Suspects more quickly detained after a violent incident
Person suspected of violent offences in entertainment areas or violence against persons with a public duty, such as the police or the fire brigade, can be detained while awaiting their trail by means of accelerated proceedings. Subsequent to this detainment, they can serve their sentence after their conviction. This is evident from a legislative proposal Minister Opstelten and State Secretary Teeven of Security and Justice today sent to various agencies for their opinion.
The measure makes it possible to detain suspects until their trial by means of accelerated proceedings and, in doing so, respond directly to the offence. Current legislation does not offer sufficient possibilities to do so. The regulation introduces a new basis for pre-trial detention when applying accelerated proceedings, i.e. a trial within seventeen days. The requirement is, however, that is it probable that the court will impose a prison sentence of several weeks or months.
A number of crimes that occur frequently constitute, in certain circumstances, an additional danger to persons, or give rise to large-scale disturbances of public order. This concerns assault, threats, acts of violence in a public place, arson or vandalism directed against persons with a public duty, during events, or at stores, catering establishments or other entertainment venues. These crimes can lead to significant social unrest and indignation. The Minister and State Secretary therefore wish to promote a swift prosecution and conviction of suspects of these crimes. They consider an immediate response necessary to make it clear to suspects and society that such behaviour is unacceptable.
Currently, suspects in these types of cases have to be released before the hearing, unless so-called accelerated proceedings with a court appearance within three days is possible. This is - in particular with respect to the somewhat more serious offences – unfeasible, because it is impossible to gather the evidence in this short period. Expansion of pre-trial detention makes it possible to schedule a trial by means of accelerated proceedings. This means that there is more time available, and evidence can be supplemented. Witnesses can be heard, for example. Subsequent investigation can strengthen the argumentation in the case. In the case of suspicion of assault, it will be possible, for example, to prove aggravated assault instead of common assault. Moreover, the victim will have more time to join the criminal proceedings and prepare a claim for compensation.
Expansion of pre-trial detention is useful in the case of suspicion of common assault or destruction of property. Currently, pre-trial detention is only possible in such a case if the suspect has been convicted of an offence without appeal during the previous five years, and there is a danger of recidivism. This means that first offenders, or persons who have not been convicted of an offence without appeal for a previous offence, will be released from police custody while awaiting their trial. The Minister and State Secretary wish to regulate this differently with a view to a more forceful approach to violence in entertainment areas and violence against persons with a public duty.