PHILIPSBURG–The Joint Court of Justice on Wednesday confirmed the conviction of a 46-year-old man who was sentenced in November 2017 to nine months for the misappropriation of stolen goods and for mistreatment and the destruction of property. The defendant did not take this decision very well.
Rikinaldo F. Murray frequently interrupted the Judge during the reading of the verdict and even after he was escorted out of the Courtroom and led into the holding cell he could be heard loudly venting his displeasure with the Appeals Court verdict.
The Court of First Instance sentenced the defendant to nine months for fencing several goods after Hurricane Irma, among which were televisions and a refrigerator. He was also found guilty of mistreatment of his mother and of destruction of property during an incident on August 22, 2017. For this incident the Court awarded payment of NAf. 500 in damages.
The suspect appealed the verdict as he believed he was innocent. “I did not loot or fence any stolen property and the incident with my mom was a misunderstanding,” he told the Court of Appeals during the April 4 hearing.
He vehemently, and in a loud voice, insisted on Wednesday that the TVs were his property and that they had been illegally seized by the Prosecutor’s Office.
The Solicitor-General had requested confirmation of the initial verdict, whereas the defendant’s lawyer Marlon Hart had stated that his client should be acquitted.
According to Hart, there was insufficient evidence that his client had goods in his possession that were obtained by looting.
The defendant had stated that he had obtained the television sets in exchange for his motorbike or had purchased these from the proceeds from the sale of his bike, but these statements were not sustained by any documentation. Therefore, the Joint Court dismissed these statements as being “incredible.”
The defence had also pleaded for acquittal on the mistreatment and destruction charges for lack of intent.
“On the night of the [August 2017 – Ed] incident, I went to my mother’s bedroom. I jumped on her bed. The bruises that I gave my mother happened because I grabbed her,” Murray told the Court during the appeal hearing.
The defendant claimed he had been the victim of a bad “trip” after he had swallowed a “Molly pill,” a type of party drug with a similar effect as an ecstasy pill.
He told the Court he had been high and had palpitations after he arrived home. He said he feared for his life, ran into his mother’s bedroom, jumped on her bed and grabbed her. When he walked out of the bedroom he fainted and fell on a side table.
According to the Appeals Court, the defendant took “the considerable chance” of injuring his mother – whose left arm was bruised – after taking a Molly pill, knowing what the effects of this drug were.