Here is an update on a new case of interest handled by the Knoops Innocence Project in the Netherlands:
Knoops’ lawyers request re-opening in the case of the “Hilversum showbiz murder”
A Knoops’ lawyers defense team acting on behalf of Martien Meijer-Hunnik requested the Supreme Court to open the case of the “Hilversum showbiz murder.”
Mr. Hunnik was convicted by the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam for manslaughter on Bart van de Laar, a producer from Hilversum, the Netherlands, on November 10, 1981.
The conviction was mainly based on the “confession” of Mr. Hunnik on November 17, 1983. At that time, there was no other direct evidence linking Mr. Hunnik to the crime. Mr. Hunnik withdrew his confession on April 14, 1983, but the judicial authorities did not give credibility to his withdrawal. A clear motive for the manslaughter was lacking. From 2002 onwards, after he had been detained from 1983 to 1990, Mr. Hunnik tried to obtain his case file, however, to no avail. In 2011 he requested Knoops’ lawyers to investigate his case regarding a revision procedure.
A specialized team of Knoops’ lawyers conducted their own research into the case (2011-2013). Early 2013 the team took notice of “new” material. It turned out that this material was already known to the public prosecution service since 2002 and had resulted in a 2004-police analysis that exculpated Mr. Hunnik.
All these new facts justify the conclusion that Mr. Hunnik was wrongfully convicted in 1984 for the murder on producer Bart van de Laar. The new material shows that Mr. Hunnik is factually innocent to the manslaughter he was convicted for. Also, a not previously known police analysis concludes that it is unlikely that Mr. Hunnik shot Mr. Van de Laar on Tuesday November 10, 1981.
The request to review this case is based on six new facts that are outlined in new pieces of evidence proving that Mr. Hunnik cannot have committed the crime in question. The new material includes a convincing alibi, a new time reconstruction of the events, evidence indicating that his confession was false and a new witness statement.
The defense has urged the Attorney-General of the Dutch Supreme Court to decide speedily on the review request, since the prosecution – as has been shown – was already in the possession of the exculpatory material since 2002.
Mr. Hunnik prays that his conviction will be overturned and that he will be rehabilitated, since he is severely damaged, both mentally and physically, through his conviction by the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam. It had and continues to have a great impact on his personal and family life.
The defense and Mr. Hunnik are – despite the fact that (new) exculpatory material was already known to the judicial authorities since 2002 – very grateful for the efforts made by Mr. Van Straelen, the chief Attorney General of the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam, to reconstruct the course of events and to establish the truth in this case.
Defense counsel: Mr. Geert-Jan Knoops, Ms. Lizette Vosman, Ms. Carry Knoops-Hamburger