Forged doc could result in baby's convicted killer going free: lawyers
Possible forgery by a clerk at the court in Arnhem could result in a 26-year-old man from Arnhem, convicted of killing his infant son, going free, according to the lawyers representing him, AD reports.
The 26-year-old man was sentenced to 46 months in prison in October last year for the severe abuse and neglect of his son, resulting in the baby's death in 2010. The baby had several broken bones and eventually died from the effects of an intestinal perforation. According to the doctors who examined the baby's body, that was caused by a hard punch in the stomach.
Lawyers Sander van 't Hullenaar and Janneke Steenbrink filed an appeal. According to them there is a good chance that the Public Prosecutor will be declared "inadmissible" because of forgery by a court clerk. The lawyers believe the clerk antedated a pleading document used by the Prosecutor to file for appeal in this case in 2013.
"The original appeal document lacked the necessary signatures of both the clerk and the prosecutor. Subsequently the clerk backdated the deed eight days after the expiration of the appeal time by falsely recording in the deed that the appeal was brought on 26 June 2013 while it was in fact already 18 July 2013", Van 't Hullenaar said to the newspaper. "An absolute mortal sin, a very serious violation of due process."
A spokesperson for the Gelderland court confirmed to that "something administrative went amiss" around the appeal deed. The Rijksrecherche investigated the matter in 2015. "It was a stupid mistake made by one of our employees, but there is no question of intent", the spokesperson said. The clerk was moved to another department, where he worked for a while, but is now back at the court in Arnhem. The prosecutor in Amsterdam ultimately decided not to launch a criminal case against him, concluding that the court's disciplinary action against the clerk was sufficient. No evidence was found that the Prosecutor on the case was also guilty of forgery. However, he did "blindly" sign the document.
The two lawyers filed an appeal against the conviction of their client. As the clerk in question is still working at the Arnhem court, they want the case to be handled by the court in Amsterdam, to avoid any bias. Van 'T Hullenaar calls it a "matter of social interest" that the tampering wit dates on process documents come into the open.