The jury was assembled for the trial of Ghent on Tuesday evening for the court of assizes in Ghent Jurgen D, the 52-year-old man accused of the 2020 murder of his girlfriend, politician Ilse Uyttersprot. The jury consists of seven men and five women. The defense mainly avenged female candidate jurors.
The facts took place on August 4, 2020 in the apartment of D. in the Meuleschettestraat in Aalst. Around 8.30 am, the man, who had already had a relationship with Uyttersprot for three months, reported to the local police. He said he had smashed his girlfriend’s head with a hammer and gave his keys to the police, who found the politician’s body in his apartment. The autopsy revealed that she died of severe brain trauma caused by six blows.
D. must answer for murder before the assize court, but the jury will have to decide on the exact classification of the facts. The jury consists of seven men and five women. There are three alternate jurors, two women and one man. Johan Platteau, the lawyer of D., seven female candidate jurors retaliated. The Public Prosecution Service divided the challenges between male and female candidates.
D. came into contact with the court for intimate partner violence in the past. He was sentenced in 2000 to a fine for beating or wounding his then-wife and in 2014 to a six-month suspended prison sentence for domestic violence and stalking his then-girlfriend.
The accused was present on Tuesday, but except to establish his identity, he did not speak. Finally, the assize chair gave the jurors more information about their responsibilities. “You must be impartial and we demand the utmost attention from you during the process,” said chairman Bart Meganck. “Some of you will be happy that you are on the jury and want to say that, but I advise you not to put that on your social media.”
The trial on the merits starts Friday. Then the bill of indictment is read, and in the afternoon D. heard by the chairman.