A man threw a chair at the judge after a driver who killed his daughter and 2 parents got 120 hours community service
A driver from Poland was driving in Meijel, Netherlands when he struck 2 cyclists and a 2-year-old child on May 19th, 2013.
The court ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that the driver was driving recklessly, despite driving 120 km/h on an 80 km/h road.
However, the driver was found in violation of Article 5 of the Dutch Road and Traffic Law and was sentenced to 120 hours of community service, a suspension of his license for 1 year, and 2 years probation afterward.
I wonder if the man who threw the chair (in the video below) got a longer sentence for throwing a chair than the defendant did for killing 3 people.
After the public backlash regarding the sentencing, the Dutch court issued a statement:
"What has not been proven: In order to speak of guilt in a criminal offense there needs to be more than just the violation, at a minimum, there also needs to be a reasonable measure of culpable carelessness. In this specific case, the question of guilt in a criminal offence is described as "recklessly speeding."
The court explored if it can be proven that the suspect was speeding to such an extent that it can be attributed to the guilt. In other words: a slight violation of the speeding limit would be insufficient to attribute guilt.
Tests have proven that with a similar vehicle, driving at about 130 km/h would not cause you to lose control of your vehicle and for the vehicle to start lurching. Therefore these tests do not exclude the possibility of the suspect's car becoming uncontrollable and started lurching due to another reason.
At the moment the suspect's vehicle crossed the roadside and crashed through the beech hedge it was moving at a speed between 76 km/h and 124 km/h, with the local speeding limit being 80 km/h. Due to this very large margin, the court finds it cannot be proven that the suspect was recklessly speeding. The court finds that the research report and its results cannot say with absolute certainty that the suspect was speeding.
According to the indictment, the criteria of reckless speeding was the sole component in proving guilt. As reckless speeding is not proven, the court finds that violation of Article 6 of the Dutch Road and Traffic Law is not proven. The sole fact that unfortunately, 3 people lost their lives cannot be used as an argument to attribute guilt. Only when ''significant guilt'' is proven can the court assess the consequences of this proven guilt.
In addition to the previously stated, a few other incriminating causes have been expressly excluded from having attributed to the accident: the suspect was not under the influence of any narcotics or alcohol, nor was he using his mobile phone.
What has been proven: The court finds that violation of Article 5 of the Dutch Road and Traffic Law has been proven. As this is a violation (this is important) the question of guilt is not relevant for proving the violation itself. Only when a suspect is completely blameless can he stay completely unpunished in the absence of any guilt.
This mostly refers to circumstances completely beyond someone's control, for example, a careless child suddenly crossing the road, trying to evade the child, and in the process of evading hitting another cyclist.
Either way, it's a fact that the suspect caused a ''road hazard'' and that his driving behavior led to 3 people losing their lives. The suspect argued that his vehicle pulled to the left and that this caused his vehicle to become uncontrollable. Technical analysis of the vehicle does not show any defects in the vehicle. Therefore the court rejects the suspect's defense and finds the aforementioned violation proven.
Why this sentence? The court took several circumstances into consideration when determining the sentence.
Most importantly is the reason that the court found that a different offense was proven than the one the prosecutor determined was proven. (violation of article 6 vs article 5 of the Dutch Road and Traffic Law)
It has not been proven with absolute certainty that the suspect can be attributed to significant blame to lead to attributable guilt. In that case, a severe penalty is not fitting.
The suspect will also have to carry the burden that his driving behavior led to the unfortunate deaths of 3 people for the rest of his life. Additionally the suspect does not have any criminal record whatsoever, not in the Netherlands, Poland nor Germany."