Articles

Press offence before the Assise Court

Press offence before the Assise Court

Press offence before the Assise Court

17.12.2014

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

15.07.2019 EU law
ICO to impose record-breaking fines for inadequate security measures and data breaches

Short Reads - Though the European data protection authorities have taken their time in enforcing the GDPR, two announcements by the ICO in the UK regarding proposed fines for British Airways and Marriott demonstrate that large fines are about to start landing regularly. Both of the substantial fines are to be handed out as a result of shortcomings in handling data breaches caused by cyber-attacks.

Read more

27.06.2019 NL law
Stibbe launches website about Digital Economy

Inside Stibbe - Stibbe's Digital Economy group published a new website this week: Stibbedigital.com With this new website we aim to view technological developments including artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, the Internet of Things, smart mobility and the rise of digital platforms from a legal perspective.

Read more

05.07.2019 EU law
The two sides of the ECS coin

Articles - The concept of ‘electronic communications service’ (“ECS”) defined in Article 2(c) of Directive 2002/21/EC (“Framework Directive”) has been interpreted in two decisions of the ECJ in June 2019: C‑142/18 Skype communications and C-193/18 Google LLC.

Read more

21.06.2019 NL law
Nieuw boetebeleid van de Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens

Short Reads - Op 14 maart 2019 zijn de nieuwe Boetebeleidsregels Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens 2019 ("Boetebeleidsregels") van de Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens ("AP") gepubliceerd. Dit boetebeleid heeft de AP opgesteld vanwege de inwerkingtreding van de Algemene verordening gegevensverwerking ("AVG") en omdat er op Europees niveau nog geen boeterichtsnoeren zijn opgesteld.

Read more

02.07.2019 NL law
Debate night: HR Analytics: opportunity or threat?

Seminar - On 2 July 2019, Stibbe's Digital Economy Group will host a debate night in Amsterdam on the hot topic of HR analytics. During Stibbe's debate night, speakers from the world of business, politics, science and law will exchange views on HR analytics, how they can be used in practice, and their development in the context of employment and privacy law.

Read more

21.06.2019 NL law
Dutch Data Protection Authority publishes new fining policy

Short Reads - The Dutch Data Protection Authority ("DPA") has published its new Fining policy for Administrative Fines. The new policy was drafted in response to the lack of such guidelines at the European level following the entering into force of the General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"). In the policy, the DPA elaborates on how the amount of fines for infringements of the GDPR, the Police Data Act, the Judicial and Criminal Records Act and the Telecommunications Act will be calculated. In this blog post, we will discuss the outline of this new policy.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring