No arrest warrant for Van der Sloot
The examining judge on Aruba has rejected a demand from the public prosecution department to take Joran van der Sloot into custody.4 February 2008
ORANJESTAD – The examining judge on Aruba has rejected a demand from the public prosecution department to take Joran van der Sloot into custody.
Van der Sloot will consequently not be arrested in the Netherlands. The public prosecution department will appeal the decision. The examining judge has reopened the preliminary investigation into Van der Sloot.
The judge rejected the demand from the public prosecution last Friday because Van der Sloot has already been arrested twice in connection with the Natalee Holloway case and has spent some time in custody. The judge said that any further pre-trial detention can only be authorised under extremely serious conditions. The confession that crime reporter Peter R. de Vries broadcast Sunday evening on his television programme does not satisfy these conditions.
De Vries showed some of his hidden camera footage to justice officials on Aruba on 20 January, a few days later additional footage was shown and the final instalment was presented on 1 February. The examining judge reopened the official preliminary investigation on 29 January, the day on which the last hidden camera footage of Van der Sloot was recorded.
The public prosecution department says that the footage, especially the way in which Joran tells his story, gives the impression "that this version of the events could come very close to the truth."
The Aruban public prosecutor added that confessions must be dealt with very cautiously. The fact that Natalee Holloway's disappearance seems solved "in many people's eyes", because of the television broadcast, does not mean that the evidence suffices for a conviction in court. "There is an essential difference between the reality in the court room and the reality of the television screen." Much depends on the other evidence, the justice department says.
Police and the public prosecution department will have to further investigate Joran van der Sloot's story. That will take quite some time, according to the justice department. Forensic experts will be given the task of assessing Natalee Holloway's condition during the fatal night in May 2005 on the basis of the facts and what Joran van der Sloot claims happened on the beach.
The public prosecution department on Aruba will hold a press conference in Oranjestad at 12 noon local time on Monday.
It will be a "devil of a job" for the justice officials on Aruba to try and conclude the Holloway case. Criminal law expert from Radboud University Nijmegen Peter Tak said Sunday that the outcome of Peter R. de Vries' programme is "extremely weak in criminal law terms."
The biggest problem is that the body of American teenager Natalee Holloway was never found, Tak says. As a result it is impossible to ascertain whether the girl was still alive or dead already when Joran van der Sloot's presumed accomplice dumped her at sea. If she was dead, the justice department will not be able to ascertain how she died.
"The most you can say is that a story has come out that gives rise to a great many questions," Tak says. "The fact that this young man talks about this case with such unbelievable lack of respect, almost with no conscience, does not make him punishable."
It may only be possible to charge him with involvement in getting rid of a body, says Tak. And the maximum sentence for that in Aruba is six months in prison. "Very little" usable information has come out, "however sad that is for Natalee's relatives."
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]
Subject: Dutch news