The Common Court of Justice (Hof), on Thursday, October 29th, ruled against the claim of the Attorney General (PG) to prosecute MP Mr. C.T. Emmanuel for among other accusations, abuse of function in connection with the issuance of leasehold property. The legislator has determined that if the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) wishes to prosecute a political authority, they must seek an order to that effect from the Court. This procedure serves as a guarantee for a thorough prosecution decision in such cases.

In its decision to reject the claim of the Attorney General, the Court of Appeal considered that the results of the investigation may raise questions about the state of affairs regarding the issuance of certain leasehold property on country Sint Maarten, more specifically with regard to the manner and extent of the defendant’s involvement in this matter. However, according to the Court of Appeal, the results of the investigation are insufficient to substantiate the suspicion that the suspect is 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.

Naturally, the Public Prosecution Service is disappointed with the result. 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 Appeal, 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 favoritism on the other hand.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office is therefore considering the consequences of the verdict.