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Court attacks Pieter Baan Centre

Published on 05/03/2004

5 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch Justice Ministry has come to the defence of the Pieter Baan Centre (PBC) after a court accused the state’s main psychiatric unit of leaving the evaluation of a murder suspect to a trainee.

A court in Rotterdam found in February that a report by the PBC into a man accused of murdering a taxi driver in the city had been conducted by a doctor’s assistant rather than a fully-qualified psychiatrist.

The PBC is responsible for assessing nearly all suspects in serious criminal cases in the Netherlands, the most high profile in recent years being Volkert van der Graaf who murdered populist politician Pim Fortuyn.

On a daily basis, Dutch courts use PBC reports to decide if a suspect can be held responsible for alleged actions, and whether any eventual sentence should include a compulsory TBS hospitalisation order.

Newspaper De Telegraaf said the court criticism of the centre could undermine the TBS system and prevent suspects being hospitalised in future.

The Justice Ministry countered by saying that in general the procedures at the PCB forensic clinic are sound.

But in the Rotterdam case, a doctor’s assistant – one step away from becoming a psychiatrist – had carried out the work. A spokesperson for the Ministry said rules in relation to the supervision of trainees had been agreed and future problems were not anticipated.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news