PHILIPSBURG–The Joint Court of Justice intends to hear the appeals in the so-called “Octopus” vote-buying case involving former Member of Parliament Silvio Matser, former Pointe Blanche prison Interim Director Edward Rohan and inmate Edeson Fleming on March 15, 2019, it emerged Thursday.
The Court of Appeals announced the date during a preliminary hearing of suspect Fleming. Together with Matser, Rohan and several other inmates, who did not file for appeal, Fleming was convicted by the Court of First Instance on February 21, 2018. The lesser court found him guilty of selling votes among eligible inmates of the Pointe Blanche prison during the campaign for the August 2014 parliamentary election.
Matser was found guilty of buying the votes with the aid of several inmates and Rohan was found guilty of providing the United People’s (UP) party candidate with a list of eligible voters.
After retrial in September, during which the Court confirmed Matser’s previous conviction in absentia, he was convicted to a prison sentence of eight months, two of which were suspended, on two years’ probation. He was also banned from running as a candidate for five years.
Rohan was sentenced to 160 days, 80 of which were suspended, on two years’ probation.
Fleming was considered an accomplice to the scheme in recruiting votes among fellow prisoners, who received US $100 in canteen money from Matser in exchange for a vote. Fleming was sentenced to six months, three of which were suspended, on two years’ probation, whereas the Prosecutor’s Office had called for six months unconditional.
Wednesday’s hearing of Fleming’s case was postponed because he did not have a lawyer present and the Joint Court did not have the complete case file at its disposal.
Fleming is currently detained in the Netherlands for another crime and will not become a free man until December 2019, he informed the Court of Appeals.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82720-joint-court-to-hear-octopus-vote-buying-appeal-in-march