Foto: Belga

Prosecutors identify 148,000 corona suspects

Figures from Belgian public prosecutors show that since the start of the epidemic 148,000 dossiers have been opened in connection with violations of corona rules.  The dossiers relate to people who spat at others, infringements of the curfew, the ban on gatherings or mandatory masking.

In all, exactly 147,969 suspects have been identified.  16,672 are minors.

“In 60% of cases people will be offered an amicable settlement.  Just over half have already paid this settlement” says An Schoonjans of the panel of prosecutors-general.

“Refuse to pay the fine suggested in the amicable settlement and you’ll be brought to court” says Ms Schoonjans. 

People who attend lockdown parties or repeatedly flouted the rules are sent to court straight away.  15,000 suspects have already appeared in court.  8,000 rulings have been made.  63% of cases have been finalised by prosecutors or suspects have been subpoenaed.

Enforcement of corona measures is a priority for Belgian prosecutors.  “It shows in the figures.  Only 2% of cases to be brought before a correctional court have been dropped due to other priorities.  The prosecution of 22,963 suspects did not go ahead due to lack of evidence or because no offence occurred” says Ms Schoonjans.

“Strict follow-up of dossiers has increased the workload of prosecutor’s offices, but it’s necessary to guarantee public health.  We remain vigilant during the festive season.  We’re working with the police around the clock.”

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