Justice ministry paid out €250,000 in compensation for remand in 2019
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    Justice ministry paid out €250,000 in compensation for remand in 2019

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    The federal justice ministry last year paid out €242,601 to people who had been detained on remand awaiting trial and later released, the ministry has reported.

    People accused of a crime are often imprisoned before being tried, if a magistrate decides it is necessary. That is usually the case if the accused person is at risk of fleeing the jurisdiction, destroying evidence, interfering with witnesses or committing some other crime.

    However, because of the nature of the Belgian criminal justice system, such periods of remand in custody can be lengthy, sometimes running into years.

    According to the law, if the person is found not guilty at trial, or at some point charges are dropped, the person may apply for compensation to the disputes department of the justice ministry, which then has six months to give a response.

    Last year, 97 applications were received, of which 21 were rejected and 37 approved, for a total sum of €242,601.

    In the case of 39 applications, a final decision is still awaited as the six-month deadline has not yet been reached.

    The 2019 figure is slightly higher than the figure for 2018, when 89 applications were received and 61 approved, for a total in compensation of €352,533.

    The sums paid out in previous years were €334,814 in 2017, and €294,499 in 2016.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times