Belligerent blogger gets conditional fine


Court Case by Today Newspaper

~ For insulting policeman and attorney ~

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten –A belligerent Judith Roumou left the courthouse yesterday morning in a huff after Judge Rick Smid sentenced her to a conditional 750 guilders fine for insulting a policeman as well as attorney Geert Hatzmann in the crudest of terms that we won’t repeat here.

The 40-year old blogger created a little havoc in the courtroom by claiming that she had been kept from having an attorney for five months, that her rights were being violated and that the insults she is accused of having served on het victims were “all lies.”

Judge Smid had to tell Roumou several times to keep quiet. “You are also free to leave and then we will handle your case in absentia,” he said.

Roumou kept declaring in a loud voice that “her rights were being violated” without explaining what exactly she meant by it, until she finally more or less slowed down.

Prosecutor Karola van Nie noted that Roumuo’s first attorney had been the attorney on call, Zylena Bary. After she dropped her representation, the court appointed Cor Merx, but that was not to the liking of the defendant either and she dropped him.

“You could have found a lawyer yourself,” the judge concluded.

“The defendant has had plenty of time to find a lawyer,” prosecutor Van Nie said. “We will simply be able to handle this case today.”

Van Nie said that there is a second court case pending against Roumou, but that this case is complex, also due to the fact that the blogger does not have an attorney. This complicates hearing her about the complaints that have been filed against her for, among others, stalking, threats and extortion.

The prosecutor considered the unprintable insults to the policeman and to the attorney proven, based on their complaints and witness statements.

“Everybody is entitled to being addressed in a respectful way,” Van Nie said. “I did not come up with that idea, it is in the law. Roumou also has to abide by the law. There are limits to what you can say to or write about others and she will have to abide by that. Roumou is not above the law. Insulting the competent authorities, like a policeman, is an aggravating circumstance. This was pure slander.”

The prosecutor demanded a fine of 750 guilders, or 15 days of detention in case of non-payment.

After she had calmed down a bit, Roumou apologized to the court for being rude.

“I can see that you are angry,” Judge Smid said in a pacifying tone.

“I spoke patois and what I said is not offensive to me,” the blogger said, then adding, “I do not work. How can I pay a fine?”

Judge Smid considered the charges proven based on the available evidence. “I am going to give you a fine if you do this again. Others can feel insulted by what you say. The standard of Mrs. Roumou does not apply here.”