PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The pro forma hearing for the suspect D.L. in the so-called DRACO case started today with the defense, consisting of attorneys Peggy Ann Brandon and Safira Ibrahim presenting investigative wishes to the court for approval.
D.L. is suspected of tax fraud which in simple terms means failure to file taxes for her company within the stipulated timeframe and/or for incorrectly filing the taxes for the company, at least those are the allegations in a nutshell.
Noteworthy is that contrary to previous cases, the company was not summoned to appear in court to stand trial, but rather its managing director solely.
The defense attorneys presented several investigative wishes, of which the most import ones were accepted by the court. Attorney Safira Ibrahim presented the arguments supporting the investigative wishes.
In her arguments outlining the need to hear witnesses from the Tax Office, Ms. Brandon referred to a recent email correspondence from the court recorder to the Prosecutor in which the court recorder requested that the prosecutor provide the court recorder with the laws that are relevant for the charges that were brought against the suspect. This request from the court recorder confirmed that the court too is of the opinion that the tax aspects of this case need to be focused on, even if the request is peculiar as all laws are published online.
Following the presentation of arguments, the judge decided that the accountant who prepared the tax filings for the suspect’s company, along with four of the company’s subcontractors will be heard in the case. The outcome of these hearing may require a chief official from the tax department to be heard as well on a report prepared by him.
The case will be handled on January 11 and 12, 2021 at the Court of First Instance in Sint Maarten in an in person session as stated as the preference by Judge Stephan van Lieshout who presided over the session this morning via videoconference.
Three other suspects S.J.M. – G.F. and L.J.J, who were not in Court today are expected to stand trial as well in the DRACO case.