Saturday, 13 March 2021
In one year of pandemic regulations, no fewer than 200.615 penalties have been handed out for breaches of the rules, according to police figures. One in ten offences was committed by a minor.
Of the total, 177,000 fines were handed out to adults and 21,805 to young people. In 1,455 cases the offence was dealt with by the labour authorities – mainly cases of non-respect of the rules on teleworking or safe distancing.
The peak month for offences was April, the second month of restrictions, with more than 48,000 offences dealt with. The record for a single day goes to 16 April, when 2,301 fines were handed out.
The numbers then started falling until the end of July, when they began rising again.
The new wave of offences from end July coincided with tougher measures aimed at blocking the growth of the second wave of the virus.
A second peak took place in January this year with 22,000 fines – still less than half as many as the first peak.
In 65% of cases, involving 109,784 offenders (some cases involve repeat offenders), the fixed-penalty fine was paid without being contested. If a fine is contested, however, it can be varied at the discretion of the magistrate.
In the case of 20,572 offences, the accused person was summonsed to court and the case dealt with there. This was the case for example where a repeat offender was concerned. In one notorious case in April last year, a man was fined for the 14th time for offences against the coronavirus regulations.
In about 16% of cases the charges were dropped, either because of lack of evidence or because an offence had not been committed. In only 2% of cases were charges dropped without further investigation.
The Brussels Times