Court cases up by 17 per cent

From left: Sigmar Cornelia, Mauritsz de Kort and Clara Bergmann.

WILLEMSTAD–The number of cases submitted for handling to the Courts in First Instance of Curaçao, Aruba, St. Maarten and of the BES islands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba) went up by 17 per cent last year, with a total of 44,067 compared to 37,150 in 2016. This is largely attributed to a 24 per cent increase in penal procedures, according to the 2017 annual report of the Joint Court of Justice presented on Wednesday in Willemstad.

   There were 18,477 cases for offenses such as traffic violations compared to 11,632 the year before. The lower courts also handled 22 per cent more cases than in 2016.

However, appeal cases went down by eight per cent. St. Maarten’s figures were based on those from 2015 and 2016 extrapolated until the end of August 2017. Due to the passage of Hurricane Irma last September the actual number was just 3,105 or 32 per cent less than the average of the previous two years.

The report also mentions that the courthouse in Phillipsburg was badly damaged and many of its employees were hard hit. However, everything is back to the normal schedule since February 1.

Court President Mauritsz de Kort explained that the judicial proceedings on the devastated island had first started again “with a judge, court recorder and prosecutor in a parking lot.”

The report’s theme “Resilience” also refers to that difficult period.

Source: The Daily Herald