‘Thijs H.’ challenges post-conviction report on his mental state

‘Thijs H.’ challenges post-conviction report on his mental state
‘Thijs H.’ challenges post-conviction report on his mental state

“I had no confidence whatsoever in these rapporteurs,” said Thijs Hermans, convicted of three murders, at the medical disciplinary board in Den Bosch on Wednesday at the end of the hearing. Hermans wants the disciplinary board to determine that the investigators of an expert report in his criminal case were biased, ignored important information and therefore wrote a report that does not meet the requirements.

This is a report with major consequences, because it gave room for doubt about Hermans’ psychosis. Partly because of this doubt, Hermans, who is mentioned by full name at his request, was not declared incompetent for stabbing three random walkers to death in 2019 in The Hague and Brunssum. Instead, he was declared ‘only’ less accountable and the court in Den Bosch imposed a 22-year prison sentence and TBS, a sentence that was confirmed last year by the Supreme Court.

Several researchers, including a team from the Pieter Baan Center (PBC), concluded that Hermans was acting in a psychosis and recommended that he be declared completely incompetent. During that psychosis, he received orders from “the system” that threatened “that my entire family would be exterminated,” Hermans explained again to the disciplinary board on Wednesday. He had no free choice, the PBC found, among others.

Hermans: “I had no reason to do this and a million reasons not to do it.”

His story was and still is not believed by the authors of the third report, against whom the disciplinary case was filed on Wednesday. Those researchers, a psychiatrist and a psychologist, stood by their report during the hearing. They acknowledge that they “could not gain insight into the inner world” of Hermans, which meant that they ultimately did not have enough information to arrive at an opinion on (in)responsibility. But at the same time they came to the conclusion that they did not believe Hermans or that he was psychotic. The psychiatrist: “Our conclusion is that Hermans’ story does not match the facts.”

‘Nightmare within a nightmare’

Hermans hardly spoke during the hearing. But he was outspoken about the collaboration with these researchers: “It was the ultimate nightmare within a nightmare for me. So incredibly controlling, I was completely demonized. I thought: I can’t argue with this anymore.”

The fact that the rapporteurs, on the one hand, did not want to make statements about a punishment recommendation due to a lack of insight, but on the other hand they did suggest firmly about the absence of a psychosis, was extensively questioned by the disciplinary board.

The psychiatrist defended himself by stating that their report did not establish that there was no psychosis, only that they found “no hard evidence” for it. Several members of the disciplinary committee wanted to know why it was written down so firmly. “To improve the readability of the piece,” the psychiatrist explained. Most of the hearing was about the question of the psychosis that has been causing controversy in the case of Thijs Hermans for years.

After Hermans’ conviction NRC a reconstruction of the case, which showed that important information had been withheld by Mondriaan, the mental health institution where Hermans was being treated at the time of the murders. Mondriaan had incorrectly diagnosed Hermans as an ADHD patient, after which he was prescribed a psychosis-inducing drug, the PBC had established, among others. Mondriaan had neglected the risk of pyschoses for Hermans, according to the withheld documents. But then the conviction was already a fact. No one had ever given an answer to the question of why a boy without any violent or problematic past suddenly kills three people without being psychotic.

Also read
How Thijs Hermans slipped further into psychosis: a reconstruction


There was unrest among psychiatrists about the way in which judges had overruled the judgment of Pieter Baan Centrum and other psychiatrists and psychologists in this case. And about the question of whether the ‘third report’ was correct.

The hearing was not only about Hermans’ psychosis, whether or not it was present. The disciplinary complaint also concerned that an employee of Mondriaan had participated in the investigation into Hermans as an intern. And that the report had not been drawn up in accordance with the guidelines because selective use had been made of sources, no substantiated conclusions had been drawn up, and because the rapporteurs had failed to speak to people themselves. Lawyer Bénédicte Fiqc van Hermans: “The rapporteurs have selectively looked for the substantiation of their own biased position.”

Ultimately, the disciplinary board will not pass judgment in the controversy about Hermans’ psychosis. The question is whether the defendants have sufficiently adhered to the guidelines for pro justitia rapporteurs.

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Thijs challenges postconviction report mental state


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