Fifteen months in prison for tractor attack on photojournalist
A 34-year-old man who used his tractor to push a photojournalist’s car into a ditch in Lunteren last year was convicted and sentenced to fifteen months in prison on Monday, of which seven months were suspended. The judge did not consider the act to be one of attempted manslaughter, but did find evidence for destruction of property and attempted aggravated assault.
The victim is a photojournalist who wanted to take pictures of a car fire at the farm where the defendant, Appie E., was working on the evening of April 19. The photographer's arrival immediately prompted E. and two others present to become enraged, even though he remained on the public road. They threatened to "smash" him if he didn't leave.
The owner of the Lunteren farm, a gardener who was present, and E., used branches to strike the car in which the photographer and his girlfriend were sitting. E. then walked back to the farm and returned with his tractor, which was used to scoop up the victim's car and toss it upside down into a ditch. The court ruled that images from the photographer's dashboard camera showed that there was "blind panic" among the occupants. The fire brigade had to get the trapped duo out of the vehicle.
During the trial, E. said he did not know the victim was a journalist, and thought they were bystanders who wanted to capture the suffering of others and upload the footage to YouTube. The fact that the men were not aware they were attacking photojournalists did not make the attack any less serious, according to the court.
The 55-year-old owner of the farm in Lunteren and the 21-year-old gardener from Barneveld will be prosecuted later for public violence and making threats.
Reporting by ANP