Court acquits Bobby V. of rape charge

POSTED: 07/4/11 12:05 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance acquitted businessman Bobby V. of raping his 16-year old niece on March 7 of last year. At the trial on June 15, the prosecution demanded 18 months imprisonment, with 6 months suspended. Judge mr. M. Keppels rules yesterday that the court has its doubts about the charge. Based on this doubt, the defendant was acquitted.

There was no emotional scene at the court house during the reading of the verdict. The girl and her mother, who were present during the trial, did not attend yesterday. The girl’s father was there but he took the news without showing any signs of emotion. Bobby V.’s family members however showed their relief.

“While the court cannot exclude that an incident took place as the plaintiff has stated, proving it requires legal and convincing evidence. In case of reasonable doubt an acquittal is indicated,” the court ruled.

Judge Keppels wrote in her considerations that the girl had given a detailed description of what had taken place on March 7 of last year. “Next to the complaint there is supporting evidence in the shape of a text message the plaintiff sent with the text “help” and there are statements of among others her friend, parents, school counselor and psychiatrist. They state what the plaintiff told them and this corresponds more or less with her complaint.”

While Bobby V.’s attorney mr. J.G. Bloem shook his head in despair when the Judge read the first part of the verdict, he soon found himself in a better mood when mr. Keppels pointed out that apart from the complaint there is no other evidence that the defendant has committed the rape he is charged with. “The defendant denies and says that during the time the incident took place according to the plaintiff, he was in a meeting on his porch, that he took a bath after this meeting, shaved, and then left his house together with the plaintiff and his maid.”

The court concludes from the case file that Bobby V. left his boat on March 7 at around a quarter to six for a meeting with two others at his home. The meeting took place at six o’clock on his porch. “At that moment his maid was in the house already. The plaintiff came into the house during the meeting and went to the defendant’s office.

The court furthermore concludes that the meeting ended between seven and seven thirty and that Bobby V. afterwards went to his bathroom which is in his bedroom. The other participants in the meeting stayed for a short while longer and then left. When Bobby V. entered his bathroom the girl was still in his office. The maid also stayed in the house and put out clothing for the defendant.

The court also concludes that the defendant and the plaintiff left the house together with the maid and that Bobby V. and the girl drove to the girl’s house where they arrived around eight o’clock.

The court did not react in the verdict to allegations by defense attorney Bloem that the girl’s mother had angled for a $1.8 million out of court settlement. During trial, Bloem revealed that the mother had approached him. “She called me because she wanted to arrange a meeting with my client – to mediate. What is there to mediate if you don’t want money?” he said. “The options she put forth were that he would admit, that he would buy her three apartments for $1.5 million, or that he would leave everything up to God and the justice system. Later she said that the price had gone up and that she wanted $1.8 million.”

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