Monday, June 17, 2013

Dominican Republic: Update--Prosecutors Seeking 2-Year Jail Terms, US$100,000 for Air Ambulance

As a follow-up to my posting of June 15, the prosecution is seeking two-year jail terms for charges against Canadians Nick Miele, 34, and his cousin, Ben Constantini, 18, both of Stoney Creek. 

Court documents obtained by CBC News also reveal that in addition to the jail terms, prosecutors are also asking for $100,000 in damages against Miele and his cousin, Ben Constantini, due largely to the international medical evacuation of the Canadian victim who was seriously injured during his altercation with Miele and Constantini.

COMMENT: Under Dominican Republic law, criminal and civil cases can be linked together. In this case, two years in jail would be criminal while the $100,000 would be civil damages for the air ambulance. That amount is requested by the victim and presented to the court by the prosecution.

The injured Canadian who sustained trauma to the head, bruising and some superficial injuries at the hands of Miele and Constantini was medically evacuated shortly after the fight on May 28. 

As our readers will recall, I emphasized in my earlier posting that medical evacuations back to Canada can easily run into six figures.

As I have said so often in the past, foreign soil and excessive drinking rarely go together, which is why I strongly recommend that drinking be done in moderation when traveling abroad, given differing cultures, laws, social mores and legal systems.

Most people don't realize it, but it is relatively easy to get arrested in many countries, which is why I urge prudence, caution and avoiding trouble at all costs. Unfortunately, that failed to occur on May 28.

As Messrs. Miele and Constantini have discovered, they can be held in detention for up to 90 days while prosecutors prepare their case, given the potential for foreigners to summarily leave the country.

Sadly, for both Canadian parties, instinctive responses do have consequences.