Dean of the St. Maarten Bar Association Geert Hatzmann (left) and attorney-at-law Sjamira Roseburg at the Courthouse’s registry. (File photo)
POINTE BLANCHE–The criminal case lawyers in St. Maarten, who were on strike since June 11 because they refused to be sprayed with disinfectant before being allowed entry to the Pointe Blanche prison to consult with their clients, have terminated their strike.
Attorney-at-law Sjamira Roseburg said late Tuesday afternoon that government’s lawyer Aernout Kraaijeveld had informed his colleagues, on behalf of Minister of Justice Anna Richardson and acting prison director Rikson Martina, that the measure to spray visiting lawyers at the prison entrance had been ceased immediately following an advice by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Affairs and Labour VSA.
Two weeks ago, St. Maarten Bar Association Dean Geert Hatzmann announced the strike in a letter to the acting prison director. In his letter, Hatzmann stated that lawyers could only enter the prison to speak with their clients when they were prepared to be sprayed. However, the prison director and members of the Police Force were not submitted to this anti-coronavirus measure.
Lawyers considered spraying someone from head to toe with a chemical substance a significant violation of their physical integrity. They called on the minister and the prison director to immediately halt the spraying of lawyers and said their strike would continue until their demands were met.
The strike meant that the lawyers no longer visited their clients in prison and in the police cells in Philipsburg, and that they did not assist them in Court.
The end of the strike means that the lawyers will be assisting their clients who are scheduled to appear in the Court of First Instance today, Wednesday, and tomorrow, Thursday. However, considering the fact that the lawyers were not able to confer with their clients to discuss their criminal cases, only minor cases will be heard. More complicated cases, involving, for instance, crimes such as murder, manslaughter, or armed robbery, will most likely be postponed until a later date.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/lawyers-end-strike-as-spray-measure-has-been-called-off