BRUSSELS (Brussels Morning) – Two people in their thirties who were arrested on December 19 before the demonstration against the Covid Safe Ticket because they had a lot of dangerous fireworks in their pocket have been sentenced to five and six months in prison. The court ruled that they had no intention of rioting or injuring police officers.
Because there had been incidents at three previous demonstrations in Brussels against the corona measures, the police were extra vigilant on 19 December and checks were carried out before the start. Among other things, the officers picked out two people in their thirties, who were carrying large backpacks. One of them had 21 flares in his pocket, the other was in possession of more than twenty small bombs, several smoke flares, a catapult and about eighty paintball balls whose paint had been replaced by petrol and white spirit.
DOVO, the demining service of the army, examined all the material and it appeared that the seized goods could cause a dangerous explosion. According to the prosecutor’s office, the two men clearly intended to cause disruption and behave in an unruly manner.
The defence strongly denied that at the trial last month. “My client is not a troublemaker and had no malicious intentions,” pleaded the lawyer for one of them.
“He suffers from an anxiety disorder and was having a hard time because of the corona measures. His psychologist had told him that he had to get in touch with people and maybe participate in a corona demonstration.”
“The first demonstration went well, and because fireworks were also being set off at the time, he saw no flaws in it. He did not realise that the fireworks he had bought on the internet were so dangerous. He was careless, but he intended to do no harm.”
Deferred prison sentences
The lawyers for the two defendants also disputed that their client was out to riot. “There is no evidence whatsoever that he intended to engage in armed rebellion.” The man himself stated that he had found the paintball balls on the street and had wanted to hand them over to the police.
The court listened to the explanation of the defence and acquitted the two defendants for possession of objects intended to commit armed inconsistency and for possession of explosive material intended to injure police officers. They were sentenced to 5 and 6 months in prison with a postponement for possession of objects that are dangerous to public order.