Father and son on trial for threatening, insult

PHILIPSBURG–Raymond P. (56) and his son Raeyhon P. (27) were both sentenced Thursday to conditional community services of 60 hours, on two years’ probation, for threats and insults, and for declining to follow police orders in the aftermath of a traffic accident on March 4, on Welfare Road in Cole Bay.

Two vehicles were involved in a collision on Welfare Road near Daily Extra Supermarket at approximately 1:20am. The driver of a black Hummer was coming from Simpson Bay and attempted to filter into the road to Cole Bay but a red Hyundai Elantra lost control and slammed head-on into the black Hummer.

Things got ugly when a police officer arrived on the scene. According to the officer, the driver of the Hummer, Raeyhon P., was very agitated and kept on yelling and screaming that the driver of the Hyundai, who allegedly was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, had been driving recklessly.


The driver of the Hummer said he was in shock and upset after the accident, but denied he was extremely angry and hysterical. He told the Court that he saw the car coming at him at high speed, and said, “He almost killed me by the way he drove.”

He stated that he was concerned about the well-being of the driver of the Hyundai and denied that he had attacked and mistreated the man. He, however, admitted he had pushed the driver once, as he did not respond to questions with anything more than a smile.

P.’s parents were alerted of the accident and on arrival at the scene father P. allegedly displayed even more aggressive behaviour than his son. Questioned by the Judge, both men, however, denied they were hotheads.

Confronted with the situation, the police officer pulled his gun and fired a warning shot in the air. As this did not calm the situation, the officer aimed his weapon at son P. from close range, threatening to use it if he didn’t calm down.

A heated argument between the men and the policeman followed, during which the officer said he was insulted and threatened. More police officers arrived on the scene who brought the situation under control. The driver of the black Hummer and his father were taken to the police station where they were arrested. They were held in custody for three days.

The police officer filed a report about the threats and insults, but according to lawyer Brenda Brooks he had repealed the report and had offered his apologies to the father and son during a conversation at the police station on Monday. According to Brooks, the Department of Internal Affairs is to take “disciplinary measures” against the officer.

Nevertheless, Raeyhon P., who works as a legal advisor at the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI, and his father, who is a manager at St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS), filed an official complaint against the policeman on Wednesday.

Master of the street

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, the situation on Welfare Road had run out of control. The Prosecutor said that by law the police are master of the street. “You must do what the police says. The officer, who was just doing his job, felt compelled to fire a warning shot.”

The Prosecutor said the two defendants had taken the law into their own hands after the accident and had wanted to settle the matter in their way.

The Prosecutor said the two had not shown any sign of remorse and said he was surprised that they had filed a report.

The Prosecutor found public violence, insults, and the refusal to cooperate with a police order proven in the son’s case but found no evidence of threats.

In the father’s case, the Prosecutor considered all charges proven, including threats as the father had told the officer “You don’t know who I am. I can end you.”

The Prosecutor’s Office called for 60 hours of community service for both defendants.

Attorney Brooks went to great length in her attempts to persuade the Court to declare the Prosecutor’s cases against her clients inadmissible, but to no avail.

She also pleaded for her clients’ full acquittal of all charges, including public violence. She said mistreatment of the driver of the Hyundai could not be proven as his injuries were the result of the accident and could not be attributed to the son.

She also pleaded for self-defence as her client had been in shock and because the accident had been caused by the other driver’s reckless behaviour, adding that the man was never arrested.

The lawyer dismissed the charges of threats and insults as these had not been of a serious nature.

“Even calling someone a freak is not an insult, the Court in Arnhem [the Netherlands – Ed.], has established,” the lawyer said. She spoke of an “unfortunate train of events,” which had led to the unjustified use of a police weapon.

Goat herder

In sentencing, the Judge acquitted the son of public violence but found mistreatment proven. He was also acquitted of threatening the officer but insulting him was found proven.

The Court considered the statement that he would ensure that the officer would lose his job to go back to St. Eustatius to become a goat herder “condescending.”

Father P. was found guilty of threatening the officer and both were sentenced for disregarding a police order, as they had not heeded calls to stay away from the driver of the other car.

The Judge said the fact that the police officer had used his gun should not “overshadow” this case. “Also, before the gun was pulled, there were two very agitated men, of which better behaviour could have been expected. You should have listened to the officer and should have stayed away from the other driver. I see zero per cent of empathy for the policeman who was only doing his job. You deserve punishment,” the Judge told father and son.

Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/75882-father-and-son-on-trial-for-threatening-insult