'Stupid' prosecutor quits after loss of credibility
13 October 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Public prosecutor Joost Tonino resigned on Tuesday night after startling revelations emerged last week that he dumped his home computer filled with sensitive crime fighting information in the garbage.
13 October 2004
AMSTERDAM — Public prosecutor Joost Tonino resigned on Tuesday night after startling revelations emerged last week that he dumped his home computer filled with sensitive crime fighting information in the garbage.
The computer — which Tonino believed was defective due to a virus — ended up in the hands of crime journalist Peter R. de Vries, who ran a televised report about its contents last Thursday. The hard drive contained information on high profile cases.
Adding insult to injury, it was revealed on Monday that hackers raided Tonino's digital email box and placed important correspondence on the internet. The email was addressed to prosecution chief, Leo de Wit, asserting that existing investigations had not been damaged by De Vries' report.
In reaction, Tonino asked the College van Procureurs-Generaal (Attorneys-General Council, the public prosecutor's governing body) to discharge him from his responsibilities. Tonino said he could no longer function in the job due to public doubts about his credibility.
The public prosecutor's office (OM) said the attorneys-general council accepted the resignation and is now considering a new position within the organisation for Tonino.
Speaking on current affairs television programme Nova on Tuesday night, Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner was unfazed by the developments. The Christian Democrat CDA minister said it was a "wise step" that Toninio "does not appear in court for a while".
Donner also agreed that prosecutors must have credibility and that this was not the case if someone did something with "unbelievable stupidity".
But despite claims in Parliament and within the prosecutor's office that what Tonino did was stupid, Minister Donner said this did not mean that Tonino was a bad prosecutor.
Tonino had previously worked on high profile white collar crimes, such as the prosecution last year of former Philips boss, Cor Boonstra, who had been accused of insider trading.
He transferred from the Amsterdam public prosecutor's office on 1 July to work for the prosecution on cases on behalf of the tax office investigation service FIOD-ECD, the Social Affairs Ministry's fraud investigation service SIOD and the Agriculture Ministry's investigation service AID.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news