Akwasi decision encounters incomprehension, but ‘construction is used more often’

What rapper Akwasi said on Dam Square about Black Pete is sedition, but because he openly distances himself from it, he will not be prosecuted on probation. Some people do not agree with the reasoning of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Amsterdam.

On the CCeit-Facebook page it is also referred to as a ‘Grapperhausje’ in the more than 2400 reactions to the news. “Say you’re sorry and maybe a tear and it’s okay again”, responds Tezney. She is referring to the apologies made by the Minister of Justice after the fuss about his wedding, which had not been kept at sufficient distance.

On Twitter, too, people wonder why the rapper is not being prosecuted:

For the Public Prosecution Service, the most important thing is to ensure safety during the approaching St Nicholas period, a spokesperson explains. Now that Akwasi has distanced himself from his words on social media, making positive use of his influence, the Public Prosecutor hopes that the risk of violence will decrease.

“We believe that everyone should be able to walk the streets safely, even dressed as Black Pete. If Akwasi had to appear in court first, it would take much longer” The Public Prosecutor’s Office spokesman estimates that he should have prevented this in more than six months’ time, well after St Nicholas, and that he would eventually be fined.

No exceptions

According to Professor of Criminal Law Ferry de Jong (Utrecht University), the construction ‘guilty, but not punishable under the conditions that’ is regularly applied. “It saves the Public Prosecution Service the time and high costs involved in a public trial Moreover, if the conditions imposed are in the public interest, this is preferable for the Public Prosecution Service.

In the case of Akwasi, the conditions are that he does not commit a criminal offence for a year and does not withdraw his apology.

There is a very good chance that the case will still go to court, thinks professor of criminal law Sven Brinkhoff (Open University). After all, if even one of the 44 people who have reported Akwasi is complaining on the basis of Article 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the matter could still become a court case.

This happened, for example, in the first criminal trial against PVV leader Geert Wilders, more than ten years ago. At the time, the Public Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute, but via an Article 12 procedure at the court of appeal, a court case was nevertheless enforced.

You can find Akwasi’s full statement in this Twitter post:

On social media, some people wonder how sincere Akwasi’s apologies are when he makes them three months after the demonstration and only when the public prosecutor insists. According to Ferry de Jong, it does not matter whether the excuses were sincere. “The important thing is that the condition is complied with, in this case in view of St Nicholas

Then there is the issue of the old tweets from Akwasi that surfaced last week. One of them was “What do I provoke if I kill a black Peter?”. His spokesman initially said that the rapper was not responsible for those tweets, but a day later, Akwasi deleted his account and distanced himself from it. There have also been reports about these messages and the Public Prosecutor says they are still being assessed.

The Akwasi case is therefore not yet definitively closed, emphasises Sven Brinkhoff. He understands the criticism of the social media, but thinks that the conditional dismissal is a good step on the part of the Public Prosecution Service. “It shows that imposing a sentence is a last resort. If you can do justice to the case just as effectively in another way, then that’s a good solution”