Published On: Sun, May 9th, 2021

Attorney Merx obtains right to hear witnesses in Pompeii-trial

PHILIPSBURG — The Common Court of Justice has set December 9 as the date for the continuation of the appeal in the Pompeii-trial against Etienne ‘Toochie’ Meyers, Dulcea Felomina Florentina and Louealla Marinella Abigail Rog. The decision is a victory for attorney Cor Merx who obtained the right to hear fifteen witnesses that were not heard during the handling of the case in the Court in First Instance.

In April 2018 the Court in First Instance sentenced Meyers and Florentina for human trafficking, exploitation of prostitutes, illegal employment and deprivation of liberty in two brothels: El Capitan in Sucker Garden and Le Petit Chateau on Soualiga Boulevard. The court sentenced Meyers to a 3-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of one million guilders. Florentina was hit with a 2-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 guilders. Both defendants appealed the verdict.

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In January 2020 the court denied a request from the Prosecutor’s Office to seize $4.9 million in what it considered illegal profits from Meyers and $4.9 Million from Florentina (together: $9.9 million).

The conviction of Meyers, Florentina and Rog by the Court in First Instance is based on statements of the fifteen prostitutes made to the police and Judge and Prosecutor four years ago in Santo Domingo and of those who were interrogated on the day the police entered the establishments. The last ones were immediately deported after their interrogation and the defense had no opportunity to question all of these women. Tracing them was not possible either because their complete names and addresses had been obscured in the relevant police report.

“The interest of interviewing one or more of them is evident considering credibility and reliability,” the appeals court ruled.

“After I brought the mistake (of not hearing these witnesses by the defense) to the attention of the court (at the postponed Court session in June 2020) there came a new legal situation based on the Keskin-arrest of the European Human Rights Court,” Merx says. “That arrest says that the defense has the right to hear witnesses if it was unable to interview. On top of this, the court has stated that the evidence is partially based on the statements these women made to the police.”

A new situation comes into being if it turns out to be impossible to interview the women. “That would create a stalemate, because the court has stated that the verdict is mainly based on the statements these women made to the police,” Merx says.

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