Court rejects all Wilders' demands in hate speech trial
The court in Amsterdam rejected all three of PVV leader Geert Wilders' requests during the second, very short, pre-trial hearing in the hate speech trial against him. Wilders' lawyer demanded that the trial be suspended while a document leak is investigated, that one of the judges step down and that a number of expert witnesses be questioned.
Lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops demanded that the trial be postponed so that the court can investigate the leak of a legal brief the lawyer drafted. The legal brief landed in the hands of newspaper AD just before the first pre-trial hearing in this case a few weeks ago. "We now can't prepare our defense well with a leak. We can not perform our work freely anymore", the lawyer said, according to RTL Nieuws.
But the court denied the request. According to the judges, the leak is the defense's problem, and not the court's. "It is up to the defense themselves to investigate the leak or report it to the police", the court said. "It is not the role of the court."
The lawyer also wanted one of the judges, Elianne van Rens, to withdraw from the case. According to Wilders, she previously expressed criticism on him and the PVV and is therefore biased. This too the court rejected. According to Van Res, even judges may have criticism. In a short statement she promised Wilders that she will be unbiased in her judgement on this case.
Finally the court also rejected Wilders' demands for expert witnesses because they "are not necessary for the assessment of the criminal case".
Wilders was not at the hearing as he is partaking in the parliamentary debate with Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice in the Tweede Kamer, which started 15 minutes after the hearing did. Despite this, he had time to respond to the court's decisions on Twitter: "PVV-haters in this fake court already have a judgement. No fair trial."
The PVV leader is facing charges of deliberately insulting a group of people because of their race and inciting hatred or discrimination against these people. This is because of statements he made dring an election campaign in The Hague in 2014 – he asked a cafe full of his supporters whether they want more or fewer Moroccans in the city, to which they chanted “fewer, fewer, fewer”.