Sophie Lever, boss of the Limburg federal judicial police, has been definitively acquitted of negligence in the riots in Meulenberg. Last month, the criminal court in Hasselt acquitted her. Now the case is completely in the past, because no one filed an appeal after the deadline expired.
Several police officers were injured during the riots on October 11, 2013 in the Meulenberg district of Houthalen. Lummen resident Mario Ghijs, who was struck in the head by a stone through the window of his truck, suffered the most serious injuries. He was scarred for life and had to give up his job. Together with his wife and three former colleagues, he took Lever, who was a manager on the site during the action in Meulenberg, to court. He accused her of being sent into the neighborhood without sufficient protective equipment.
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The Hasselt criminal court ruled at the beginning of October that Lever could not be accused of a lack of caution. According to the judge, the unforeseen situation had gotten completely out of hand. Now, ten years after the facts, this procedure is also over. There will be no follow-up before the Court of Appeal. “My client is serenely satisfied that the legal battle against her has now come to an end, that she has been cleared of all blame by the court through this final acquittal,” says her lawyer Erik Schellingen. “After more than 10 years it was allowed to stop. She is an extremely honest and competent officer who can now lead the federal judicial police in Limburg, ultimately hoping that the affected colleague and his family can also find peace after the long ordeal. Her thoughts are with them.”