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Dead Dutch linesman trial: suspects speak in court

The dead Dutch linesman trial started today in court. Suspects could speak in court today. Some did, but their stories didn’t always match.

Still from the Respect for Richard campaign which was held by refereeing blogs around the world.
Still from the Respect for Richard campaign which was held by refereeing blogs around the world.

The situation

Back to the 2nd of December 2012. Youth teams of Buitenboys and Nieuw Sloten were competing with each other. Richard Nieuwenhuizen was a linesman of the home team – in the Dutch system most teams have their own (non-neutral) assistant referee. Just a few minutes before the end Nieuw Sloten scored the 2:2 equaliser. The goal scorer walked by the assistant referee and said to him the AR should ‘keep up with him’ when he ran to the goal. “He was biased and very stern that match”, one of the suspects says during court day 1. My source is the liveblog of, Dutch biggest news website.

Right after the last whistle from the referee, the teams ended up in a fight for about a minute. Nieuwenhuizen has scolded at the players from Nieuw Sloten, is what one of the players (a suspect) says in court. A few hours after the match Nieuwenhuizen becomes unwell. He died one day later in the hospital.

Read previous blog with full story about the Nieuwenhuizen incident and things that followed in past months.

The suspects

Dead Dutch linesman trial (day 1)

Below you can find the most important things about the first day in court.

  • District attorny says that Nieuwenhuizen ” very likely” died due to violence and kicks against head and neck.
  • Earlier this week a US expert says Nieuwenhuizen died due to a tear that spontaneously appeared in the neck artery
  • Dutch forensics said that it is “very unlikely” that the linesman died due to a weakness in his veins.
  • According to Belgian neuro surgeon and professor Emile Beuls the defence is using the findings of the US expert only to create doubts about the cause of death
  • Suspects say Nieuwenhuizen was scolding at them. One of the lawyers ealier said that Nieuwenhuizen was provoking the Nieuwe Sloten players. “He said: ‘Hit me, one hit is enough’.”
  • Some suspects admit kicking Nieuwenhuizen on his shoulder once, but they were mostly blaming each other.
  • One of the suspects was supposed to have said that he would be screwed if there was video footage of the incident. Today during the trial he denied this.
  • The father said he only wants to calm down the players

Other facts about the trial

  • 41 witnesses were heard
  • One lawyer wants transcripts of the police interrogations on paper. Costs: 1,60 euro per minute for typing out what has been said.
  • The trial will take 5 days

Court day 2

Most important things from the second day in court in the case of the dead Dutch linesman:

  • The lawyer of the Nieuwenhuizen family announced in tv program ‘Knevel & Van den Brink’ that the relatives of the linesman will ask for financial compensation. How much money will he be aiming at? Material damage: 225.000 euro’s (funeral costs and because the linesman was breadwinner of the family). Immaterial (shock) damage: 25.000 euro’s per suspect.
  • The judgets tried to get clear what happened during the incident last year’s December, but suspects were not talking so much.
  • Family of Richard Nieuwenhuizen had the right to speak too. Son Jamie Nieuwenhuizen: “It was huge shock to me”, he said. “It feels like I’ve suddenly become an adult and the responsible. My role in live has changed.”
  • A declaration of son Mykel Nieuwenhuizen, who was a player during the match, was read out loud by someone else: “‘Stop it hurts”, said my dad when he was hit by the boys.” And then: “I’ve build an altar with candles on my room.” Mykel’s live changed a lot and he couldn’t do the normal things in a teenagers life. “I’ve not visited school for two months and I’m way behind. I’m not going to pass this year. My live has changed enormously.

The district attorney will make is plea tomorrow. Then we’ll hear what sentence he’s asking for the suspects.

Day 3 in court

Dutch professor in International Criminal Law and lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops thinks it’s possible that the suspects in the Richard Nieuwenhuizen case won’t be punished. “The criminal law has its limitations”, he says to “There’s no collective liability (in The Netherlands, jth). Everybody’s guilt should be individually determined by the court. I think acquittal is possible in this case if it’s not clear who did what.”

Most important things from the third day in court were the sentences demanded:

  • Public prosecutor demands a prison sentence of six years for the father of one of the kids.
  • The teenagers will be sentenced by juvenile justice. The public prosecutor asks for a 1,5 year youth detention for 4 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old with two year probation. For a 15-year-old 10 months jail. All for manslaughter.
  • DThe sentence demanded for another 15-year-old suspect is 17 days for kicking the goalie of the oponents (violence in public).
  • Hij heeft tegen de vier 16-jarige en een 17-jarige verdachte 24 maanden jeugddetentie, waarvan 6 maanden voorwaardelijk met een proeftijd van twee jaar geëist


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