Legislative proposal to expand pre-trial detention sent to the Lower House

A legislative proposal by Minister Opstelten and State Secretary Teeven of Security and Justice has been submitted to the Lower House, which proposal will make it possible to detain more suspects while awaiting their trail on the basis of accelerated proceedings. It concerns violent crime in public areas or violence against persons with an official duty, such as the police, the fire brigade and ambulance staff.

In such cases, those suspected of such crimes will not be released before the accelerated proceedings have taken place. Current legislation does not offer sufficient possibilities to do so. The regulation introduces a new basis for pre-trial detention when accelerated proceedings are implemented, i.e. trial within 17 days. The condition is that it concerns suspects who are expected to receive a term of imprisonment of several weeks or months. In these cases, the ultimate punishment will usually be implemented immediately after pre-trial detention.

In certain circumstances, violent crime constitutes an added danger to persons or could give rise to serous disturbances of the peace or uncontrollable situations at large events. It concerns assault, threats, acts of violence in a public place, arson or vandalism, directed against persons with a public duty, or committed during events or in shops, catering establishments or other entertainment venues. These can lead to significant social unrest, high-risk situations and indignation. For this reason, the Minister and the State Secretary wish to introduce the possibility of pre-trail detention until the fast-track proceedings have commenced in more cases than is allowed at this time. It will become possible, for example, to place first offenders in pre-trial detention for a wider range of crimes than is currently the case. It is intended for cases in which the criminal investigation is relatively simple and can be concluded quickly. The term of seventeen days may also be used by the victim to drawn up his claim for compensation against the offender. In such cases, said claim can be settled simultaneously at the hearing by the criminal court.

Quick prosecution and adjudication of those accused of these crimes (responding quickly and effectively) is necessary to make it clear to the accused and society immediately after the crime that such behaviour is unacceptable and deserving of a serious judicial response.