Law for immediate arrest in the risk of re-offence gains draft approval
Friday, 22 November 2019
Judges can currently order the immediate arrest of convicts who are deemed a flight risk. Credit: Belga
A draft law allowing judges to order the immediate arrest of a person found to be at risk of re-offending was approved on Thursday in a plenary session of Parliament.
Until now, the immediate arrest of a person who is not in pre-trial detention when sentenced could only be ordered if there was a danger of that person absconding.
The proposal of MP Sophie De Wit (Flemish nationalist party) was adopted unanimously, apart from the abstentions of the twelve deputies of the extreme-left party and of Khalil Aouasti (socialist party), and now contains the words “risk of re-offending” as the requisite condition for authorising an immediate arrest.
The parliamentary initiative was motivated by the Julie Van Espen case. Van Espen was the Antwerp student murdered by a man with several sentences to his name. When the offence was committed, the murderer was at liberty while awaiting further court proceedings.