By Today Newspaper
GREAT BAY – Retired notary Francis Gijsbertha got off relatively light in the Eco Green trial with just 240 hours of community service. But the court made a firm dent in the former notary;s reputation with the conviction for the forgery of the deed that transferred the economic ownership of a piece of land on Pond Island from the Buncampers to Eco Green, the forgery of the commercial lease agreement between Eco Green and St. Maarten Building supplies, and the forgery of a mortgage deed.
“The suspect has forged a deed for the delivery of economic ownership, a lease agreement and a mortgage deed, by including false clauses in these documents that could be used by others.”
“The suspect has shamed the trust the community puts in him as a notary. A notary has to take an impeccable position and he has to act that way as well. The community must be able to rely on the fact that a deed drafted by a notary is correct. The general trust in a notary has been seriously damaged by the defendant.”
While the court considered a prison sentence in itself justified, it considered that the case is relatively old; it also considered Gijsbertha’s age of 71 and the fact that he does not have prior convictions.
The court sentenced Gijsbertha to 240 hours of community service, to be completed within a year; in case of non-compliance the community service will be replaced by 120 days of imprisonment.