PHILIPSBURG–The Court of First Instance heard the case of a forty-year-old man suspected of involvement in a non-fatal shooting in St. Peters. On Wednesday, suspect S.O.S. denied he was the man who had pulled a gun and had fired one shot at a man outside a bar in the area.
Police patrols, paramedics and forensic officers were sent to the junction of St. Peters Road and Apricot Road just after midnight on Sunday, December 2, 2018, to investigate a shooting. A man was shot in his upper body and left on the street at the junction.
The victim, who was seriously wounded, was immediately treated by paramedics and taken to St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and the hospital in French St. Martin for further medical treatment.
According to police investigations, the shooter and the victim were involved in an argument about the drug trade. The victim, the bar’s proprietor and other witnesses identified the shooter as being the man from St. Kitts who lived across from the bar, whom they knew as “Chucky”.
The defendant said his nickname was not “Chucky” but “Chalky”, but his St. Kitts passport was found under the bed in the house across the street and clothing similar to that worn by the shooter was also found there.
S., who is being held in pre-trial detention for seven months, proclaimed his innocence and said that he had not been near the bar that December day, which he said he had spent with his grandmother in Rambaud, French St. Martin.
No firearm or bullets were found on the crime scene and no technical evidence, such as the defendant’s fingerprints or DNA, was secured.
However, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, witnesses had provided accurate descriptions of the shooter, whom they had positively identified on police photographs.
The Prosecutor considered attempted manslaughter proven. She said the defendant was lying and said that the victim had admitted that they had a confrontation about their being competitors in the drug trade that day.
Attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel maintained her client’s innocence and said there was insufficient evidence in the case file to regard her client as the perpetrator.
She said that the police investigation was only aimed at S. “The police followed the first trace too soon, despite my client’s denials. They failed to check his phone and did not investigate the DNA on the clothes that were found,” Bommel said in pleading for the suspect’s acquittal.
The lawyer dismissed the witness statements as being “unreliable and based on rumours,” and branded the police investigations as being “very lax.”
and his lawyer both also claimed that he could not have been the shooter as he could not use his right index finger to pull the trigger as the tendons in that finger were severed. The Court will give its decision November 13.