Published On: Thu, May 17th, 2018

Court drops charges for firing flare gun

Court House Philipsburg

PHILIPSBURG – The Court in First Instance dropped all charges against a 21-year old man who had fired a flare gun at a civil servant who had threatened him with a two by four on September 12, 2017.

The defendant, Kely S. had found shelter with a woman after Hurricane Irma. The civil servant, B., aged 51, was apparently not happy with this arrangement. It remained unclear in court whether the woman in question was the civil servant’s girlfriend.

On September 12, the civil servant approached the house, smashing windows with a big piece of wood. Police came and the man was sent away, but as soon as the officers left the scene he returned; this time he entered the house, where Kely S. and the woman were trapped upstairs.

That’s when S. grabbed a flare gun and fired it at his attacker.

The public prosecutor considered the charge proven, but declared that S. was not punishable for it.

“B. had a two by four and he had smashed windows with it. That is important for judging self-defense,” the prosecutor said. “The residents of the house were stuck and had reasons to defend themselves. But was the violence S. used proportionate? The shot only caused a slight injury and in my opinion the violence was proportionate. The defendant had the right to defend himself.”

The prosecutor asked the court to drop all charges.

Attorney Shaira Bommel agreed with the prosecutor. “My client did not have the intention to shoot at B., but he had no other choice.”

The court agreed. It considered the charge proven but said that self-defense was evident. “There was immediate danger and the violence was proportionate.”