Dutch prosecution of the fatal abuse case in Mallorca

Foto van Pieter Verrest

The case of the fatal abuse of 27-year-old Carlo on Mallorca has been officially transferred to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) by the Spanish authorities. Pieter Verrest, Professor of Criminal Law at Erasmus School of Law, explains why this is a logical decision in an article of nu.nl. Joost Nan, Associate Professor of Criminal(procedural)law at Erasmus School of Law, explains what the suspects may be facing as punishment at RTL nieuws.

14 July 2021. In the early morning, the victim was kicked several times to the head, resulting in severe head injuries. After several days in the hospital, the victim died from these injuries. After the incident, the suspects in the case immediately flew back to the Netherlands, resulting in the question of where the prosecution should take place.

Spanish or Dutch prosecution?

“The criminal offence was committed in Spain, and the first evidence was collected in Spain. For that reason, it might be logical to continue in Spain", according to Verrest. A Spanish prosecution corresponds with the principle that prosecution should occur in the country where the criminal offence was committed.

“But other factors are also important in determining where prosecution takes place. Where is the evidence being collected? Where are the suspects, and what are their nationalities? Where did the victim reside?", Verrest states at nu.nl. Taking everything into account, a prosecution in the Netherlands would make sense. The case has been officially transferred to the Netherlands, resulting in the prohibition of a Spanish prosecution.

National differences in sentencing

The decision to transfer the case to the Netherlands has, among other things, resulted in angry reactions from the people. For example, it is expected that the suspects may receive a lower sentence in the Netherlands than they would in Spain for the same criminal offence.

It is to be expected that Spain has a different criminal justice system than the Netherlands. However, Verrest does not expect big differences: "Certainly with serious violent crimes of this kind, the sentences will not differ much from one another."

Possible punishments for the suspects 

There is a big difference between public assault and suspicion of attempted murder. "For the suspicion of violence resulting in serious injury or death, someone must have inflicted the injury themselves. There is no collective liability", Nan explains to RTL news.

But this does not mean that suspects who have not committed assault go free. "In the basic form of public violence, someone who has contributed to the violence can be prosecuted, even if this is not a violent act in itself", according to Nan. Examples of these contributions are acts that encourage or facilitate violence.

Public assault generally carries a lesser penalty than assault resulting in grievous bodily harm or death. But in the Mallorca case, Nan expects the judiciary to demand higher sentences. "As the condition of the victim is also taken into account."

Associate professor
More information

Read the entire article on nu.nl here (in Dutch).
Read the entire RTL nieuws article here (in Dutch).

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