Judges say public prosecutors are too often handing out fines

Amsterdam’s appeal court. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Public prosecutors are too often levying fines on suspects, despite fears that the evidence in some cases is not up to scratch, the Council for the Judiciary has told the AD.

Since 2008, the public prosecution department has been allowed to hand out fines and community service sentences to some categories of traffic offence, for physical violence and shoplifting. The aim was to relieve pressure on the courts.

In 2014, public prosecutors dealt with 350,000 cases in this way, the paper said.

However, so many fines are now being handed out that judges fear justice is not always being served. And research has shown that in some cases, a court would have dismissed the charges or found the defendant not guilty because of a lack of evidence.

In one case later dismissed in court, a man was fined for deliberately damaging a fence by driving his car into it. However, there was no evidence of damage on the car. In another, a woman had admitted to shoplifting although she could not say what day of the week the incident took place.

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