Investigation launched passers-by failed to help man that lay dying on Kortrijk’s market square

The police and the Judicial Authorities in the West Flemish city of Kortrijk have opened an investigation after CCTV images showed that 8 passers-by failed to help a man that lay dying on the city’s central market square last week. The 45-year-old man died. Failure to offer assistance to a person in need is a criminal offence in Belgium. Tom Janssens of the Kortrijk Judicial Authorities told VRT News that "Everyone is legally obliged to help a person in need”. 

It was just after midnight and the man was sat down on a wall on Kortrijk’s central market square. He then became unwell fell and died from his injuries. While he was lying dying on the ground 8 people walked by and failed to help the man. They also didn’t bother alerting the emergency services.    

The Judicial Authorities’ Tom Janssens told VRT News “The police are investigating the cause of death. However, we have also launched an investigation into failure to offer assistance to a person in need. We have been able to identify a number of passers-by. We will trace and identify the other people that can be seen on the CCTV images and question them”.     

Those found guilty of failing to help a person in need risk a jail sentence of between eight days and one year and a fine of 500 euro. However, in order to be found guilty it needs to be proven that the accused knew for certain that the other person was genuinely in serious danger.