THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The trial of the alleged shooter and getaway driver in the slaying of a prominent Dutch crime reporter must start anew after one of the judges hearing the case emigrated, a court in Amsterdam ruled Thursday.
The decision means a long delay in the case against two key suspects in last year’s shooting of journalist Peter R. de Vries in Amsterdam, a crime that prompted the government of the Netherlands to announce an intensification of efforts to crackdown on organized crime.
The trial of the alleged shooter, 23-year-old Dutchman Delano G., and the suspected getaway driver, Polish national Kamil E., 36, was close to completion. Prosecutors had called for life sentences for both men.
However, just days before judges were scheduled to deliver verdicts in July, prosecutors took the unusual step of filing new evidence, a move that reopened the case and forced the cancellation of the verdicts.
Now, with one of the three judges who assessed evidence moving out of the Netherlands, a replacement judge must be appointed and the trial has to be restarted.
Prosecutors accuse Delano G. of shooting De Vries at close range on a downtown Amsterdam street on July 6, 2021. The campaigning reporter and television personality died of his injuries nine days later at age 64.
Police arrested the suspected gunman and getaway driver near The Hague soon after shooting. Since then, several more suspects have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in organizing the hit.
While the motive for de Vries’ shooting remains unknown, it bore the hallmarks of other gangland hits in the Dutch underworld the journalist covered.
Before his shooting, De Vries was an adviser and confidant for a witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine.” The witness’ brother and his lawyer both were murdered.
The gang’s suspected leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2019 and is currently awaiting verdicts in his trial on multiple counts of murder.
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.