The three judges hearing the inciting hatred case against PVV leader Geert Wilders which collapsed last year were unprepared for the media pressure surrounding the case, according to an independent report into the debacle.
The judges were not sufficiently aware of the intense scrutiny they would come under from politicians, the media and on internet, the report, commissioned by the Amsterdam justice department, said. The trial of the MP was broadcast live on television.
The trial collapsed late October last year after a string of irregularities which legal officials said could be deemed prejudicial to Wilders.
The collapse, following a second challenge from Wilders’ legal team, had a serious effect on the three judges, who felt their integrity had been called into question, the report said.
Bram Moszkowicz, Wilders’ media-friendly lawyer, told television talk show Pauw & Witteman on Monday night that media pressure is not an excuse for the court’s failings.
Judges faced with major cases should be able to withstand all the extra attention focused upon them, he said.
Three new judges have been appointed to hear the case again, and proceedings are due to start on February 7, news agency ANP said.