New guidelines for robbery with violence in effect June 1

The Attorney- General has issued new guidelines to the Prosecutor’s Offices of Curaçao, St. Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands regarding “robbery with violence”, writes The Daily Herald.

According to the new guideline, which goes into effect as of June 1, if a suspect commits extortion or robbery with violence within five years of receiving a guilty verdict, that suspect’s punishment will be increased by one-third. Under the new guideline, robbery and/or extortion committed by two or more persons will be viewed as being “aggravating circumstances” during sentencing. The use of any weapon will count as an aggravating circumstance in sentencing.

The punitive measures will increase if a robbery is committed in a house/home, and if a vulnerable person such as the elderly, disabled, a juvenile or a pregnant woman is a victim the punishment will increase by one-third. Additional guidelines are that if a robbery is committed on a tourist, the punitive measures will increase by one-third.

According to a press release, robbery with violence is considered a very serious crime, often with severe consequences for the victims. The communities in Curaçao, St. Maarten and increasingly in Bonaire are regularly shaken severely by these violent crimes, the release noted. In Saba and St. Eustatius thefts with violence have had “serious impacts” on these small communities. The Attorney-General said the number of violent attacks was increasing on some islands. “The overall level of security within the society decreases and the call for appropriate ac tion by Justice increases.

The adaptation of existing guidelines related to thefts with violence and extortion is a reaction of the Attorney- General to the call from society for the penalties for committing violent robberies to be heavier.”

The full text of the new guidelines can be found at http://www.openbaarministerie. org/en/st-maarten/ publications .

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