Court bemoans lack of TBS-facilities

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Source Today Newspaper

GREAT BAY – TBS, a measure that puts convicts at the disposal of the government (for instance for mandatory psychiatric treatment) cannot be imposed in St. Maarten. This appears from the court case that involved an 18-year old boy who had broken into the zoo on arch road where he stole $300.

The public prosecutor had put its demand for the execution of a previous verdict against the young burglar nevertheless on the court schedule yesterday. That verdict contained a TBS-measure against the youngster. The prosecutor asked the court not to execute this verdict – for the simple reason that this is not possible.

“TBS requires specialist facilities and they are lacking in St. Maarten,” the prosecutor pointed out. We cannot impose this measure and we cannot send him to the Miss Lalie Center either because he is 18. The prosecutor’s office has previously indicated the need to create the conditions that make executing a TBS-measure possible. That is an important task for the government.”

Thus the defendant was caught between a rock and a hard place, because the court did feel the need to send him a message. With TBS and the Miss Lalie center out of the equation, a prison sentence seemed the only solution.

Defense attorney Geert Hatzmann pointed to the defendant who could easily pass for a 12-year old kid. “Sending him to Pointe Blanche is asking for trouble,” he said. “I have to sound the alarm here; my client is guilty but because the government falls short the TBS-measure cannot be executed. This boy will become a prey in Pointe Blanche. Do not throw him to the wolves.”

The judge agreed with the prosecutor and the attorney that there is a need for TBS-facilities. “The community needs this, but there are no facilities in St. Maarten,” he said. “Besides, the 2015 verdict was wrong because TBS cannot be imposed here.”

The reason for the latter position is that the articles in the penal code that allow the imposition of TBS-measures have not gone into effect yet, most likely because the facilities that are needed for it are not there.