Witness Intimidation Allegation In Hillbroom Case
DHL founder`s son Larry Imeong Hillbroom`s full violation of probation hearing has been postponed until the end of this month, as a key witness was unavailable to attend a court hearing earlier this week. At a short session earlier this week, the Supreme Court in Koror also dealt with unrelated allegations that Hillbroom`s mother had intimidated a witness.
Earlier this year, a plea deal had allowed Hillbroom to escape immediate incarceration after he pled guilty to criminal conspiracy in relation to drugs. The deal had drawn widespread social and political condemnation, including from President Remengesau. Hillbroom had originally found himself in trouble with the law after he had been caught in a meth-related buy-bust operation by the Narcotics Enforcement Agency last year.
Hillbroom was re-arrested last month after allegedly failing a drug test that was a mandatory part of the 10-year sentence of probation under the terms of his plea agreement.
At a hearing on Tuesday afternoon, a judge at the Supreme Court in Koror granted a motion to postpone the full violation of probation hearing in Hillbroom`s case until 1pm on Monday August 27th. The judge’s decision came after it emerged that a medical doctor, who was described by defence counsel for Hillbroom as a “necessary witness”, was unable to attend the hearing to testify for scheduling reasons.
Tuesday afternoon’s court hearing also saw legal argument around the question of whether Hillbroom’s mother had intimidated an unrelated witness in the case.
Public prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office alleged that on the day of that hearing, Hillbroom’s mother had visited the place of work of a lab technician involved in the drug test. For their safety and security, the Island Times has chosen not to name the lab technician. Hillbroom’s mother, prosecutors claimed, had behaved aggressively and accused the technician of treating her son poorly.
Defence counsel for Larry Imeong Hillbroom noted that even if the conduct described were to have taken place, the young man had ‘nothing to do with it’.
The judge stated that allegations of witness intimidation are a very serious matter, and will not be tolerated. She reminded the defendant, his agents or close relatives to have no contact with the witnesses in this case. Defence counsel for Hillbroom later expressed to the court an apology on behalf of Hillbroom’s mother for the events that had taken place. There is no suggestion of a connection between the decision to postpone the hearing and the alleged witness intimidation.
If Hillbroom is found by a judge to have violated the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for a significant amount of time. (Colin C. Cortbus)