Articles

Press offence before the Assise Court

Press offence before the Assise Court

17.12.2014 NL law

For only the second time since World War II, the Brussels’ Chamber of Indictment has referred a press offence to be trialed by a jury, before the Assise Court. 

A press offence is any abuse of the freedom of expression such as libel and slander (Article 383 of the Belgian Criminal Code); written insult (Art. 448 BCC); or obscene or indecent writings (Art. 383 BCC) that is committed by using the (printing) press and which is made public. A press offence is therefore only distinct from other offences, in the way that it is committed through the press. According to the Supreme Court, the criminal expression of an idea or opinion through printed and published writings constitutes a press offence.

Article 150 of the Belgian Constitution provides that all press offences, except for those which are inspired by racism or xenophobia should be trialed by jury.

However, since 1941 only one case of a press offence has been trialed by the Assise Court. Usually, the Court’s Chamber of Indictment finds that the conditions for a press offence have not been fulfilled, in which case the matter is dealt with by the correctional courts, or that the case has been statute-barred. Not so in this case.

The facts concern a university professor who has sent allegedly libelous e-mails to other members of the faculty about one of his colleagues. This colleague subsequently filed charges for libel and slander. Where usually such cases are dealt with by the correctional courts or even the civil courts, in this case the defendant argued that it concerned a press offence and that it should therefore be dealt with by a jury trial. The Court’s Chamber of Indictment confirmed this and referred the case to the Court of Assise. Following the judgment of the Chamber of Indictment, the prosecutor will now have to schedule the case on the Assise Court’s agenda.

 

Click here to see a printable version of this article

All rights reserved. Care has been taken to ensure that the content of this e-bulletin is as accurate as possible. However the accuracy and completeness of the information in this e-bulletin, largely based upon third party sources, cannot be guaranteed. The materials contained in this e-bulletin have been prepared and provided by Stibbe for information purposes only. They do not constitute legal or other professional advice and readers should not act upon the information contained in this e-bulletin without consulting legal counsel. Consultation of this e-bulletin will not create an attorney-client relationship between Stibbe and the reader. The e-bulletin may be used only for personal use and all other uses are prohibited.

Team

Related news

15.11.2017 BE law
Hof van Cassatie trekt streep door eerste schadevergoeding toegekend door Raad van State

Articles - Opdat aan de Raad van State een ontvankelijk verzoek tot schadevergoeding zou kunnen worden gericht, is onder meer vereist dat er een arrest voorligt waarin de Raad van State de onwettigheid van een handeling vaststelt. Het Hof van Cassatie verduidelijkt in een arrest van 15 september 2017 wat moet worden begrepen als een "arrest waarbij de onwettigheid wordt vastgesteld". Een arrest dat de intrekking vaststelt, valt er volgens het Hof niet onder.

Read more

25.10.2017 NL law
Ontwerpwet Generieke Digitale Infrastructuur voor advies naar de Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens

Short Reads - Met de ontwerpwet Generieke Digitale Infrastructuur ("Wet GDI") wordt beoogd dat burgers de beschikking krijgen over elektronische identificatiemiddelen ("eID") met een hoger betrouwbaarheidsniveau dan het huidige DigiD. Tegelijkertijd krijgen publieke dienstverleners meer zekerheid over de identiteit de burger aan wie zij die diensten verlenen.

Read more

26.10.2017 NL law
Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens adviseert negatief over Implementatiewet PSD2

Short Reads - Het wetsvoorstel Implementatiewet herziene richtlijn betaaldiensten ("Wet PSD2") voorziet in de wijziging van verschillende wetten (waaronder de Wet financieel toezicht (Wft) en het Burgerlijk Wetboek (BW)) en de nationale omzetting van Richtlijn (EU) 2015/2366 van het Europees Parlement en de Raad van 25 november 2015 betreffende betalingsdiensten in de interne markt, houdende wijziging van de Richtlijnen 2002/65/EG, 2009/110/EG en 2013/36/EU en Verordening (EU) nr. 1093/2010 en houdende intrekking van Richtlijn 2007/64/EG.

Read more

Our website uses cookies: third party analytics cookies to best adapt our website to your needs & cookies to enable social media functionalities. For more information on the use of cookies, please check our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Please note that you can change your cookie opt-ins at any time via your browser settings.

Privacy and Cookie Policy