Fireworks directors jailed for fatal explosion

1st February 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 February 2005, AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Supreme Court has ordered the two directors of a fireworks warehouse must serve out a 12-month jail term for their role in an explosion in Enschede in May 2000, in which 22 people died.

1 February 2005

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Supreme Court has ordered the two directors of a fireworks warehouse must serve out a 12-month jail term for their role in an explosion in Enschede in May 2000, in which 22 people died.

The highest Dutch court on Tuesday confirmed a ruling handed down by the appeals court in Arnhem last year. It means that the four-and-a-half-year legal battle of the directors, Rudi Bakker and Willy Pater, has come to an end.

Both men lodged an appeal for cassation against their conviction for culpable homicide and negligence in the fire and resulting explosion at the SE Fireworks depot. They were also convicted of environmental breaches and illegally storing fireworks.

They disputed the appeals court ruling that stated they knew powerful explosives were being stored at the depot. They claimed that no one in the Netherlands knew much about fireworks at the time, newspaper De Volkskrant reported.

The Supreme Court dismissed their objections and said that only negligence on their part led to a lack of awareness of the nature of the explosives being stored at the warehouse. The court said that the defendants acted "very carelessly".

Bakker and Pater have already spent three months in remand detention. Due to the fact that they must only serve at least two-thirds of their sentence, they are expected to be released in five months time.

A massive explosion in an Enschede suburb on 13 May 2000 killed 22 people and injured almost 1,000 more. About 400 houses were totally destroyed in the blast and 1,000 others were damaged. The disaster was caused by a fire at the warehouse, where an illegally large amount of fireworks was being stored.

Enschede man Andre de Vries was awarded EUR 125,000 in damages by the appeals court in Arnhem in May last year after he was wrongfully convicted of arson at the warehouse.

He had previously been sentenced to 15 years jail by Almelo Court in September 2002, but De Vries always maintained his innocence and the conviction was overturned in May 2003.

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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