Brussels Criminal Court – appropriate confinement demanded for man who drove into pedestrians
Wednesday, 06 September 2017
The Public Prosecutor, who compelled the man to be confined in a psychiatric hospital after the incident, is currently prosecuting him for attempted murder, and has requested his confinement in an appropriate psychiatric institution.
The Brussels Public Prosecutor’s Office has asked for the man who drove into three pedestrians, during the Christmas Market in 2014, to be placed in appropriate confinement in a mental hospital. According to the Public Prosecutor, the offender, who is aged 61, suffers from chronic psychiatric disorder, and it is necessary for him to receive treatment for this. This is as much for his protection as it is society as a whole. His barrister is requesting that her client be freed, under the provisions of Article 71 of the Criminal Code.
The accident happened at the end of the afternoon on December 28th, 2014, at the intersection of the Boulevard Anspach and the Rue de l’Ecuyer, at the Place de la Monnaie, where a temporary ice rink was set up at the time. For an unknown reason, the driver of an Audi A6 drove into pedestrians, as well as police who were directing the traffic at the time. In total, three people were injured. The driver was arrested for questioning by police, immediately after the incident occurred.
The man said that he was returning from the casino where he had lost a lot of money and was extremely agitated. He was in the traffic queue when he involuntarily hit the accelerator hard, as his cigarette had fallen upon his knee. Again according to his version of events, he never had any intention to hit anyone. This hypothesis, however, was contradicted by evidence from witnesses who clearly saw the individual leave the line of cars, whilst in his vehicle, only to then accelerate in the left-hand lane.
The Public Prosecutor, who compelled the sixty-year-old to be confined in a psychiatric hospital after the incident, is currently prosecuting him for attempted murder and has requested his confinement. The Public Prosecutor’s Office says, “According to the forensic psychiatrist, he still suffers from chronic psychiatric disorder, a bipolar illness, and represents a danger to himself and society as a whole.”
As indicated, his defence team has pleaded for his release, under Article 71, relating to his capacity for understanding. His barrister Me Gisèle Stuyck stressed, “He indeed suffers from a bipolar disorder, but is monitored by a psychiatrist and his GP. This disorder was detected 32 years ago, and during this time there has never been any other incident.”
The court will give its judgement in the case on October 5th.