PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten – The Court of Appeal handle on Dec 12, 2022, the court of appeal has convicted a woman for driving under the influence of alcohol and causing danger on the public road. This verdict overturns the one rendered by the Court of First Instance in November 2021.
Johanne Marrigje PLADDET (J.M.P.) has now been fined NAf 600 by the Court of Appeal for driving under the influence of alcohol, which resulted in a collision with a parked car. She has also had her driver’s licence probationary suspended for three months. For the offence of driving unsafely, she was fined NAf 300, an amount that was already levied against her by the Court of First Instance and reconfirmed by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of First Instance had acquitted J.M.P. of the charge, because the statements of the police officers responding to the incident of May 14, 2021 were deemed insufficient by the Court for a conviction. The Court of First Instance had ruled that the observations of the police officers could be explained by the woman’s statement in Court that she was injured in the accident, had allergies, and wore contact lenses.
The Prosecutor’s Office saw the case differently and entered an appeal based on the fact that driving while under influence is unsafe to everyone on the road, including the one who is incapacitated. Such an act should be taken seriously.
The Court of Appeal has now ruled that the police officers’ statements are clear and the woman’s explanation did not cancel these observations. The statements of the officers described her as being unsteady on her feet, having bloodshot eyes, and that her breath smelled of alcohol. The appeal also took note of J.M.P.’s own admission of having drunk multiple espresso martinis and one Carib beer.