Published On: Wed, Mar 14th, 2018

Court suspends robbery suspect’s pre-trial detention

CourthousePHILIPSBURG – The Court in First Instance suspended the pretrial detention of robbery-suspect Michael Haze A. on Wednesday afternoon, in spite of objections by the public prosecutor.

Michael A. has been charged with two armed robberies on supermarkets on March 23, 2017 and with an armed robbery committed on aril 16, 2017.

His co-defendant Sheldon Akeem Kareem G. is charged with the first two robberies and with attempted manslaughter on a policeman when he attempted to escape arrest on March 29 of last year.

The two suspects appeared in court on December 13 and at that time the trial was postponed until Wednesday, March 14, because the girlfriend of 26-year old Sheldon G. still had to be interviewed as a witness at the request of Michael A.’s attorney Sjamira Roseburg.

An earlier attempt to hear the girl failed because she did not show up and on Wednesday little had changed. The public prosecutor said that a request for judicial assistance has been sent to the French side, asking to hear the witness over there. Furthermore, an investigation into two other armed robberies is ongoing and it is possible – but not certain – that the two suspects were involved in those crimes as well.

Because of these developments, the prosecutor was unable to offer a new date for the trial.

Attorney Roseburg submitted a request to terminate or suspend the pretrial detention of her client Michael A. “Today the detention of my client has to end; he has been in custody for almost ten months and there still is no final dossier.”

The prosecutor objected to the termination of A.’s custody, citing flight risk and the risk that he will commit new crimes. “He has the French nationality and the French do not extradite their citizens.”

However, given the situation, the prosecutor said that he was not closing his eyes to their consequences for the pretrial detention. To suspend the detention, the prosecutor said, Michael A. would have to offer a permanent address, he has to appear at every court hearing and he has to honor requests from the police to come in for possible additional interrogations.

Under these conditions, the judge granted the suspension of A.’s custody. The suspension remains in place until there is a final verdict in this case.

The defendant returned to the Pointe Blanche prison after the court hearing to collect his stuff. He was told to go home with his mother and spend his days working in her business.

Michael A. and his mother were all smiles in the courtroom after the ruling and the mother was shortly afterwards practically dancing in the street with joy over her son’s homecoming.

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