Fatal blow in Red Light District fight was self defense, court rules
The court in Amsterdam convicted seven out of eight men for public violence for their role in a brawl in Amsterdam's Red Light District which ended in the death of 32-year-old Robert Gerritsen two years ago. The court ruled that the blow that ended Gerritsen's life was made in self defense, and 22-year-old Romanian Mirci M. was therefore not punished for it, RTL Nieuws reports.
The brawl happened on September 3rd, 2016. Gerritsen passed away two days later. A group of Dutch men, including Gerritsen, got into a fight with three Romanians. The Dutch group was on a bachelor's party at the time. Initial reports stated that the group the victim belonged to was trying to break up the fight, but video footage later showed otherwise.
According to the court, it is not clear what exactly caused the brawl, but it is certain that it was especially the Dutch group who continued to chase the Romanians and used violence. The judge convicted seven of the eight suspects of public violence. One of the Romanians was acquitted, because his involvement in the brawl is unclear.
No one wanted this outcome, the court said. In determining the sentences the court took each suspect's share in the brawl into account, but also worked on the principle of equal treatment for all involved.
Four of the Dutch suspects were given conditionally suspended prison sentences of four months and up to 200 hours of community service. The fifth Dutch was sentenced to 100 hours of community service. The Public Prosecutor asked that this man be acquitted. But the court ruled that although his role in the brawl was smaller than the others', he still participated in it.
The Public Prosecutor demanded three years in prison against Mirci M. for dealing the fatal blow. But the court ruled that this was self defense, and did not punish him for it. M. was thrown into the canal during the fight. When he climbed back out he saw one of his friends being beaten up. According the court, it was probably panic that made M. punch Gerritsen, which caused him to suffer a brain injury and later pass away.
M. was given a conditionally suspended prison sentence of three months and 150 hours of community service. His friend was sentenced to 70 days in prison, 46 of which conditionally suspended.