Published On: Tue, Mar 14th, 2017

Victim’s attorney to court in attempt to force action

GREAT BAY – The publication of a story about the ill-treatment of a 58-year old woman by her son (Today, March 10: Violent son of ill-treated mother still walks free) triggered quite some reactions, the victim’s attorney Geert Hatzmann says, but in the meantime the man still has not been arrested. Yesterday, Hatzmann asked the Common Court of Justice to order the prosecutor’s office to take action.

Violent son still not arrested

In his petition to the court, Hatzmann explains the background of the fight. His client, a woman who used to live in St. Maarten and currently resides in Tampa, Florida, owns an apartment building in St. Peters. Her 35-year old son has been living in one of these apartments for more than twelve years.

Last month the lady traveled to St. Maarten to deal with the intended sale of the apartment building – a move her son fiercely opposes.

On February 22 the lady went to the apartment building to discuss the dispute with her son but that ended badly. The man pulled her by her hair, smacked her forcefully on the ground, hit her in her face and took her in a chokehold in an apparent attempt to break her neck.

Two weeks after the ill-treatment the woman is still not able to walk alone up and down the stairs.

After she approached Hatzmann, the attorney contacted the prosecutor’s office with the request to take action against the son. The public prosecutor informed Hatzmann via email that he took the case serious, that he had been busy with it “all morning” but that everything depended on investigative capacity.

Because nothing happened, the attorney went to the media. The publication of the story in both local newspapers triggered quite some reactions from people who, according to Hatzmann, expressed their disgust about the lack of action from the side of the prosecutor’s office; but the real objective of the publications, the arrest of the son, remained elusive.

Hatzmann described the lack of actions as “a disgrace” and noted that the prosecutor’s office cannot use “the eternal excuse of limited investigative capacity” as an explanation for the fact that the suspect is still free, almost three weeks after the ill-treatment.

“It is incomprehensible why an arrest order cannot be issued and why the suspect cannot be arrested,” Hatzmann writes in his petition to the court, repeating an observation he also made last week: “This indifferent attitude is almost an invitation to family and friends of the victim for vigilante justice.”
Hatzmann also informed the court that the prosecutor could execute the arrest himself.

“The legislator of the new code of criminal procedures intended emphatically a strengthened position for victims. To my dismay I have to acknowledge that this does not materialize in practice. And I will not beat about the bush,” Hatzmann wrote. “Your court also has paid little heed to the explicit position of the legislator that the position of the victim needs to be strengthened. You court gives the prosecutor’s office usually plenty of opportunity to hide behind a knockdown argument like limited investigative capacity.”

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