Published On: Thu, Mar 12th, 2020

Sulvaran: “The public prosecutor has trampled on the rights of Heyliger”

PHILIPSBURG – Theo Heyliger is prosecuted on the basis of statements by a suspect who is protected by the Public Prosecution and who receives benefits as a crown witness while the legislation of St. Maarten does not provide for a crown witness scheme. This is stated by Heyliger’s lawyer, Eldon ‘Peppi’ Sulvaran, who asks the court to declare the Public Prosecutor inadmissible in the Larimar case.

The Public Prosecution has violated Theo Heyliger’s right to a fair trial, says Sulvaran. “There is abundant proof that Dutch construction consultant Ronald Maasdam has been the pivot in the web for years. He drew up false consultancy contracts and received millions for services not delivered. Witness interviews have not revealed which activities Maasdam has performed. According to witnesses, Maasdam has little knowledge of construction.”

Sulvaran states that interrogations do show that Maasdam committed forgery, that he was guilty of embezzlement and extortion of persons. “But I don’t find anything about that in the charges.” The lawyer criticizes the fact that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has concluded a deal with the main suspect in the Larimar case, whereby he can count on a reduced sentence. “Promising a reduced sentence affects justice. Those who are punishable must also serve their sentence. In addition, the promise of limited punishment increases the likelihood of the suspect making false statements. Who would have thought that Maasdam is the only suspect in the Larimar case whose interrogation took place in a hotel, namely the Van der Valk Hotel in Vught.” Sneering: “While enjoying coffee and a tom pouce. Or did the suspect get a beer?”

According to the deal with the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Maasdam can expect payment of 1.8 million euros, in installments. In addition, he may keep 1.1 million euros of the money obtained from crime. In total, this amounts to 3.1 million dollars or more than 5 million Antillean guilders. On Monday, March 9, the Public Prosecutor indicated that Maasdam, who is a crown witness, will have to pay for his personal security himself. The prosecutor argued that the 66-year-old Maasdam has no pension and needs money to cover his living expenses. Sulvaran responds indignantly: “Since when does the Public Prosecutor arrange a pension for caught criminals? This white collar criminal not only escapes part of his sentence, he is also allowed to keep part of the loot. How reliable is he as a crown witness? Statements may not be purchased. Those from Maasdam are purchased statements.”

Eldon 'Peppie' SulvaranHeyliger and the other suspects were not interrogated in a hotel, but at the police station by unnamed police officers, says Sulvaran. “The director of Windward Roads, JanHendrik Boekaar, has been questioned by the police, perhaps on behalf of the Public Prosecution Service, no less than ten times about payments to Maasdam. The defense was not invited to attend these interrogations. This means that the importance of the defense has been ignored and the evidence has been wrongfully influenced.”

“… my client was found publicly guilty without being able to defend himself.” – Eldon ‘Peppi’ Sulvaran, Heyliger’s defense lawyer

According to Sulvaran, the prosecution has played a dirty game. A few days before the Larimar case started, the Public Prosecutor’s Office sent an audio message to the media in the Leeward and Windward Islands stating that Theo Heyliger has taken bribes, his lawyer said. It is claimed that Theo took the money. Please note, that is a determination of a criminal offense. But the criminal trial had yet to begin! The population of the islands has been wrongly influenced by the media, my client was found publicly guilty without being able to defend himself.”

The public prosecutor has trampled on Heyliger’s rights, his lawyer said. “The influence of the press, the crown witness scheme, the promises of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to the main suspect, the formal application of Dutch law, the ignorance of the reality of the islands and the legislation that applies in this part of the Kingdom, all this has resulted in my client not having a chance at a fair trial.” The public prosecutor has allowed, even ordered, that the Maasdam did not answer questions from the defense about the property he owns, three houses, in the Netherlands, Spain and Saint Martin. “The house on the French side is worth $1.2 million,” says Sulvaran. “The question whether Maasdam is allowed to keep the rental income is a relevant question. My client is accused of stealing money from the community. It is certain that Maasdam never paid tax in his life. The Public Prosecution Service measures with two standards and thereby violates human rights.” The Larimar case is a highly politically dubious criminal trial, the lawyer concludes.


[Publisher’s note: Read the opinion piece of Hilbert Haar titled “The crown witness“]

Related links:
TBO releases press statement and video explaining LARIMAR case
Press release TBO explaining LARIMAR case and Prosecution demands
Press release TBO explaining LARIMAR case and Prosecution demands – in Dutch
Public Prosecutor’s Office demands Heyliger be immediately imprisoned
Theo Heyliger: ‘I never accepted money from Maasdam’
Heyliger denies everything
“Don’t pay Theo? That question did not arise.”
Larimar-trial: 3 years demand against Maasdam, UP board claims innocence for Heyliger
Heyliger and four others stand trial in large bribery-case
UP Board: Prosecutor presents no physical evidence against Theo Heyliger
Photo reportage start LARIMAR trial at Belair Community Center