Fine for hiding firearm

POSTED: 11/30/14 11:01 PM

St. Maarten – The Court in First Instance sentenced Taj José Morille to a 1,200 guilders fine yesterday for – briefly – being in the possession of a gun, but mainly for hiding evidence of firearm possession from the police. If Morille does not pay the fine he will have to spend 24 days in jail.

On February 4, Morille witnessed an accident whereby a biker fell on the street and a weapon fell out of his pocket. Upon the request of the traffic accident victim, 23-year-old Morille picked up the weapon, crossed the street, entered an office and hid the gun in a desk drawer.

Morille was not present in court yesterday morning because, according to his attorney Geert Hatzmann, he had to work. Prosecutor Maarten Noordzij noted that the defendant had had the weapon only briefly in his possession and that he had spent 3 days behind bars. He demanded a 6-month conditional prison sentence with 3 years of probation and 120 hours of community service.

Hatzmann said that his client acknowledged he should not have done what he did. “It is actually amazing that he did it, because he did not now the traffic victim at all. He decided to do this on the spurt of the moment. It was a very stupid thing to do, but a demand of 6 months conditional is going too far.”

Referring to another firearm-possession court ruling, the attorney suggested that 2 months conditional with 40 hours of community service would be enough.

Judge Rick Smid noted that there is no law on precedents and that every case is judged on its own merits. He sentenced Morille to a 1,200 guilders ($670) fine or 24 days in prison in case he does not pay. “We won’t see that one here again,” the judge said,  adding “And I do not say that very often.”

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