When a criminal offence is brought to the attention of the Sint Maarten Police Corps a case file is created and an investigation is conducted into the matter. The investigation often includes hearing the suspect(s) and witnesses to the crime. At the end of the investigation the Public Prosecutor’s Office receives a final report (process-verbal).
There are some cases where the severity of the crimes committed demands that the offender is immediately placed under arrest or be held in pre-trial detention. In such cases the Public Prosecutor’s Office is promptly informed of the offence and the investigation continues during the period of pre-trial detention.
After the file is received by the Public Prosecutor’s Office it is reviewed and a decision is made on how the case will be further handled. The decision can be made to bring a case to trial, to issue a transaction or to dismiss a case.
Once a decision to bring a case to trial has been made, a summons is issued, which explains the charges brought against a suspect and notes the date and time of the trial. A trial may be completed in one court session or multiple sessions. After a trial is concluded the judge then issues a verdict. The verdict may be issued immediately or at a later date. After receiving the verdict, the suspect and the Public Prosecution Office has two weeks to appeal.
Within two weeks after the judge has issued a verdict, a copy of the judgement is provided to the Public Prosecution Office. If the suspect is not present when the verdict is given, then the Public Prosecution Office issues a copy to the suspect.
After the period to appeal has passed, the court issues an extract of the verdict. With this extract the Public Prosecution Office can enforce the execution of the verdict. If the suspect is sentenced to detention and is already in pre-trial detention he/she continues to sit out the sentence. If the suspect is not in pre-trial detention then a request is sent to the Police Department to track and arrest the suspect so that he/she sit out their prison sentence. This is providing that there is enough capacity at the house of detention.