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No new psychiatric evaluation of taxi-rapist, court rules

Credit: Lexi Anderson for Unsplash

A court in Brussels has refused to open a new investigation into the case of Yassin B., a man accused of committing at least eight offences of rape and sexual assault in Brussels between 2016 and 2019.

The man, a former bus driver for the Brussels public transport authority STIB, posed as a taxi driver and haunted the vicinity of the university campus in Etterbeek/Ixelles, offering to take young women home and then assaulting and even raping them. In one case, he enticed a victim to his home and carried out his assault there.

During the time he was carrying out his crimes – for which he was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison last year – the campus area was the scene of concern and distrust, while the press named the predator the “taxi-rapist”.

The break in the case came when one victim posted her story on a Facebook group, and the investigation of that incident came into the hands of the prosecutors’ office in Tournai. A link was rapidly made with a series of other cases in Brussels.

Then one of his victims was able to flag down a police car in Watermael-Boisfort shortly after being attacked, a rape kit was analysed and the investigation narrowed down to B.

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At trial, he admitted to two rapes and one sexual assault, but the court found him guilty of the full count of nine charges, and he was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Now, however, a new rape allegation has surfaced, and he is on trial again, relating to a 2017 case that was shelved when no suspect could then be identified. But after the taxi-rapist case, the case was re-opened, and a link with the accused made.

At the first appearance on this charge last month in Brussels, the defence moved for a new DNA examination to confirm the link with B. or otherwise. They also called for a psychiatric examination of the accused.

The court this week rejected both requests and set trial for 28 October. B., already convicted, remains in prison.