Snowflake and Benz investigations

The Public Prosecutor’s Office will not appeal Judge’s decision that Snowflake case is inadmissible. Suspects in so called “Benz”-investigation will no longer be prosecuted.

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The Sint Maarten Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to appeal the decision of the Court of first Instance of August 24th 2011 in which the cases against the suspects in the so called “Snowflake” investigation were declared inadmissible.
Subsequently the Prosecutor’s Office on Curaçao has decided to prosecute the suspects in the so called Benz-investigation no longer.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office together with the Kingdom Detective Team (RST) found out that an official police report in the Snowflake investigation was antedated. As soon as this was established and awaiting the consequences that the judge would draw from these findings, all suspects in this investigation, who at that time were in pre-trial detention, were released. The same happened with the suspects in the “Benz-investigation”. That investigation was linked to the Snowflake investigation. Subsequently a criminal investigation was ordered against the detective involved. This investigation by the Special Investigation Unit concerning the detective involved has come to its conclusion. He will be prosecuted and will have to stand trial in the Court of First Instance of Curaçao by the end of September 2011.
During the Court hearing in the Snowflake case on December 14th 2010, the prosecutor at first demanded to have the cases declared inadmissible. The Court of First Instance at that time asked the Prosecutor’s Office for more information concerning the antedated report. During the March 23rd 2011 court session, the prosecutor has done just that. Although the criminal investigation by the Special Investigation Unit into the antedated report at that point was not finished yet, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, based on it’s own preliminary investigation results, came to the conclusion that the discovered antedating did not necessarily have to result in ceasing the prosecution. Reasons for this conclusion were the fact that the Prosecutor’s Office and Police themselves had discovered the antedating in the report and subsequently reported this to those involved, the interests of none of the suspects were violated by the antedating and no investigation was started nor any investigative means were used based on the contents of this (antedated) police report.
On August 24 2011 the judge followed the initial judgment of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and declared the prosecution against all suspects inadmissible. The Judge has considered that the detective who drafted the antedated report played a crucial role in both the “Snowflake” investigation and the “Benz” investigation and that the Public Prosecutor’s Office was unable to give an absolute guarantee that other reports by this detective would not contain any fraud.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office on Sint Maarten will not launch an appeal against the judge’s decision. Part of the reason is the fact that any further discussion in this case will primarily focus on the police and the Prosecutor’s Office, whereas criminal cases, in the opinion of this Office, should mainly focus on the suspects involved and the crimes they are prosecuted for.
The general confidence in the justice system as a whole would not be served by launching an appeal in this case.