PHILIPSBURG:— The judge of the Court of First Instance of St. Maarten suspended the preliminary hearing in the Octopus investigation till October 13, 2016 at 10 am. This is to give all parties more time to formulate additional research requests concerning the investigation. The judge will take inventory of additional requests and also a decision on these requests. The judge will also take a decision on a date for the trial.
“Octopus” is the code name for the investigation into vote buying fraud during the 2014 parliamentary elections. For now five suspects have been summoned to stand trial in the Court of First Instance of St. Maarten. They are S.J.M. (49), W.F.B. (30), E.E.L.F. (35), R.G.K. (48) and F.L.A. (46). They are suspected of participating in a criminal organization and vote buying. The Prosecutor has not yet made a decision on the prosecution of other suspects in the Octopus investigation.
In the investigation, led by the Prosecutor’s Office and carried out by the National Detectives Agency 20 persons were considered suspects. One of those could not be traced and another suspect, in the meantime, has died. A total of 14 suspects were prisoners at the time that the investigation initiated. Of the suspects, more than 10 were interrogated during the investigation.
A preliminary hearing means no criminal proceedings on the contents of the case will take place.
Prosecutor’s Office Bulletin
Source: St. Martin News Network
Judge of Instruction suspends Octopus hearing until October 13th.