Man who drove car at journalist given 80 hours’ community service


A man who attacked a journalist with his car in a confrontation outside a church service has been sentenced to 80 hours’ community service.

Jacob B., 35, was arrested on March 28 after he was filmed driving his silver BMW at PowNed reporter Mark Baanders, who was reporting from the Bible Belt community of Urk during the second coronavirus lockdown.

He told a court in Lelystad that he had not seen the reporter standing in the space when he parked his car, even though footage showed him ripping a microphone out of Baanders’ hand as soon as he stepped out of the vehicle.

‘You willingly and deliberately drove on and accepted the risk of seriously injuring the reporter,’ the judge said.

B., from Urk, was spared a harsher sentence because he was driving slowly at the moment of impact. ‘But it is dangerous to use a car in this manner,’ the judge commented.

Two brothers from Urk, Jelle and Lammert P., were given community sentences of 120 and 150 hours last week for assaulting the same reporter as he interviewed worshippers outside the church. Lammert P. was also ordered to pay €250 compensation to a cameraman whose equipment he damaged.

The service had attracted criticism in the media because 500 people were allowed to gather inside the church, in defiance of government social distancing restrictions.

Limits on numbers cannot be imposed on congregations because the Dutch constitution protects freedom of religious assembly. But in the wake of the uproar most church leaders agreed to comply with the limit of 30 people indoors and ban singing.


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