Hearing in child-porn case scheduled for September 19

PHILIPSBURG--On September 19, the Court of First Instance will be handling the case of a 59-year-old suspect charged with the possession of child pornography.
 
The man of Scottish descent is also suspected of having committed lewd acts with his six-year-old daughter and with two other minor girls, ages 12 to16 years. C.K. will also be confronted with possession of 197 grams of cocaine, 36 Molotov cocktails and seven boxes with stolen jewellery, including diamonds and emeralds.
 
During a preliminary hearing held March 21, the Prosecutor said many data carriers, such as mobile phones, with child-porn material displaying underage children of different ages had been confiscated.
 
The suspect admitted to the possession of cocaine, but vehemently denied the other charges.
 
Like she had done during the March hearing, attorney-at-law Shaira Bommel on Wednesday again requested that the Court lift or suspend her client’s pre-trial detention.
 
   The Judge denied the request to end the suspect’s pre-trial detention, as his personal interests do not weigh up against the serious allegations brought against him.
 
The suspect is charged with possession of child pornography between December 2015 and December 2017, but according to the defence the material could also have belonged to one of the suspect’s employees, as C.K. held office at his home and several co-workers also had access to her client’s computer network.
 
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, C.K. had confessed on December 29, 2017, to having sent videos to some of his friends. One of the videos shows a man with an amputated leg. This proves the defendant, whose left leg is amputated, had spread material of a pornographic nature, the Prosecutor claimed. The Prosecutor’s Office is also of the opinion that the suspect has produced child porn.
 
Bommel said her client has also been involved in a civil case in which he was banned from any contact with his young daughter.
 
During Wednesday’s procedural hearing it emerged that several witnesses are still to be heard by an Investigating Judge. Upon Bommel’s request the older victims will also be heard to establish their exact ages when the alleged crimes were committed.
 
Requests by the defence to have the young victim questioned by a youth psychologist with expertise in interviewing young victims was declined because of the child’s tender age and because such an expert cannot be found in St. Maarten.
 
As the child is currently under treatment of a psychologist, the Court left the possibility open to hear this person as an expert-witness in this case.
 
According to Bommel, her client is “surprised” by the charges against him, which, she said are merely based on “indirect” evidence.
 
The lawyer claimed there is no evidence of illicit sexual acts and of the possession of child pornography. She said there was also no proof of the possession of Molotov cocktails. “The crates with empty bottles found with my client are not suitable for threat,” she stated.
 
The Daily Herald

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