Dutch MP given suspended jail sentence, community service for unlicensed driving
A police judge in The Hague convicted Member of Parliament Gideon van Meijeren on allegations that he drove through a red light while operating a scooter from a vehicle-sharing platform. The Forum voor Democratie MP was not allowed to operate the vehicle at the time, as a court had previously taken away his driver's license. The politician was arrested in December 2021.
Van Meijeren was convicted and sentenced during a hearing on Friday afternoon. The court ordered him to serve 60 hours of community service, and imposed a one-week suspended jail sentence. He was not present at his criminal trial, but the MP wrote an email to the court on Friday explaining his absence, and acknowledging the legal infraction.
In the email he confessed that he was driving the scooter without a driver's license, and he expressed his regret for breaking the law. He said he was not aware that he needed a driver's license for that class of scooter. "But I realize that everyone should know the law." The vehicle he was operating, called a snorfiets in Dutch, is supposed to have a top speed of 25 kilometers per hour.
The 34-year-old MP previously lost his driver's license because he had refused to cooperate with a breath test after while behind the wheel. The prosecutor said, "He didn't care that his driver's license had been taken away less than two weeks earlier. He put his own interest above the interest of road safety." The prosecutor recommended 50 hours of community service and one week of probation.
The judge immediately issued the verdict and adhered to the guidelines that courts are supposed to apply in similar situations. "He was not insured, twice ran red lights. He has a function as a role model. I don't have to apply much consideration," the police judge ruled.
In addition to being a member of parliament, Van Meijeren is also a city council member in The Hague, and also sits as a member of the Zuid-Holland Provincial Council who also was employed to get out the vote in the run-up to the provincial elections earlier this month.
Van Meijeren was also convicted of driving under the influence in 2010 and 2011.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times