PHILIPSBURG–The case against a man accused of having committed attempted manslaughter and of looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in September 2017 was suspended Wednesday for the questioning of several witnesses.
J.A.J. (52) is charged with deliberate assault on a man’s life during a fight. The October 18, 2017, incident left the victim with several stab wounds all over his body. However, the suspect claimed the victim had wounded himself while they were both struggling to gain control over a breadknife.
Despite the defendant’s lively and rather vivid description – accompanied by many arm-gestures – of what, according to him, had transpired during the fight, the Judge said she was unable to establish what exactly had happened.
As the victim had not been confronted with the defendant’s statement about the fight, the Judge decided to suspend the hearing and to refer the case to the Investigating Judge to hear the victim as a witness in this case, together with a neighbour who had seen the fighting men and the knife. Another man who separated the fighters, and the school-bus driver who assisted him will both also be heard.
J. denied he had been looting stores in the vicinity of Diamond Casino after Hurricane Irma. He claimed he had actually been given permission by police officers on the scene to take clothing and other items, among which were shoes, jewellery, a hotplate and a deep fryer, which he had carted off to his home in a garbage bin.
His wife, who was previously convicted of looting, was present at Wednesday’s hearing. As her husband claimed that the clothing with the price tags still attached found in his house during a search actually belonged to his wife, lawyer Remco Stomp wanted to call the woman to the stand to testify.
She complied with the request at first, but when confronted with the fact that she was obligated to tell the truth and that she could be prosecuted for perjury if she did not, J.’s wife declined to provide a statement.
No new trial date has been set as yet.