Suspect in deadly beating remains jailed until trial

Suspect in deadly beating  remains jailed until trial

PHILIPSBURG--The suspect accused of causing the death of a man who was severely mistreated in a fight at the ACE parking lot in Cole Bay on December 7, 2020, will remain behind bars until his trial which is now scheduled for August 4, the judge in the Court of First Instance decided Thursday.

  S.E.L.W. (27), aka “Mouse”, is charged with deliberately taking the life of a person by hitting and kicking him repeatedly in the body, head and face. Alternatively, this crime has been charged as wilful assault.

  The assault landed the victim at St. Maarten Medical Center, but he was flown out to Colombia in critical condition. However, treatment was to no avail and the victim died sometime later in a hospital in the South American country.

  The prosecutor asked for a postponement during a previous procedural hearing, which took place March 27, as medical reports about the cause of death were still to be forthcoming.

  During Thursday’s pro-forma hearing, the prosecutor announced that reports about pathological investigations had been received that same day. As the documents are in the Spanish language, the court and the suspect’s lawyer will be provided with copies of the original documents and with translations into the Dutch language.

  On behalf of her client, who was arrested December 23, 2020, lawyer Shaira Bommel filed requests to lift or suspend her client’s pre-trial detention.

  As she had two months ago, the lawyer again claimed that the evidence compiled in this case would be insufficient for a conviction. “It is still not certain that the victim died as a result of the brawl,” the lawyer said.

  Bommel also pleaded with the court to suspend her client’s detention, as this would enable him to resume his job at Princess Juliana International Airport.

  The prosecutor said that W. should remain behind bars. She said not one, but two police officers had recognised W. on video images of the brawl. One of these officers said he lived in the same yard in Cole Bay as the suspect.

  According to the prosecution, there are more than sufficient indications that the fight led to the victim’s death.

  W. once again proclaimed his innocence. “It was not me. It could be somebody else. It is really frustrated being in jail,” he told the judge.

  In responding to the lawyer’s requests, the judge said he understood these, as well as the suspect’s frustration with his detention. However, there are serious indications of the defendant’s involvement in the alleged crime and his personal circumstances were not considered grave enough when weighed against the severity of the accusations.

  Therefore, the court turned down the requests to lift or suspend the defendant’s pre-trial detention.