No jail for suspended cop who kept his gun

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By Today Newspaper

GREAT BAY – The charges are proven but should this man still go back to prison? Who benefits from that?” Judge Yvonne Vanwersch observed yesterday before handing down her sentence to policeman Ashwin Rodney Wilfred Martina, who had failed to return a service weapon after he was suspended from the police force on July 13, 2011. The prosecution demanded 12 months of imprisonment, with 6 months suspended, but the court came to a milder conclusion: 12 months wholly suspended with 2 years of probation.

Martina was not present in court, according to his attorney Geert Hatzman because he was “probably not on the island.”

On July 13, 2011, Martina was called in by Internal Affairs of the police force. He was suspended and asked to surrender everything he had in his possession from the force, including his service weapon.

“He did not do this and he lied about it to the National Detective Agency,” prosecutor Karola van Nie told the court. He should have been a role model; this has everything to do with integrity.”

Martina was suspended in 2011 for three cases of ill-treatment he committed while he was off duty.

“In his favor is that he did not obtain the weapon illegally, that he has no prior convictions and that he did not carry the weapon on the streets. There are also no indications that he used it and on top the reasonable term has been exceeded,” the prosecutor said.

The civil court ruled on March 1 that Martina’s dismissal from the force is conditional. A conviction in criminal court could therefore affect his chances to return to active duty.

“It is reprehensible that he is not here today,” the prosecutor said. “He should have been here to explain himself and to take responsibility.”

Attorney Geert Hatzmann said that the prosecutor’s demand is not fitting, considering that the facts date back to 2011. “His job is at risk,” he pointed out.