Venezuelan robbers in Court for second time this morning

This morning the second ‘pro-forma’ court session took place against 6 Venezuelan and 1 local suspect in the case of a house robbery, leading to the unfortunate death of Police Officer Ferdinand Bakx.

At a quarter past nine this morning in the courtroom of Fort Oranje in Kralendijk, the court case resumed against a total of seven suspects in the case of house robbery in the Sabadeco neighborhood in August last year. Police officer Ferdinand (Ferry) Bakx who arrived at the scene to provide assistance to the victims lost his life through bullets fired off by the suspects in this case. Examinations have shown that the office was shot in the head and back.

The lawsuit this morning is the second so-called ‘pro-forma hearing’ in this case. The in-depth trial of the case will take place in May of this year.

Four of the in total six Venezuelan suspects were attending the proceedings via live video streaming in the Netherlands, where they are currently detained for safety reasons. The rest of the accused were physically present in the Court room, including local suspect Zaragosa who did not appear in the first pro-forma session. The press, which turned up in surprisingly small numbers, had to settle for a place on the square of Fort Oranje, where the pro-forma session was streamed live for the reporters.

The session this morning gave the Public Prosecutor’s Office (OM) the opportunity to make changes to the exact charges in this case. The judge indicated that reports drawn up by the Dutch Forensic Institute (NFI) and reports which were made by a psychologist and a psychiatrist were in the meantime received by the Court. Suspect Perrez did not want to cooperate with psychological or psychiatric examination; as such there are no reports about him.

Prosecutor Antoinette Doedens indicated that she wanted to bring some changes to the indictments presented during the first court session which took place in December 2016. One of the changes is that only suspect Mitsael Gutierrez will actually be charged with intentional homicide for the shooting of Agent Bakx. The other defendants will be charged, among others, for robbery with violence, leading in the death of the police officer.

Local suspect Zaragosa is also charged with human smuggling. In addition, he will be charged as accessory to the other offenses committed, as well as involvement in planning another of another robbery and preparation of the hostage taking of the De Jong family. Zaragosa, among others, arranged transportation, housing, food and weapons for the actual perpetrators of the attack on the house to Sabadeco. All suspects will also be given possession of weapons and cartridges dependents.

The most chilling detail of the session this morning was that the robbery on the family in Sabadeco, mainly took place to generate money needed for more complex robberies and a hostage taking the culprits had planned to execute on the island.

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