Suspects of armed robbery say, ‘charges based on fabrications’ | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–Three suspects of an armed robbery that allegedly took place in Pointe Blanche on June 26, 2017, are facing prison sentences of six to twelve months. However, defence lawyers claimed Wednesday that the charges could not be proven, as they were based on fabrications by the alleged victim.

Suspects R.F.D. (28) and J.M.H. and S.E.M.G. (both 26) were all charged with involvement in an armed robbery during which the victim’s car, passport, two mobile phones, a television with surround system, 30 baseball caps and US $1,000 in cash allegedly were stolen.

D. was also charged with possession of a firearm with 130 pieces of ammunition and 12.1 kilos of marijuana, which were found during a search of his house on May 9, 2018. For his crimes, the Prosecutor’s Office called for a prison sentence of five years.

Co-suspect H., who is facing six years, was also charged with possession of a firearm with ammunition and with threatening his uncle with his life. But the final charge was dropped for lack of evidence.

The prosecutor found G. guilty of fencing, as he had purchased one of two mobile phones that were stolen during the armed robbery. He may be imprisoned for one year.

According to the victim, he was attacked by four persons who had asked him for money. They beat him up, threatened to stab him and made away with many items, leaving him severely mistreated.

The suspects denied they had been involved in armed robbery. “This was no robbery, believe me,” D. told the judge. He said the victim owed him $6,000 for the purchase of a car. He said he had asked for his money numerous times. That night the suspects first went to Jump-Up Casino and later to the victim’s house to collect D.’s money.

D. said he had become enraged when he saw a packed suitcase, a passport and airline ticket, and drew the conclusion that the man was planning on leaving the island. This had enraged him because he had thought he was being tricked and would not be paid. He dealt the victim several punches, after which he was promised that he would receive the money. As collateral, he received the debtor’s vehicle, car keys and passport.

The police found the victim’s apartment “all messed up,” the judge said. But, according to D., the victim “did this himself to make it look like he was robbed. No one took anything out of his house, he told the judge.

H. also said the victim was lying and claimed he had interfered when he saw a knife was pulled. As a result, he sustained a cut to his hand, he told the Court.

He was sentenced to three years for extortion and firearms in 2015. “I’m jail-sick,” he said in stating that he did not want to go to prison again.

G. claimed he had no knowledge of any robbery and stated he had purchased the phone from someone at Jump-Up Casino. The phone contained a memory card with the victim’s pictures on it, but G. claimed he had not checked the phone’s content.

During a search at D.’s house two handwritten letters, allegedly from the two other defendants, were found inside a vault. The gist of the letters was the intention to coordinate statements, the judge indicated. However, the defendants claimed the letters were false and not written by any of them.

Attorney-at-law Remco Stomp stated that G. should be acquitted of intentional fencing and requested his client’s immediate release. The Court, which will present its rulings in all three cases on September 19, did not make an instant decision on the request to lift the suspect’s detention.

H.’s lawyer Shaira Bommel said it was “remarkable” that the Prosecutor’s Office did not lend any credibility to the suspects’ statements, as the victim had told differing stories.

She claimed there was no evidence of her client’s involvement in armed robbery and kidnapping and called for his acquittal.

Defence lawyer Sjamira Roseburg agreed with the firearm charges, but said D. should be acquitted of robbery charges for lack of legal and convincing evidence.

She called on the Court to disregard the victim’s “false” and “inconsistent” statements. “This case stinks from all sides,” Roseburg said.

As to the other charges, Roseburg said there were no indications that her client had been involved in the drug trade. She also said he had purchased a firearm in French St. Martin after his daughter’s mother was murdered in early 2017, and he had heard in the street that he might also be in danger.

The prosecutor announced a dispossession claim during the hearing, but Roseburg said the money that had been confiscated was D.’s savings and money he had received from his father for the sale of two trucks, “and no drug money, like the Prosecutor’s Office may want to believe,” she added.

Source: The Daily Herald