Tuesday 05 July 2022

De Vries murder suspects want reduced sentence, aquittal

The two suspects in court. Photo: Aloys Oosterwijk ANP

Lawyers for the two men charged with the murder of crime journalist Peter R. de Vries want a lower sentence or full acquittal for their clients, arguing the prosecution overstated their involvement in the crime.

Wednesday’s hearing began with a statement from De Vries’ partner Tahmina Akefi, who told the court that she would never heal from the wound his murder left. ‘I haven’t found the words to describe that pain,’ she said. De Vries’ children made their victim impact statements last week.

Prosecutors say Delano G, a 22-year-old from Tiel, shot de Vries five times as he was walking to his car on the Leidsedwarsstraat in Amsterdam in July 2021 while 33-year-old Polish national Kamil E drove the getaway vehicle. Last week, the prosecution asked for a life sentence for both men.

Three hours notice

The prosecutors have argued that De Vries’ murder was part of a campaign to terrorise anyone involved in the trial of gangland leader Ridouan Taghi. At the time of his murder, he was helping a crown witness in the case.

But Delano G’s lawyers argued he didn’t even know how de Vries was. ‘The fact that Delano G was born in the Netherlands does not mean that he must have known,’ lawyer Ronald van der Horst argued. Van der Horst also told the court his client was only told 2.5 hours before the murder who his target was.

His lawyers also argued the life sentence was out of line with the crime. Anique Slijters pointed out that the 25-year sentence (the maximum possible in the Netherlands) is less than Anders Breivik received for killing 77 people in a terrorist attack in Norway.

Just a driver

Kamil E’s defense focused on his lack of involvement in the murder itself. His lawyers claimed that he merely drove Delano G to the city centre of Amsterdam and had no idea a murder was to take place.

‘Kamil E. had no role during the crime,’ Alexander Admiraal told the court.

At the end of the hearing, both men were allowed to address the court. Delano G only wished the family strength and did not want to say anything further. Kamil E, who spoke via an interpreter, was more verbose. “I have no blood on my hands, I am not a murderer,” he said. He told the court he wanted to return to his wife and four children.

The court will announce its verdict on July 14th.

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