Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 11 August 2009

11th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Dutch lawyers and prosecutors talk tough
Tuesday's papers comment on a very public spat between a group of outspoken Dutch lawyers and the Netherlands Public Prosecutions Service.

The man in charge of the public prosecutors, Harm Brouwer, is furious at comments made in the press by four lawyers about high-profile public prosecutor Koos Plooij.

The lawyers accused Koos Plooij of "being more concerned with getting a conviction than uncovering the truth".

In de Volkskrant, Brouwer described the comments as "offensive" and "incitement to character assassination".

Brouwer, who thinks a line has been crossed, said: "These lawyers are casting doubt on Plooij's integrity in an unjustifiable manner. What is the point of saying that Plooij would sell his own mother for the sake of his career? I call that just plain rude."

The lawyers in question are unimpressed by Brouwer's criticism.

"It's not the public prosecutor's place to police standards among lawyers. If someone behaves badly, like Plooij, then it's my job to point that out." said one lawyer.

A colleague added: "Perhaps the public prosecutors would be better off asking why so many lawyers are critical of Plooij?"
De Telegraaf thinks it's all good and well that Brouwer should leap to the defence of his officers, but reckons his lamentations are misplaced.

"A public prosecutor worth his salt, hardened by the battle against terrorism and serious crime, should be able to take a few knocks. The last thing we need is a bunch of cry babies!"
Schiphol fire: will the real expert please stand up?
"Who is the real expert?" asks Trouw, reporting on the case of the tragic fire in an immigration detention centre at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in October 2005. The case has now gone to appeal, and the paper reveals that while expert testimony will be key in reaching a verdict, the experts are at odds with one another.
Two years ago a Libyan detainee was sentenced to three years in jail for starting the blaze, in which 11 people died. He said at the time he remembered flicking away a cigarette butt before falling asleep in his cell on the night of the fire. But since he gave that testimony shortly after awakening from a coma, psychologists believe that, in his confused state, he could easily have made a false confession.
This is not the only "new truth" to emerge in the case.

While one technical expert maintains that the fire started in the Libyan's cell and could not have been triggered by a technical fault, another thinks it plausible that it could have started in the space between the inner and outer walls of the complex.

Another expert used surveillance camera footage to show there may have been evidence of smoke hours before the fire is supposed to have started.
The Libyan suspect jailed in 2007 was later released on parole due to "personal circumstances" but his fate still hangs in the balance. He can only qualify for a residence permit if he is acquitted. If convicted, his hopes of remaining in the Netherlands will be crushed.
Dutch travellers go to wrong Sydney
AD tells the sorry tale of granddad Jan Rutten and grandson Nick who have just had what the paper describes as "a tough geography lesson they will never forget."

Their pockets full of Australian dollars, they headed off Down Under on a family visit, only to wind up on the wrong continent – in Sydney, Canada.
The two were left stranded in Canada for two days as all flights to Australia were fully booked. Jan's wife, Tiny, who stayed at home, was so worried about the wayward globetrotters that she did not sleep for 24 hours.

"If you ask me it’s those new-fangled computers that are the problem. You've typed in the wrong thing before you know it ..."
The Dutchmen are not the first travellers to undergo this fate. The locals in Sydney, Nova Scotia take it in their stride these days.

"Oh well, so they've been to a Sydney that doesn't have kangaroos. At least they'll have a good story to tell when they get back home."

Radio Netherlands / David Docherty / Expatica

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