Ugly Boxing Day fight ends with conditional sentence

~ Court throws out death threats ~

GREAT BAY – The Court in First Instance sentenced Aryan Lavric Zijlstra to 30 hours of community service –wholly suspended – for ill-treating his (now former) American girlfriend on December 26 of last year. But his attorney Geert Hatzmann described the people who were involved in the fight that followed and who filed complaints about unsubstantiated death threats as the real culprits, labeling Dutch blogger Gustav Knot, his girlfriend Jessica Rosien and their friend Jean Pierre Greaux as “shameless liars.”

Zijlstra told the court that he had been having problems with his alcoholic girlfriend and that he had made an attempt to organize a talk with her at a moment when she would be sober. To that effect, he sent her an email. He soon found that his girlfriend was reading the content of this email mockingly to Knot, Rosien and Greaux. The defendant said that his girlfriend had been nagging him for three days straight and that she had ridiculed him.

On December 26, things came to a boil and Zijlstra hit her in her face. Immediately, Knot and Greaux jumped up and started attacking Zijlstra, the defendant told the court. From there, things went from bad to worse. The defendant fled into the house, grabbed something he thought was a stick to defend himself – only to find out moments later that he was actually holding a machete. Outside, he threw the tool over a wall because he did not want to use it, nor did he want anyone to use it against him.

Knot and Greaux followed Zijlstra around the house, where they kept hitting and kicking him while he was on the ground. Somehow, the beleaguered 48-year old managed to get hold of his cell phone and call the police, only to find out that Knot had done so before him.

When the police arrived, the officers put Zijlstra in handcuffs and put him in their patrol car. This is where things got interesting. According to Knot, Rosie and the girlfriend (who does not speak Dutch) he had shouted that he would burn down her house and that the child Rosien was carrying would never be born.

Zijlstra denies that he ever said these things and, interviewed by police, Greaux said he had not heard the threats. The police officers did not put anything about these threats in their report either.

Prosecutor Maarten van Nes considered the ill-treatment of the girlfriend proven – based on the complaint and the defendant’s confession – but he also thought there was sufficient evidence for the threats. “The fact that the police did not write it down does not mean this did not happen,” he said, adding that there were witnesses.

The prosecutor acknowledged that Zijlstra had taken some serious hits in the altercation as well. For simple ill-treatment and for the threats he demanded 60 hours of community service, with 30 hours suspended and 2 years of probation. He also demanded that Zijlstra follows instructions from the probation office and that he continues treatment at Turning Point for alcohol abuse.

“My client is not the only one who has to be ashamed of himself,” attorney Geert Hatzmann said. “Knot and Greaux have insulted my client and they have hit and kicked him. There is no excuse for the lying witness statements made by Knot, Rosien and Greaux. What they have stated about the threats are shameless lies.”

Hatzmann  noted that Knot and Rosien, after their landlord in Pointe Blanche had kicked them out, had asked Zijlstra for shelter for a couple of nights. “He put them up in the villa of his girlfriend and they are still there, not paying any rent,” the attorney said, quoting from a character witness statement that Knot, to his own accord had been sentenced in the Netherlands for threatening a civil servant.

The attorney also expressed irritation about “the arrogance” of a statement made by Jessica Rosien that “Zijlstra had nothing to live for.”

Hatzmann said that his client admits to hitting his now ex-girlfriend but he denies making threats. “On the contrary, Knot and Greaux yelled at him that he was going to get murdered.”

The attorney asked the court to declare his client guilty without imposing a penalty.

In his last word, Zijlstra said that he is still afraid after the December incident. “I am afraid that one day Knot and Greaux will turn their words about murdering me into action.”

Judge Peter Lemaire considered the ill-treatment proven, but said that the matter of the threats was “more complicated” because not everybody had heard them. “They got you good,” he told the defendant about the hits he took from Knot and Greaux. The court imposed 30 hours of community service, wholly conditional, for the ill-treatment with 2 years of probation.

Source: 721 news Ugly Boxing Day fight ends with conditional sentence