Prosecutor requests permission from Joint Court to prosecute MP Heyliger

PHILIPSBURG--The Prosecutor of St. Maarten has requested a hearing with the Joint Court of Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten to seek permission to bring criminal charges against Member of Parliament (MP) Theodore Heyliger.
 
The behind-closed-doors hearing was set to take place on Tuesday afternoon, but was postponed to late August.
 
The Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment, as it concerned a case behind closed doors. However, The Daily Herald understands that the case has to do with vote-buying.
 
The Prosecutor’s Office needs permission from the Joint Court to bring criminal charges against a sitting MP. The same was done for unrelated cases involving former MP Silvio Matser and current MPs Chanel Brownbill and Frans Richardson.
 
Heyliger was never arrested, but he was interrogated by National Detective Agency (Landsrecherche) officials on August 7, 2017, in connection with the criminal case “Catfish.”
 
The Catfish investigation started in March 2013 after former MP Romain Laville filed an official complaint of attempted bribery to “jump ship.” A number of witnesses have been interrogated and important documents analysed. The leader of United People’s Party was interrogated for about five hours.
 
Of the 15 MPs elected in the February 26, 2018, election, Heyliger was the only one to earn his seat outright. He received 1,299 votes, more than the established seat quota. He was once again the highest vote-getter overall of the 93 candidates in the election.

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