DH | Prosecutors say they are ‘considering’ consequences of Emmanuel verdict

Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher T. Emmanuel

PHILIPSBURG–The Prosecutor’s Office said it is “considering” the consequences of the verdict of the Joint Court of Justice of on Thursday, October 29 in which it ruled against the request of the Attorney General to prosecute Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher T. Emmanuel for among other accusations, abuse of his function in connection with the issuance of leasehold property during his stint as Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI).

The legislature has determined that if the Prosecutor’s Office (OM) wishes to prosecute a political authority, they must seek an order to that effect from the Court of Appeals. This procedure serves as a guarantee for a thorough prosecution decision in such cases.

In its decision to reject the Attorney General’s request, the Court of Appeals considered that the results of the investigation may raise questions about the state of affairs regarding the issuance of certain leasehold property in Country Sint Maarten, more specifically with regard to the manner and extent of Emmanuel’s alleged involvement in this matter.

However, according to the Court of Appeals, the results of the investigation are insufficient to substantiate the suspicion that the former minister was guilty of – among other accusations – the abuse of his function.

“There are no judicial remedies against this order. This means that no further prosecution can take place for the facts described in the claim, therefore, barring new facts and circumstances,” the Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday in a statement.

“Naturally,” the Prosecutor’s Office is disappointed with the outcome of the legal proceedings. “The legitimacy of the policy surrounding the issuance of leasehold property is a crucial issue on St. Maarten. As a result of the decision of the Court of Appeals, it is not possible in this case to deal with the content of this subject and to obtain a verdict from the Criminal Court on the boundaries between policy freedom on the one hand and abuse of function by authorities in the form of favouritism on the other. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is, therefore, considering the consequences of the verdict.”

Bron: Daily Herald

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