Published On: Fri, Oct 14th, 2016

Judge: “Matser does his best to avoid court case”

GREAT BAY – “It is clear that attorney Merx and Mr. Matser do their best to avoid this case,” Judge Dirk Gruijters noted drily when MP Matser failed to show up for a pro forma hearing in the Court in First Instance yesterday. The case at hand is about accusations of vote buying during the 2014 elections.

The no-show of Mater and Merx has a history. On September 21, when he was due to appear in court five days before the parliamentary elections, Matser was a no show as well.

The prosecutor said at the time that, when a bailiff went to serve the summons to his house in September 12, Mater told him: “Tell them you could not find me and come back on Wednesday when it is too late.”

The police officers returned with the summons on September 16.

According to Merx, the bailiff showed up with six police officers, causing Matser so much stress that he was unable to work for three days.

When the court wanted to set a new date for the pro forma hearing, Matser’s attorney Cor Merx first said he did not have his agenda with him and asked the court to handle the new date via email. Instead, the judge asked Merx to go to his office to get his agenda. Merx refused, and when the court set the new date for October 13, he announced that he would not be available and that Matser should find himself another lawyer.

Yesterday it was the same song: no attorney, no Matser. Merx told this newspaper that, at Matser’s request he is still his attorney. “I never signed out formally at the court.”

Merx furthermore noted that the summons for yesterday’s gearing has not been served to his client and that he will therefore not appear in court. “The court will have to declare the summons void. Pay attention: the public prosecutor has sent me a mail with the message that the mail is to be considered as a summons. But that is not how the law works.”

Prosecutor Martin van Nes gave a bit more color to the story in court yesterday, first by saying that Merx could have provided the date for the new hearing to his client. Furthermore, the prosecutor noted, the bailiff had made three attempts to serve the summons to Matser. On September 29, the bailiff spoke at Matser’s home address with the defendant’s girlfriend who refused to accept the summons. The bailiff returned to Matser’s home on October 4 and 5, but to no avail.

“Could Matser have been aware of the date for today’s hearing? Yes,” Van Nes said. “The other suspects are here.”

Judge Gruijters said that the law nevertheless prescribed that he declares Matser’s summons void and that his case would not be part of the proceedings.

Later the court adjourned the case until an unspecified later date for which all suspects will receive a new summons.


Photo caption: The embattled MP Silvio Matser did not appear in court yesterday. File photo Today / Leo Brown