In the Netherlands this week there has been a small uproar (NL) about a community service sentence handed to a defendant accused of punching a cop in the face six times:
The sentenced young man, Bilal el B., was stopped by an officer two weeks ago, because he tried to run upon seeing the police car. El B. was acting belligerent, according to the officer.
The young man punched the police officer with a fist in the face six times. The officer had swellings and a contusion on his lip. Despite the injuries the judge did not think proven that El B. deliberately wanted to cause the officer grave bodily harm.
He was sentenced to 20 hours community service and a 200 euro fine. The Public Prosecutors office had requested a sentence of 30 hour community service. A spokesperson stated that this is ‘according to guidelines’.
I am not even going to point out the boringly predictable nature of the name of the defendant. Moroccan scum is as Moroccan scum does. No, the centre point in this is the complete betrayal by the judge, in cooperation with the prosecutors office, of our police force and what normal citizens consider decent society.
My personal preference, of course, would be to have this facsimile of human life thrown from a plane cruising at 12,000 feet over the North Sea, protestations from Greenpeace about gross pollution be damned. But I realize this may not be to the taste of the average citizen. As the poet said (NL): Between dream and deed laws stand in the way, and practical objections.
However, behaviour such as displayed by Bilal el B. should instantly disqualify any perpetrator from the rights and duties of decent citizens. And in the case of Bilal el B. and those like him: from Dutch citizenship. And I would include the parents of this creature, for gross dereliction of parental duties.
But what of the court and the office of prosecution? What on earth possessed them to give off this signal that it is okay to punch a cop in the face, repeatedly, if you’re from a certain ethnicity? The prosecutors office stated it had merely followed guidelines. Whose guidelines? Who drew them up? Are these persons still in office? Why? Why are they not on that plane cruising at 12,000 feet over the North sea (Yes, I am a bit miffed, as you can tell)?
During New Years Eve a 38 year old male threatened and insulted an officer. For this he received 100 hours community service and a suspended jail term of two weeks. For threats and insults. Yet this pond scum, punching an officer, not once, but six times in the face, with a closed fist, receives only 20 hours community service and a 200 euro fine. Probably because he’s from a ‘vulnerable’ background.
Sharia law: It is not as much of a crime when a muslim maltreats an infidel, then when it is an infidel doing the same.
For the moment I am working under the hypothesis that the sharia-compliance of the courts ruling was not intentional. But it can have nothing but bad consequences for the immediate future. Citizens will lose even more trust in the Dutch justice system. Cops will be hesitant to act, because they know the justice system will NOT back them up or protect them. Moroccan lowlife scum will feel vindicated by the court and prosecutors office and will know they are above the law, that they trump the police entering ‘their’ area.
Rather belatedly the prosecutors office today said that in hindsight the requested sentence was too low (NL).
Our request was according to guidelines, but we may have underestimated the impact upon society. That is why we maybe should have requested more.
What kind of justice is it that ignores the very basics of justice, but seeks to impose sentences based upon ‘societal impact’? Not the fact that the sense of justice of many was so blatantly offended should be guiding principle here. What should be leading is the integrity of Dutch society. Law and justice are tools with which we maintain a decent society. And we hire persons to serve as police officers to enforce the law and thus protect society. Hence, you do not resist arrest, you certainly do not physically abuse the cop arresting you. And as a prosecutor (and a court judge) you should first and foremost signal that both prosecutor and court will back the police, as the guardians of decent society, when the situation demands such.
Justice, real justice, is the supreme imperative here. That is how we maintain as decent a society as we can.
Doing justice comes first. Not guidelines, not societal impacts. These are circumstantial, secondary or even tertiary considerations at best. If these, however, take precedent over doing justice, then we have no justice in this country. All we have is sentencing by formula. A formula, moreover, that grossly favours some over others. Justice this most certainly is not.
The prosecutors office and the court have disgraced themselves beyond redemption in this episode. But not only themselves. They have disgraced Dutch society and the sense of justice of all. They have caused harm, maybe irreparably, to the trust of ordinary citizens in the justice system. And they have humiliated us, all of us, before those that refuse to abide by our laws and rules.
It is a disgrace of frighteningly damaging proportions that prosecutor and court colluded in this travesty. And I am not adding ‘… of justice’ here, because this episode clearly shows that justice is something we do not have in this country. We have a multi-cultural nightmare (NL) of ad-hoc rulings by ‘judges’ who sympathize with the ones they are sworn to adjudicate. We have shady guidelines that, for whatever reason, are aimed at shielding Moroccan scum from the full force of the law, from the rule of law. We have public prosecutors whose perspective on their chosen profession does not exceed that of a municipal civil service middling, blindly following the ‘guidelines’, irrespective of circumstances. But justice? We have no justice at all.
[UPDATE001] Speaking of sentencing by formula: It’s even worse then I thought. Apparently both the sentencing request and the sentence itself rolled out of a computer program used by the judiciary (NL):
The guidelines! Right. That is the issue here. Hallebeek [spokesperson for the prosecutor] refers to the BOS/Polaris-guidelines. The Polaris-guidelines judge crimes through an actual arithmetical sum. For each ‘base offence’ a fixed number of ‘penalty points’ is awarded. Stealing a bicycle gets you 10 points, breaking into somebody’s home 60 points and stealing a car 20 points. Next the computer program BOS converts the number of penalty points to a sentencing request. Each point represents 29 euros in fines. So, if you steal a bike that means, doing the math…, nah, never mind, the computer does it for us, lessee… Yes, that’ll be a fine of 290 euros! No human involvement necessary.
You can even download the program and play around with. Although I do think that a program, representing the sum total of penal law in the Netherlands, that is contained in a zip-file weighing in at a lousy 9 Mb (yes, that’s megabytes, not gigabytes) is a tad disappointing.