack of capacity to the attention of the Minister of Justice.

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