COURT: Two years in prison for driving a scooter into a police officer at Sandy Ground


A 24-year-old young man was sentenced last Friday by the Saint-Martin local court to two years in prison for deliberately driving into and hitting a gendarme stationed at Sandy Ground during an anti-fraud operation.

The defendant, JB, born in Saint-Martin, was tried Friday morning at 9 a.m. in immediate appearance for violence against a soldier of the national gendarmerie followed by incapacity exceeding 8 days (120 days, editor's note) aggravated by a circumstance, driving a motorized land vehicle without insurance, hit-and-run after an accident by the driver of a land vehicle and endangering others (immediate risk of death or disability) by manifestly deliberate violation of a regulatory safety obligation or caution.

The individual arrives at court handcuffed and under escort. The matter is serious. Many comrades of the victim, a mobile gendarmerie warrant officer, aged 33, married and father of a young child, are present in the courtroom. All of them are still deeply marked by the traumatic scene they experienced on that famous Tuesday, December 5 at Sandy Ground. It’s around 20:15 p.m. A major gendarmerie system is set up as part of a CODAF operation (Departmental Anti-Fraud Operational Committees) in a drinking establishment. A diversion is then installed just after the bridge to facilitate the work of investigators.

“I thought it was a robbery”

Despite this driving ban, the driver of a scooter takes the public road and deliberately rushes into a police officer to force his way. The videos shown by the Public Prosecutor during the hearing speak for themselves as the shock is extremely violent.

Questioned by the president of the court, Françoise Mariaux, the defendant evokes a version of the facts that is surprising to say the least. “I saw men dressed in black in the distance. I thought it was a robbery,” he said. These explanations are far from convincing the president. The latter pointed out to the defendant that the public road was well lit and that the gendarme had a fluorescent flash to signal his presence on the road. No matter, the pilot goes straight ahead and hits the soldier head-on at a speed estimated between 50 and 60km/h.

Head to prison

During the impact, the driver of the two-wheeler fell to the ground and immediately fled on foot while the soldier, seriously injured, was taken care of by his comrades before the firefighters and SMUR arrived. Another gendarme takes out his service weapon and tries to arrest the individual. A chase then begins but the author of the accident manages to escape into a dark alley. Failing to get his hands on it, the gendarme found his phone on the ground. This allows the driver to be quickly identified. Meanwhile, JB reaches his home in Friar's Bay by scooter  thanks to his “knowledge” about Sandy Ground. It was finally only the morning after the events that he presented himself to the Savane gendarmerie. Placed in police custody, he told investigators that he did not want to harm the gendarme. A version which hardly convinces the judges either.

The court follows the requisitions of the public prosecutor and sentences JB  of all the facts with which he is accused. He was sentenced to two years in prison with a committal warrant and the confiscation of his scooter. The determination of compensation based on civil interest is scheduled for April 16, 2024 (the gendarme is requesting the sum of 100 euros in damages due to the seriousness of his injuries and its consequences for the rest of his professional career, editor's note) .

Victim of four open fractures of the tibia, the gendarme, BS had to undergo emergency surgery the same evening of the accident. He must be repatriated to mainland France in the coming days for further surgical interventions. _AF

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