- Category: News
- Created on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 16:51
- Written by Amsterdam Herald
In an unprecedented move, the attorney-general Diederik Aden has asked the Supreme Court to review the case, which centred on the murder of a woman in a Chinese restaurant in Breda, North Brabant, in 1993.
Three men of Turkish, Surinamese and Moroccan origin were found guilty on the testimony of three Dutch women, who were also convicted of the crime. The women received reduced sentences of between 15 months and two years because they co-operated with the authorities.
The victim, the 56-year-old mother of the restaurant owner, was strangled and beaten to death with a wok. The killers made off with the contents of the restaurant’s gambling machines.
The case went unsolved until police received a tip-off incriminating the six suspects, who were aged between 18 and 20. The police investigation thereafter focused exclusively on finding evidence that pointed to their guilt.
A new investigation into the case found that the confessions of the three women had been made under duress and were unreliable. Police showed them photographs of the crime scene which were later used in evidence against them.
The investigation team were also found to have withheld statements from witnesses which could have acquitted the six, while two girls who provided a possible alibi for one of the suspects were investigated on suspicion of perjury.
Forensic experts re-examined blood evidence from the scene which indicated the killer was a man of south-east Asian origin, a profile none of the six suspects fitted.
Law psychology lecturer Peter van Koppen, who examined the case with a team of student researchers at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit (VU), told the Nieuwsuur TV show that some of the evidence in the case was ‘bizarre’.
The women’s confessions included the detail that banknotes had been stolen from the gambling machines, even though the equipment is coin-operated.
The case marks the first time that the country’s senior prosecutor, rather than a defence lawyer, has asked the Supreme Court to reopen a case because of concerns that the convictions were unsafe.
He told the Supreme Court that ‘serious consideration must be given to the possibility’ that the convicted six had suffered a miscarriage of justice.
Geert-Jan Knoops, who represents the three male suspects, said the case was ‘shocking’. He added: ‘The number of miscarriages of justice in the Netherlands may be far higher than we have been inclined to think.’