Suspect in bag snatching case must appear at trial

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The court in Amsterdam ruled on Thursday that 46-year-old Germaine C. must stand trial in public.

21 February 2008

AMSTERDAM – The court in Amsterdam ruled on Thursday that 46-year-old Germaine C., the woman suspected of running down and killing a man who had snatched her purse, will have to stand trial in public. C. is protesting this because she says it will endanger her life.

Her lawyer Cees Korvinus has submitted an objection, which the court is considering.

C. failed to appear at her criminal trial on 5 February. The court ordered the public prosecution department to track her down. Police picked the woman up on Wednesday and she was brought to the courthouse on Thursday morning.

The court finds the interest of a public trial greater than C.'s fears for her own safety. In order to meet the woman's request halfway, the court did promise C. that she can disguise her identity to some degree in the courtroom. How this can be done is not yet clear.

Lawyer Korvinus said at the hearing that the way in which the public prosecution department satisfied the court's order to track down the suspect has been completely disproportionate. Ten police officers were sent to pick up the woman.

Korvinus says his client is no longer able to answer questions adequately. The woman did not sleep at all last night, which she spent at the police station, the lawyer says. "She is extremely tired."

Public prosecutor S. Hoogerheide denies that treatment of C. has been 'disproportionate,' claiming she has had immediate access to her lawyer and a doctor, and was not required to stay in a cell but in the day facilities. After the hearing the woman will be escorted home.

C. was robbed of her handbag in January 2005 while sitting in her car in Amsterdam-Oost. She drove after the bag thief, who had gotten on a scooter with an accomplice. The two on the scooter fell and one of the boys was crushed to death between C.'s car and a tree. The incident caused great commotion in the neighbourhood.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2008]

Subject: Dutch news

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