Fear of the gendarme made him go crazy

A man appeared before the Saint-Martin criminal court on Thursday for having refused to comply asked to pull over by the gendarmes.

A 37-year old man was returning to his home in Cul de Sac at the wheel of a rental car registered on the Dutch side and belonging to his parents’ company. He hadn’t fastened his safety belt, a detail that the motorcycle policemen didn’t miss when he took the Hope Estate roundabout. So, they followed him in order to make him pull over. Instead of slowing down and pulling over, the motorist accelerated. But he was caught once again a few meters away. The vehicles were then stuck in the middle of the road due to a traffic jam.

The motorist again refused to comply. He backed up a dozen meters and passed into first gear, accelerated and hit one of the two gendarmerie motorcycles. "A few centimeters closer and he could have seriously injured me", said the motorcycle policeman whose colleague was also in danger. The motorist was therefore prosecuted for refusal to comply and endangering the life of a law enforcement officer.

After having damaged the motorcycle, the man fled and hid at his house, at a few hundred meters from where the incident took place. Which caused him to also be prosecuted for a hit-and-run.

Before the Court, the first question asked by the judge was: "Why didn’t you stop the first time?". The defendant replied: "because I was afraid". “Afraid of what?... The gendarmes?” asked the judge. Indeed, it appears that he panicked.

He also said that he was frightened when the gendarmes arrived at his home a few minutes after the incident. Indeed, the defendant is someone who is known in the neighborhood and it didn’t take the gendarmes a long time to identify and arrest him. When they knocked on the door, the man - who was just behind it - didn’t open it. "I was there... but I was scared," he said to the judge with his arms shaking. The soldiers entered by force and a new altercation broke out. And therefore he was charged a third time for violence on law enforcement officers.

The second question asked by the judge was: "Why were you afraid of the gendarmes?" The man was unable to answer. His lawyer then tried to provide some elements to explain his behavior. "My client had a scooter accident and since then, he does not have all of his faculties ," he said while reading two observations from a physician’s report, according to which his client suffers from a "a state of anxiety and an overall slow behavior". The lawyer therefore wished that a more in-depth psychological analysis would have been performed. "When he saw the gendarmes, he went crazy," he simply explained.

Other elements that play against the motorist: he was tested for drugs (but was not under their influence when driving) and he didn’t have a French or European driver’s license, but a license from Sint Maarten.

The Deputy Prosecutor requested an eight month prison sentence, including a four month suspended sentence with eight months of probation and provisional enforcement, with the obligation to receive therapy and compensate the victim. The judgment was adjourned until June 30. The gendarme who was on the motorcycle that was hit, filed a civil suit and asked for 1000 euros for damages.


Estelle Gasnet