Dutch hero acquitted of drugs offence
A military hero who was awarded the Netherlands highest and oldest honour for bravery, Marco Kroon, has been acquitted of possession of cocaine and ecstasy.
The military court in Arnhem ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict the soldier of the drugs offence.
Captain Kroon has been fined 750 euros and given a 80-hour suspended sentence for possession of four stun guns, three of which were passed on to other people. The Public Prosecution Office had asked for unconditional community service for the defendant.
In recent days, the whole case literally hung on a chest hair taken from the captain. Forensic tests found traces of cocaine on the hair. However, because the hair was pulled out by the defendant himself, it could not be proved that he had actually had possession of the drug. The evidence could have been contaminated by his hands which may have come into contact with cocaine in the pub he owns.
Captain Kroon has protested his innocence all along saying others were trying to blacken his name. The acquittal means he will not be dishonourably dismissed from the army. In response to the acquittal, Captain Kroon said, "I can look her majesty straight in the eye". He will have the opportunity to do so very soon as he will attend the national Remembrance Day on 4 May.
The military hero received the Military William Order from Queen Beatrix in 2009 for his bravery in Afghanistan three years earlier.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide