Arrest of A'dam mayor's son not covered up, authorities say

Dutch police
A sign hanging in front of a Dutch police post. April 30, 2006Photo: M.M.Minderhoud via Michiel1972Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The police and Public Prosecution Service released a joint statement denying that the arrest of Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema's 15-year-old son was kept quiet or covered up. The boy has not been charged with burglary, but did have a fake weapon with him when he was arrested last month, lawyer Peter Plasman, who is representing the boy, said in an interview with newspaper AD. 

"With information about the work of the police and Public Prosecution Service, it is about the balance between openness and transparency on the one hand and the interests of a fair trial and the privacy of those involved on the other", the police and Prosecutor said. "The general policy that applies to every fifteen-year-old boy in the Netherlands was applied. Therefore, there is absolutely no question that an arrest was 'hushed up'."

"This really, really involves mischief. He entered a deserted houseboat with a friend and got onto another kind of boat, a little slpop that was beside it. And there they messed around with fire extinguishers. And he had a fake weapon with him", lawyer Plasman said to newspaper AD. 

To be suspected of burglary, you have to actually break-in somewhere, the lawyer said. "That still needs to be investigated, but this abandoned, unoccupied houseboat was just open. It remains to be seen wether a valve or something was opened on that other sloop. And there must be signs of intended theft. And that was not the case." Plasman points out that the boys were spraying the fire extinguishers in plain enough sight that someone called the police. "If you want to steal something, you won't be playing with a fire extinguisher."

Halsema did not make this incident public herself out of concerns for her son's privacy, Plasman said. "If she had brought this out, the case would be blown up terribly because it was her son. She informed everyone who should know about it. That a cover-up is talked about now is really scandalous." He could not say why the Telegraaf wrote that the authorities are dissatisfied with this case being hushed up.

Plasman also confirmed that this was the boy's first contact with the law. "I was there when he was interrogated: he is a first offender, so no criminal record."

The case is currently with the Public Prosecution Service in Haarlem, as to avoid any conflict of interests or accusations of favoritism. The Prosecutor received the file last week and is still considering the case, a spokesperson said to The expectation is that a clear statement on this case will be given next month, when it is clear whether further investigation is needed and whether the case will be prosecuted, according to the newspaper. 


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