PHILIPSBURG–The High Court of the Netherlands in The Hague recently rejected the appeal filed by former police officer Richmer Michel Patrik York against his six-year prison sentence in connection with the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Akeem Isidora in Happy Estate, Belvedere, on March 4, 2015.
York was arrested May 17, 2015. The Court of First Instance sentenced him to eight years in November of that same year. York filed an appeal case with the Joint Court of Justice, which sentenced him to six years in December 2016, as he was found guilty of manslaughter and illegal firearm possession.
He shot and killed Isidora while he was off duty, as he claimed he was trapped inside his car. York maintained his innocence during the appeal hearing and claimed self-defence. Shooting Isidora was the only option, he told the Court during the trial.
The High Court, which handled York’s final appeal in July, stated in its verdict that the Joint Court’s judgment that the suspect’s self-defence pleadings failed “did not constitute an incorrect legal opinion and is not incomprehensible.” Therefore, the High Court decided to reject the appeal.
The Court of Appeals had stated in its December 2016 ruling that although there was an immediate and imminent danger of an instantaneous, unlawful assault on police officer York against which he was entitled to defend himself, he could not successfully plead self-defence because the requirements of “subsidiarity and proportionality” were not met.
The Court based this judgment on the fact that although the car in which York was located was surrounded by aggressive men at the time of the shooting incident, nevertheless, he could have driven away.
The cornered officer could also have warded off his attackers by showing his firearm or by firing a warning shot, the Joint Court had stated.
The Court concluded that the defendant had exceeded the limits of a necessary defence “by firing a shot at short range aimed at the chest of a man who at that time had no visible weapon in his hands.”
The Court also stated that on account of his education and training as a police officer he should have been able to make weighed decisions and should have made a different decision than shooting at the victim.
The High Court reduced the six-year sentence to five years and nine months because it had failed to handle the appeal within the legal time frame of 16 months, which is in violation of the European Human Rights Treaty.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/81394-court-rejects-officer-s-appeal-of-self-defence