Families appeal dugout collapse decision

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The families of the victims of the dugout collapse in Twijzel want the responsible municipality and football club to be prosecuted.

On Wednesday the Public Prosecutor announced that no one will be prosecuted.

Laywyer Liebeth Poortman-de Boer, who is assisting the families, finds the decision incomprehensible. The lawyer launched an Article 12 procedure at the court to force prosecution.

A dugout collapsed during the annual softball tournament in Twijzel on May 21st. 10 year old Yrsa de Bruin died and five other children were injured.

An investigation showed that the dugout was damaged by a fallen branch long before the tournament. The resulting crack was the main cause of the collapse. Both the municipality of Achtkarspelen and football club SC Twijzel were aware of the damage. Despite this Justice believes that there is insufficient evidence of criminal culpability.

"Not every mistake and not every careless act or negligence leads to guilt in a criminal sense", says the Public Prosecutor, "From the investigation it has been established that both the municipality and the soccer club failed to proceed to repair the damage to the dugout or to take emergency measures. The question however is whether this constitutes guilt in a criminal sense"

Poortman thinks it does. "The Public Prosecutor in the case of governments often does not prosecute. But if you have a tree in your yard, that you know is not stable, and it falls on your neighbor, know that you will be prosecuted."

According to the counselor, it is questionable that the Public Prosecutor of Northern Netherlands made the decision. "The mayor had a lot of contact with the Public Prosecutor about this incident. It would have been better if another prosecutor made the decision. This has the appearance of partiality."