Next Monday (tomorrow) will see the resumption of the Wilders trial. Actually, it is a do-over after the trial came to an abrupt end with the dismissal of the court of judges on grounds of ‘apparent prejudice’.
In the run-up to the second half, one of the lawyers representing the aggrieved filed for postponement of the trial (NL). This on the grounds that the plaintiffs feel that the acquittal sought by the public prosecutor in the first half of the trial goes against the brief the prosecutors received from the Amsterdam court (the order to prosecute Geert Wilders). In this, according to the plaintiffs, was ‘disloyal’ of the public prosecutor and merits a postponement until a news set of prosecutors can be appointed. However, the public prosecutors office as well as the Amsterdam court disagreed (NL) and rejected the motions put forth by the plaintiffs. This leaves free the way for a resumption on Monday.
The second half of the Wildres trial will in all probability be dominated by a single issue, initially: The role of judge Schalken in the prosecution. Remember, he was the one who ultimately caused the dismissal of the court, after it came out he had allegedly tried to influence one of the most important witnesses for the defence, prof. Hans Jansen, at a dinner party thrown by a mutual friend. It should therefore not come as a big surprise that the defence of Mr. Wilders wants to interrogate judge Schalken (NL) in the witness stand.
‘I want clarity about the precise role [Mr Schalken] played in that whole process [to decide to prosecute Geert Wilders]. In particular, the obserbation that he was the originator of the ruling that Wilders needed to be prosecuted. And what actually took place at dinner.’, says [lawyer Bram Moszkowicz]. According to the Amsterdam lawyer the charges filed by Wilders against the judge are no obstruction for an appearance in the witness stand. ‘The question is whether Schalken in a suspect already. On that issue, the public prosecutor has not reached a decision yet’.
All in all, I think we can look forward to some interesting procedures. And if indications are correct, the judicial system in the Netherlands will not come out of this smelling of roses. Actually, it may come out smelling of the stuff that roses reportedly grow best on: Horse manure.
[UPDATE001] Snouck offers some thoughts.