Dutch court rules weekend detention unacceptable

1st December 2009, Comments 0 comments

A court in Leeuwarden has ruled the weekend detention scheme is unacceptable after a 22-year-old man was detained for 20 hours over the weekend.

Leeuwarden – A court in Leeuwarden has ruled that the police's weekend detention scheme for people who commit acts of violence is unacceptable.

The court was considering the case of 22-year-old Frisian who allegedly hit someone over the head with a bar stool and was locked up for 20 hours.

The magistrate said the detention period was too long since the law determines that suspects can only be held in custody awaiting trial if it is necessary for the investigation of the case.

The court acquitted the man on the grounds that "the police and the public prosecutor were aware of previous rulings that this kind of detention is unacceptable."

The magistrate added "the public prosecutor acted knowingly with gross disregard for the penal code, the constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights."
Weekend detention was introduced in the city of Leeuwarden and nearby town of Sneek in October. The six-month trial project was an attempt to reduce the incidence of weekend violence. This means that adults arrested for violent behaviour between Friday evening and Sunday are held in police cells until Monday at the earliest.
The scheme, which was adopted earlier in Amersfoort and Tilburg, has met with a great deal of criticism, particularly from lawyers who complained it violated the principle of presumed innocence.
The Public Prosecutor's office in Leeuwarden has yet to decide whether to appeal against the decision.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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