PHILIPSBURG–Suspect D.J.O., who stood trial for mistreatment of his wife on February 3, and for violation of the probation terms for a four-month suspended prison sentence for another case of mistreatment which was imposed by the Court of First Instance in December 2016, was acquitted Thursday by the Appeals Court for lack of evidence.
The Court of First Instance had found the man guilty and sentenced him to four months and six weeks in prison for mistreatment.
The defendant had filed for appeal because he claimed he was innocent. His wife had filed a complaint against him directly after the incident, but as D.J.O. had stated in front of the lesser Judge he also claimed in front of the three Joint-Court Judges on Thursday he had never “touched” his wife of six years. “I did nothing,” he said.
He admitted their marriage had been in a “rocky situation” for about a year and six months. They were living apart for four months, during which time he had found another girlfriend, who was pregnant with his child.
His wife did not know that and wanted to make up with him and invited him for dinner. While driving to the restaurant he received a telephone call from his girlfriend, and realized he was caught.
“She cussed me verbally. This was the last straw for me and I said I wanted a divorce. Three days later I was arrested in my house for assault on my wife, but her statement is false,” the defendant told the Court.
The woman went to the hospital directly after the incident. The medical report made mention of bruises to her face. Her husband, however, claimed during the hearing in the Court of First Instance that the bruises were fake and a “simulation.” He pointed out that his wife is a make-up artist. He said their divorce is not yet final.
The Prosecutor in the initial case found mistreatment proven, and added that the defendant was also convicted of public violence at a club last year. In describing the defendant as an “aggressive man with a lack of self-control,” the Prosecutor called on the Court of First Instance to sentence him to six weeks for mistreating of his wife.
He also called for the execution of the four-month suspended sentence attached to D.J.O.’s conviction of public violence in St. Maarten’s nightlife.
The Solicitor-General did not follow his colleague and the lesser Court on Thursday, and called upon the Appellate Court to acquit the defendant for lack of evidence.
He based this on the suspect’s denial and on the fact that the police did not cite any injuries and on the indecisive video-camera images of the incident.
Defence lawyer Shaira Bommel full-heartedly agreed. After very brief deliberations in chambers the Joint Court announced it did not find any evidence. The defendant was acquitted of all charges, and the request to execute the suspended sentence was rejected.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71033-joint-court-acquits-man-of-mistreatment-of-his-ex-wife