PHILIPSBURG–Policy advisor in Prime Minister Leona Romeo-Marlin’s office J.V.G. (43), who is facing three years and a civil-service ban for his role in the so-called “Whale” case involving stolen or fenced diamonds, bribery, forgery and breach of confidentiality, pleaded not guilty in his final word on Wednesday. He will learn his fate December 12.
Given the opportunity to speak his final word, G. handed a written statement to the judge in which he stated that he had always done his job to the best of his ability as he had sworn to protect the people of St. Maarten.
He called himself “reliable and trustworthy” and said his case had ruined his reputation and had left his children traumatised.
G., who was a police officer for 18 years, was arrested at his Cole Bay home on July 3 in an investigation led by the National Detectives, with assistance from the Police Force of St. Maarten and Customs and overseen by the Prosecutor’s Office.
Two other suspects are a woman M.K. (32) and a man C.K. (59). They were arrested on July 6 and released days afterward, but remain suspects, according to the Prosecutor’s Office at the time. The hearing in C.K.’s case also took place yesterday (see related article).
The cases of G. and C.K. are closely intertwined. Both are suspected of involvement in the trade, theft or fencing of gemstones and diamonds allegedly belonging to Helena’s Jewellers, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Both are also suspected of bribery in which C.K. allegedly provided former police officer G. with airline tickets, monetary donations and other gifts in exchange for information about a criminal case against him pertaining to mistreatment of a person with the use of a Taser gun.
The Prosecutor’s Office is holding both suspects also responsible for forgery in antedating an official police report. G. is also charged with violation of his pledge of secrecy in providing C.K. with information from a current criminal investigation against him between January and March 15, 2018.
- categorically denied all charges. He claimed the diamonds, which he had received from a jeweller as a gift for his children, were false. According to the Prosecutor, however, the sizes, weights and colours of the stones were indications that it concerned nine real diamonds. The person who filed the report with the National Detectives claimed the jewels had a value of US $2.5 million.
- said in his final word that he had not taken diamonds from the police and that he had not given any information to K., “except for what he already knew. I never gave false information and I had no more contact with K. while I was at the Prime Minister’s Cabinet,” he said.
- suffers from severe neurological complaints that made him unfit for work. He is suspended from the Police Force, but government did not take any disciplinary measures against him.
The Prosecutor placed the alleged bribery of a civil servant – committed within a timespan of more than three years – in the “atmosphere of nepotism.”
He also held it against the member of the police’s major crime division that he had leaked information pertaining to criminal investigations. “For a period of three years the suspect violated trust in law enforcement,” the Prosecutor said during the hearing of this case.
G.’s lawyer Dagmar Daal pleaded not guilty on all charges. She said the case against her client was based on “guesses, opinions, assumptions and conclusions” by police investigators, not on facts.
G.’s pre-trial detention has been suspended since August 3. His lawyer called him unfit for detention and said the three-year demand was “unreasonable.”
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/82916-pm-s-policy-advisor-pleading-not-guilty