'Vigilante' jeweller on trial over robber's death
10 February 2006, BRUSSELS — A Kortrijk jeweller who shot and killed a robber three years ago has been ordered to stand trial.
10 February 2006
BRUSSELS — A Kortrijk jeweller who shot and killed a robber three years ago has been ordered to stand trial.
Manuel Scheldeman fired his weapon at several robbers as they were committing a ram-raid theft at his Kortrijk jewellery on the Lange Steenstraat in June 2003.
One of the culprits, a Serbian gangster, was killed. A second man was severely wounded, while a third escaped. One of the culprits recently escaped from jail.
Scheldeman has since been charged with manslaughter. The official allegation states he intentionally caused an injury that led to death, but acted without an intention to kill.
A hearing in court chambers has ruled that Scheldeman must face trial in court. The jeweller faces five to 10 years in jail if convicted.
"The hearing in court chambers must assess whether there are incriminating elements," Scheldeman's lawyer, Jan Leysen, said.
"There are [incriminating elements] according to the hearing, but that does not mean my client is guilty. The hearing in chambers does not assess innocence or guilt."
Leysen said the case cannot be compared with the case of a Harelbeek jeweler who was found guilty of the death of ram-raid robber, but whom received a suspended sentence.
Meanwhile, Scheldeman has reacted calmly to the ruling, stressing that a debate before the court is perhaps the best place to come to an objective assessment of the case.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news