brussels - For the time being, the people's jury in Belgian justice will continue to exist for a while. A law to virtually abolish this so-called court of assizes has been killed. The Constitutional Court ruled that the law can not go through the braces. The government in Brussels wants to save costs and reduce the workload at the courts.
The constitution states that the most serious crimes must be dealt with by an assize jury of citizens. Because of the offending law, only crimes for which the Public Prosecution Service is still demanding life would be treated by the Assize Court. As a result, virtually all cases would come before the 'ordinary' criminal judge.
According to the court, this is contrary to the constitution because there is a risk that similar crimes will be treated differently. Moreover, the court could impose heavier sentences than a jury, and according to the court this also amounts to legal inequality. The judgment does not mean that previous judgments will become invalid.