Court rejects request to take brothel owner into custody

PHILIPSBURG--The Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday filed a request at the Court of First Instance for cancellation of the suspension of the pre-trial detention of brothel owner Etienne “Tochi” Meyers (66) and manager D.F.F. (56).
On Monday the Judge, however, did not find any grounds to grant the Prosecutor’s request.
In what the defence called a surprise move in the Pompei investigation, the Prosecutor said last week the crimes allegedly committed against 42 women working at El Capitan and Le Petit Chateau brothels merited taking the two main suspects into custody again.
Le Petit Chateau and El Capitan brothels were raided on November 1, 2016. During the police raid metal fences had to be forced open to get to the sleeping quarters, where 22 illegal prostitutes were found locked up.
Meyers and D.F.F. were released for medical reasons in December 2016 on orders of the Joint Court of Justice. According to the Prosecutor, the charges were serious enough to warrant their re-arrest.
Together with assistant managers R.R. and L.M.R., Meyers and D.F.F. are charged with human trafficking, exploitation of brothel workers, deprivation of liberty, and illegal employment. These crimes were allegedly committed between January 2014 and November 2016.
In stating that the medical reasons for release were only temporary, the Prosecutor made a plea with the Judge to cancel the suspension of Meyers’ and D.F.F.’s pre-trial detention.
On Monday, the Judge said there were no grounds to grant the Prosecutor’s request. The Judge found that the suspects’ substantiated state of health still needed to prevail over the Prosecutor’s interest in putting the two behind bars again.
In making this decision, the Court also took into consideration that under the current circumstances there was insufficient clarity about the medical treatment of inmates at Pointe Blanche prison. The Court proceedings in this case will continue February 21, 2018.
The Daily Herald

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