Belgium: Policewomen on trial following LSD death at Dour festival

The public prosecutor’s office on Monday requested the acquittal of four policewomen on trial for not assisting a young Frenchman who died during the Dour festival in July 2016.

The case is being tried before the Sixth Chamber of the Hainaut Correctional Court, Mons Division.

The 26-year-old, who had consumed LSD, was taken to a drunk tank for disrupting public order, the public prosecutor’s office said. He died a few hours later in hospital.

At the initial proceedings, the prosecution had asked for a dismissal of the case, but the indictment chamber decided to send the policewomen back to court, a decision confirmed by  the Court of Cassation.

On Monday, the representative of the public prosecutor’s office again requested the acquittal of the policewomen. “I don’t think the file establishes that there was a voluntary refusal to assist,” he said.

However, the lawyer for the civil parties argued that the policewomen were at fault for not assisting a young man who was banging his head against the walls of the cell, who was breathing badly, and who was trembling.

The lawyer, Me. Mayence, accused the policewomen of lying during the hearing and said they had disagreed on essential points of the case. He maintained that they should have called a doctor, given the serious danger the victim was facing.

The young man who sold LSD to the victim is also being prosecuted in court for selling drugs whose consumption led to death. He disputed the causal link between the death and the consumption of LSD, as there were no traces in the victim’s blood.

The prosecution considered that the causal link with the death was certain. The deputy public prosecutor confirmed that the cause of death was a generalised failure to perform as a result of the consumption of narcotics.

A sentence of three to four years was requested against the dealer.

The defence was scheduled to enter its plea later.

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