A retrial has been ordered for two men over the murder of veteran Dutch investigative journalist Peter R de Vries, who was shot five times at point blank range in a gangland killing in Amsterdam last year.
The new trial, scheduled to open on January 12th, is expected to feature as many as six defendants as a result of new evidence, say prosecutors.
The case against Delano G (22) and Kamil E (33) – alleged to have been gunman and getaway driver respectively – was dramatically stopped just days before a verdict was due in July because prosecutors said they had identified a crucial new witness.
There has been a string of fresh arrests since Witness 5089 agreed to talk to detectives in return for a guarantee of safety, with five men now in custody in addition to the original two.
The most high-profile arrest was of 27-year-old Polish national Krystian M, described by prosecutors as having “directed” the killing. He was charged in a prison cell where he was being held in connection with a previous unrelated offence.
There were also arrests in the port city of Rotterdam, in Spain, and on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.
The process has also been beset by controversy. One of the judges hearing the case up to the point where it was stopped in July has moved abroad.
A replacement has since been appointed, but the law requires a retrial unless all the parties can agree a compromise – and that has been opposed by counsel for Kamil E.
Kamil E’s lawyer, Ayse Ҫimen, pointed out that life sentences had been demanded by the prosecution. “So the judges who decide this case must be aware of all of the evidence and all of the statements in detail – and that means the evidence must be heard again.”
Ronald van der Horst, counsel for Delano G, claimed the new evidence showed the prosecution had “hidden exculpatory findings while coolly demanding life sentences” – something prosecutors deny.
As a way of dealing with these complications, judges in Amsterdam decided to hear all the evidence in one new case beginning in January.
That means a retrial for Delano G and Kamil E in a case that will also incorporate the new evidence since July – and that will most likely feature at least six defendants.