SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Thousands of people may have been wrongly fined or given community service by the public prosecution department over the past few years, the NRC said on Tuesday.
The paper bases its claim on an analysis of justice ministry information which shows guilt has not been properly established in some 6% of cases which are dealt with without the intervention of the courts.
With more than 30,000 people reaching a deal with the public prosecutor every year, this means some 2,000 people have convictions which may not have been properly handled, the paper says.
The public prosecution department has been able to hand out fines, community service sentences and banning orders without the involvement of the courts since 2008. The idea was to relieve pressure on the courts and deal with straight forward cases in an easy way.
However, the information obtained by the NRC shows that in 2017, ‘guilt had not been adequately established’ in some 6% of cases. In some cases, this was due to a lack of evidence, in others the files were incomplete, or the person was charged with the wrong crime.
The public prosecution department told the NRC that this does not mean people were wrongly convicted. ‘It simply gives an indication that other opinions are possible,’ the department said. In addition, the department said, the new figures are a sharp improvement on 2016, when 15% of cases were found to have problems. (DutchNews)