82 people walk free because of justice ministry capacity problems

A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman
A Dutch courtroom. Photo: Odi Busman

Capacity problems at the public prosecution office in Noord Holland means 82 people suspected of ‘misdemeanors’ will now not face trial.

The suspects were supposed to appear before a judge in Haarlem on Thursday but their cases, dating from between 2010 and 2016, are expected to be filed as ‘inadmissable’ immediately.

Most of the suspects were to stand trial for what the OM deems relatively minor infractions, such as shoplifting and stealing a digger. One of the suspects was caught trying to smuggle €15,725 past customs in 2010.

‘We’re not happy about it but we hope to create more space for more serious and recent cases,’ a spokesman told local paper NH Nieuws. He said the cases are now so old that to prosecute a person for something minor would be inappropriate.

Some of the cases that have been dismissed have raised eyebrows, however. A man who used racist language and punched someone in the head will now go scot free as will a man who shoved a child against a wall.

‘It is true some cases of abuse are included,’ the spokesman said but they are what we call ‘simple assault’ cases. They are really very different from cases of serious assault.’

The victims in the 82 cases have been informed and none of them have registered a complaint about the matter, the department said. Demands for compensation will still be considered.

A court in The Hague recently dismissed 52 older cases following a request by the public prosecutor, also because of capacity problems.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation