Wilders Trial: court ruling May 23, 2011

Official press release from the Amsterdam courts about todays ruling in the trial agains Mr. Wilders:

Decisions of the Amsterdam district court of 23 May 2011 as regards the Wilders trial

Amsterdam, 23 May 2011 – In the criminal case against mr Wilders, the counsel for the defense lodged a defense with regard to the inadmissibility of the case. In summary, the following has been brought forward. The court of appeal that ordered the prosecution of Wilders, examined too extensively. The decision has a judgmental character.
Schalken, one of the judges at the Court of Appeal that reached this decision, has tried to influence an expert witness and the public debate. In addition, critical notes were placed as regards individuals who are engaged in the case.

A short summary of the most important decisions by the district court is set out below. For the complete text of the decisions, please consult www.rechtspraak.nl.

The decision as regards the procedure pursuant to section 12 Dutch Criminal Code
The court of appeal examined the decision in extenso as regards the decision of the Public Prosecution to refrain from prosecuting Wilders. The law allows this. In the proceedings with the court of appeal, the views of the public prosecutors, complainants and Wilders as regards the feasibility and possible prosecution of Wilders, were qualified in detail. In its extensive and thorough motivation of its judgment, the court of appeal did not operate beyond the legal limits of its duties. Furthermore, the law dictates that, in principle, the district court is not bound to the decision of the court of appeal.

Performance of Schalken vis-à-vis (expert) Jansen
The district court deems it plausible that at the time of the dinner, Schalken was aware of the fact that Jansen would be interviewed as an expert in the Wilders trial. It has not become plausible that Schalken tried to influence Jansen as regards the topic about which Jansen would be interviewed as expert: the Islam. The district court is of the opinion indeed that, in view of the reticence to be complied with in pending criminal cases, Schalken should have abstained from discussing the decision with Jansen who still had to be interviewed, even though at the time of his contact with Jansen, he did not play a formal role anymore in the criminal case and he would not play this role anymore either. Schalken, who had pronounced his judgment about the prosecution of the suspect as one of the judges at the Court of Appeal, should have prevented each possible appearance of interference in the principal case. However, section 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights has not been violated. The performance of Schalken vis-à-vis Jansen neither influenced the pending proceedings, nor was the picture formed that the suspect had already been convicted. Additionally, the position of the suspect was not injured by the performance of Schalken either.

Performance of Schalken vis-à-vis the public opinion
After the decision of the Court of Appeal had been reached and published, Schalken wrote an article and discussed the decision with publicist Scheffer.
Since the decision was already subject of public debate, Schalken did not fulfill any (formal) role in the Wilders trial and since it did not turn out that he brought forward more information than the contents of the decision, it cannot be determined that Schalken crossed any borders.

Performance of individuals engaged in justice
It cannot be deduced from the fact that individuals who are engaged in justice ventured an opinion on the Wilders trial, the right to a fair trial of Wilders has been violated. It has not turned out that these individuals ventured an opinion on the guilty/ innocence of the suspect.

Conclusion: the arguments of the defense do not result in the inadmissibility of the Public Prosecution.

The investigation at trial will be continued on 23 May 2011, shortly after the district court has announced the decisions as stated above. The court hearings, as known at present will be held on 25 and 27 May, both at 9.00 AM.

Source: District Court of Amsterdam
Date of topicality: 23 May 2011


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