Trial of men accused of murdering criminal lawyer opens in Amsterdam

Lawyer worked for prosecution witness who also had links with journalist shot last week

A secured vehicle at the Schiphol Judicial Complex. Photograph: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP via Getty

A secured vehicle at the Schiphol Judicial Complex. Photograph: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP via Getty

 

The trial opened in Amsterdam on Monday of two men accused of murdering the lawyer for the key prosecution witness in a court case involving multiple drug-related killings – the same witness for whom journalist Peter R De Vries was acting as an adviser when he too was shot last week.

Despite several early attempts by the defence to have the hearing adjourned, judges decided to go ahead with the case against Moreno B (32), who allegedly shot lawyer Derk Wiersum as he left for work on September 18th, 2019, and Giermo B (37), who allegedly drove the getaway van.

There were armoured cars on patrol outside the high-security court complex near Schiphol airport as the two defendants appeared in the dock just after 10am. Moreno B, from Rotterdam, had long dreadlocks, while Giermo B, from Almere, wore a hooded sweater.

The two are accused of murdering Mr Wiersum (44), a father of two and part-time judge, as he said goodbye to his wife outside their home in the quiet Amsterdam suburb of Buitenveldeert.

The defendants told the court they were exercising their right to remain silent.

At the time he was killed, Mr Wiersum was appearing for Nabil B, the main prosecution witness in the so-called marengo trial, in which 16 defendants were charged in connection with six drugs-related murders, all allegedly ordered by the Netherlands’ most wanted criminal, Ridouan Taghi.

No protection

Despite the violent nature of the marengo case – the largest, most complex and arguably most controversial gangland case in Dutch history – neither Mr Wiersum nor any of the other lawyers had personal protection.

Mr Wiersum was not the first person associated with the case to be killed. Nabil B’s brother, who had no connection with the criminal underworld, had been shot dead the previous year, shortly after Nabil B agreed to become a prosecution witness.

In the weeks after Wiersum’s death, Dutch authorities acted against Taghi, who was extradited from Dubai – and is now on trial as the 17th defendant in the marengo case.

Following Wiersum’s assassination, Peter R De Vries – who is involved in a law practice with his son, Royce – became an adviser to Nabil B.

De Vries then became apparently the third casualty of the marengo case when he was shot in the head as he walked to his car in central Amsterdam last Tuesday. He remains seriously ill in hospital. Two men have been remanded in custody in connection with his shooting.

However, the following day Taghi’s lawyer, Inez Weski, maintained that any links between her client and the De Vries shooting were “unsubstantiated”.

Mr De Vries remains on the witness list for the Wiersum trial, which is scheduled to last five days.