A 43-year-old watch commander from Vleuten who had to keep watch at Drakensteyn Castle in Lage Vuursche, where Princess Beatrix lives, was acquitted on Thursday of sleeping during work.
The man would not have paid attention, resulting in danger. The public prosecutor previously demanded 24 hours of community service, but according to the judge in Arnhem there was not enough evidence that the guard was sleeping regularly.
According to the prosecutor, the soldier would have gone on guard at least at the end of October, where he was sleeping, according to a colleague. The soldier was sentenced to prison in March because of the issue, after 21 years with the defense.
Another team’s colleague went to make some food in the waiting area. According to her, the watch commander was snoring and had his eyes closed at the end of October last year. The light had gone out and the watch commander had taken off his stab proof vest, she said. Another colleague confirms this, except for the snoring.
I took a moment of rest because I was not 100 percent well and had a headache. But I was alert and heard what happened
‘Culture in that team’
According to other witnesses, it was a well-known rumor that “they sleep with that team on watch. That’s the culture in that team.’
“But I didn’t sleep,” said the suspect. ,,I took a moment of rest because I was not 100 percent well and had a headache. But I was alert and heard what was happening. I just carried my walkie-talkie with me that was on and could respond if a report came from one or more of the outposts. The light in the kitchen was on as usual, and that’s one room.”
The consequences for the watch commander were enormous, especially because of the sentence dismissal and the issue affects him very much: emotions that all came up during the trial.
The stress of being fired after 21 years of good assessments translated into a physical ailment that later healed. But the soldier experiences the course of events as an unprecedented slap in the face, in which he has not been given a chance to correct his mistake.
‘Rumors are just rumours’
According to his lawyer, there was no red-handed situation, there was no danger to Princess Beatrix and the rumors are just rumours. Those statements could all have contaminated each other.
The judge found the investigation far too meager for the serious accusation. She did not consider the rumors as proof, because they had been buzzing for months and may have reinforced each other. It has not been investigated at all whether there has been any concrete danger to the princess.
The watch commander has lodged an objection to his resignation. That is still ongoing.
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