Groningen student fined €1,000 for causing brain injury in hazing ritual

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A 25-year-old member of Groningen student association Vindicat was fined 1 thousand euros on appeal for assaulting a prospective member during a hazing ritual in the summer of 2016. The student stood on the prospective member's head, causing a brain injury, ANP reports.

The aspiring Vindicat members had to stand against a wall in a dark room in the Vindicat building. The victim had to lie down with his stomach on the floor and turn his head with a cheek on the concrete floor. The Wouter B. then stood on his head. The 25-year-old man was hit by the victim at a cafe before the ritual and wanted to set an example for the rest of the newcomers, according to the news wire.

Last year the court convicted the student of aggravated assault and sentenced him to 240 hours of community service and 31 days in prison, 30 of which conditionally suspended. He appealed.

The court of appeal now ruled that the incident was not aggravated assault. The victim said he shouted in pain, but this could not be confirmed through statements by the suspect and witnesses. It can also not be established that the victim sustained a skull fracture. The boy's parents, who have a medical background, say he did, but experts were cautious in their conclusions on this point.

The suspect's lawyer called for acquittal saying that this was a game situation which humiliation forms part of. By participating in the hazing, the prospective Vindicat member had implicitly given permission, the lawyer argued. But the court ruled that the prospective member could not have expected, and therefore not given permission for, the assault. 

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