PHILIPSBURG–Former Member of Parliament (MP) Romain Laville was in tears on Tuesday afternoon, after the Joint Court of Justice dismissed him of all prosecution for the unauthorized possession of a firearm and ammunition.
The Court of First Instance had sentenced Laville to one month suspended, and ordered the confiscation of the weapon and ammunition.
Laville and the Prosecutor’s Office appealed the conviction. The appeal hearing took place on June 8, during which the Solicitor General called upon the Court to sentence the former MP to five months suspended, on two years’ probation, and 120 hours of community service.
Laville’s lawyer had pleaded for an acquittal, as Laville had been authorized to carry a weapon in 2012, and had applied for renewal of his license every year.
According to the Court of Appeals Laville had violated the Fire Weapon Ordinance. However, the Court arrived at the conclusion that Laville was not punishable, as he had filed a timely request for the renewal of his license.
After a police officer had summoned him over the telephone to hand over his gun in 2014 he went to then Minister of Justice Roland Duncan. The Minister informed him that he had not signed off the request for a renewal as the Solicitor-General had made objections because Laville was the subject of criminal investigations into alleged threats. The Minister told Laville he would look into the matter, but never did.
After his resignation as MP, Laville stored his weapon at his home and never took it with him when going out.
Against this background, the Court arrived at the conclusion that Laville should be excused as he did not know that he was not allowed to have a firearm. Therefore, he was dismissed of all prosecution. The firearm and ammunition were confiscated. The Prosecutor’s Office has two weeks’ time to file for a final appeal with the High Court in The Hague.