Prosecution demands hefty fines for Rail Company as Buizingen rail disaster trial gets under way

On the opening day of the Buizingen (Flemish Brabant) rail disaster trial the Public Prosecutor has asked for hefty fines to be imposed on the rail operator NMBS and the rail infrastructure company Infrabel. A three year suspended sentence has been demanded for the driver of a train accused of having failed to stop at a red signal thus causing the accident that resulted in the deaths of 19 people on 15 February 2010.  

 

The Public Prosecutor says that the train driver, NMBS and Infrabel are all responsible for accident. The train driver because he failed to stop at a red signal, NMBS for using the wrong locomotive at the front of the train and Infrabel for allowing trains to use the stretch of track after they had removed a safety system.

The Public Prosecutor is demanding a fine of 700,000 euro be imposed on NMBS and that Infrabel is fined 650,000 euro. A three-year suspended sentence is being demanded for the train driver who “was the person responsible in the chain”.

The prosecutor went on to say that “This should never have happened. I hope that everyone has learned lessons from this”. The Public Prosecutor also apologised to the victims and their families for the time it has taken for the case to come to trial.

The barrister representing the train driver Dimitri de Béco is asking for his client’s acquittal. In additional to procedural issues Mr de Béco cites reasonable doubt as to whether the train driver actually drove through a red signal. Mr de Béco added that he is pleased  that the case has finally come to trial more than 9 and a half years after the accident.