The brawl broke out during a night out at the Oude Beestenmarkt.
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The brawl broke out during a night out at the Oude Beestenmarkt. © Google Maps

GHENT

A brawl on the Oude Beestenmarkt last summer turned into one with tragic consequences. Months later, the victim is still recovering. And the perpetrator? He burst into tears during the court hearing on Thursday. “I don’t recognize myself in the facts.”

Laura Moens

The two got into a fight at the Oude Beestenmarkt at the end of August during a night out. Initially, a verbal discussion seemed to ensue, but it quickly turned into physical violence.

The perpetrator violently lashed out at the victim, causing him to fall badly. The seriousness of that fall only became clear later in the hospital. The victim had a cerebral hemorrhage and the doctors had to remove part of his skull, putting him in a coma.

It wasn’t until two weeks later, on September 3, that he opened his eyes again for the first time. “Since October 13, my client has been able to make full sentences again, but cognitively he is not yet on top,” said the victim’s lawyer. “His short-term memory is severely impaired and he has difficulty situating himself in time and place.”

Self declared

The perpetrator inquired a day after the facts at the DJ about the victim’s condition. When he learned how bad his condition was, he turned himself in to the police. He had a clear sense of guilt and burst into tears during Thursday’s hearing.

At the time of the facts, the perpetrator was under the influence of cannabis. He struggles with a drug addiction and acknowledges it. “I am currently in hospital for my addiction,” he testified.

The man also indicated that he had asked for a sentence with probation conditions in order to continue working on himself. The Public Prosecution Service demanded a minimum prison sentence of 2 years and a fine of 1,600 euros for the perpetrator, possibly linked to probation conditions. The verdict will be delivered in a few weeks.

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