Dutroux's police 'protector' cleared

31st May 2005, Comments 0 comments

31 May 2005, BRUSSELS – The chief police constable who has spent a decade being labelled the ‘protector’ of Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux has had his name cleared.

31 May 2005

BRUSSELS – The chief police constable who has spent a decade being labelled the ‘protector’ of Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux has had his name cleared.

On Tuesday, news agency Belga reported that Georges Zicot had been found not guilty of being an accomplice to Dutroux.

Nivelles court cleared him on Monday afternoon of charges of corruption, of being part of a criminal gang and of handling stolen goods.

He was charged as far back as 1996 for allegedly working with Dutroux and others to steal and resell cars.

The Nivelles judge said Zicot had been prosecuted with "excessive zeal" and said the investigation had lasted far too long.

The radio group RTL said the judgment gave the lie to one of the popular conspiracy theories surrounding Dutroux – that he had been protected from prosecution by a policeman with power.

Prosecutors had claimed Zicot failed to properly report a stolen lorry hidden in a hangar that Dutroux hired to a man called Gerard Pinon.

He fabricated a police document and a fake parking ticket in order to tell the owner the lorry had been found on the public highway.

During his trial, which opened on 11 April, though, the court accepted Zicot’s explanation that his actions were necessary to protect Pinon, a police informer, and concluded he had in no way acted unethically.

Dutroux, who was not present in court, was convicted for stealing and reselling cars, but the judge ruled that since he is serving a life term in Arlon for murder, rape and kidnapping, it was pointless giving him a further sentence.

Zicot was found guilty of two charges of faking private invoices, along with a garage owner, in order to lower his taxes. He exaggerated a bill for repairing his car by about EUR 1,000 and pretended he sold a car to the same garage owner for less than he actually received.

However, Zicot said he was relieved to have finally been cleared of any criminal relationship with Dutroux.

"I’m now going to start to live again after a life that’s been suspended for 12 years," he said. "For 12 years no one has wanted to believe me. The judicial truth is now there."

His lawyer Jean-Philippe Mayence said he saw no reason why his client could not now return to his job as chief constable of the crime section of Brussels’ federal police force.

The court also convicted the garage owner and two other men for stealing a lorry, but did not punish them for the offences given the delay in bringing the case to trial.

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Subject: Belgian news

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