721 News director sentenced for insulting police officers

PHILIPSBURG--Director of 721 News website Gromyko Wilson was sentenced Tuesday to a conditional fine of NAf. 1,500, on three years’ probation, for insulting two on-duty police officers and for defaming them on Facebook.
 
The Joint Court acquitted “The Real Paparazzi” of having deliberately mistreated two officers while reporting on a fatal traffic accident at L.B. Scott Road on August 13, 2018.
 
  On October 24, 2018, the Court of First Instance had sentenced Wilson to 40 hours of community service, 20 of which were suspended, on two years’ probation, for insults and defamation of the officers.
 
  Wilson, who was not present to hear the verdict, had been summoned to appear before a Judge to answer charges of insult, exertion of violence against on-duty police officers and disobedience of police orders.
 
  According to a police report, Wilson allegedly declined to follow police orders and disregarded a police barrier tape reading, “Police line, do not cross,” at the scene of the accident. He refused to comply with orders to stand behind the barrier tape and to give the emergency services personnel some room, the police said.
 
  According to the indictment, Wilson had called out to two Dutch police officers on the scene, telling them: “Motherf******, Dutch police think they can do what they want. It does not work like that over here, you don’t know who I am. You will be back in the plane to the Netherlands tomorrow,” and “You do not decide where I stand and what I do.”
 
  He was arrested and allegedly resisted the two officers, who wanted to take him to the police station, by starting a fight with them. According to one of the officers, Wilson injured his left index finger and scratched his right arm and hand during the altercation, for which he was treated at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).
 
  The Joint Court stated in the verdict that it could not be excluded that Wilson had accidentally injured the officer during a wrestling after his arrest and said there was no proof of deliberate intent.
 
  It was, however, held against the journalist that he had published photos on Facebook with “unnecessarily grievous insults.” In this light, the Joint Court considered the penalty as meted out by the Lesser Court too “light.”
 
The Daily Herald

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