Citizens’ panel leads to higher sentences

The public prosecution department is to increase sentences for some offences such as racist violence and aggressive driving, following a two-year consultation process with ordinary citizens.

Chief prosecutor Harm Brouwer says in interviews in Trouw and De Pers that the sentences for aggressive driving will go up by 25%, while the sentences for racist violence or threatening behaviour will increase by 50%.
The decision is the result of two years of talks between officials and citizens’ panels, debates and discussion.
Brouwer said it is important that there is a dialogue between his department and ordinary people. ‘You do not need to have studied law to be able to talk about sentencing,’ he was quoted as saying.
Not all the public’s suggestions have been adopted, he said. For example, suggestions that someone with an illegal stiletto should be given a warning were dismissed. ‘A stiletto is a weapon and you should not be carrying one. A simple warning is not enough,’ Brouwer said.
And people should be given better information about how public prosectors reach their sentencing demands, he said.
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