The Knoops’ Innocence Project is currently working on over 25 cases which may involve a wrongful conviction.
Thus far, seven clients represented by the Knoops’ Innocence Project have been acquitted following a review of their case.
A case of mistaken identity
In 2008, one of the Knoops’ Innocence Project’s clients was sentenced to 188 hours of community service for smuggling drugs and driving without a license. The real suspect had given our client’s name to the police at the time of his arrest, and the police, military police and court authorities all failed to check the suspect’s identification. Although the actual perpetrator later stated on several occasions that he had used our client’s identity, our client was arrested in 2013 and spent 34 days in alternative custody. He was finally released on the condition that he would submit a review request. In 2014 Knoops’ Innocence Project submitted a review request, which the Supreme Court declared valid. On 24 March 2017, the court of Arnhem-Leeuwarden acquitted our client.
In 1984, Martien Hunnik was sentenced to two years in prison and placed under hospital order for the manslaughter of record producer Bart van der Laar. He confessed under great duress, but later recanted. After that he fought to prove his innocence. In 1988, he began asking to see his file. Following intervention by Knoops’ Innocence Project, it was revealed that the public prosecutor had exculpatory evidence in its possession, which it had not released, in order to protect the privacy of the parties involved. Knoops’ Innocence Project submitted a request for further investigation, and as a result of the investigation, the Supreme Court reopened the case in 2015, and referred it back to the court. On 14 June 2016, Martien was acquitted by the court of The Hague.
Spelonk case (Bonaire)
In 2006, Andy Melaan and Nozai Thomas were given respective prison sentences 24 and 8 years, in connection with the murder of two brothers near the Spelonk Lighthouse on Bonaire. Under duress, Nozai confessed involvement in the murders. Andy always maintained his innocence. New research conducted by the Knoops’ Innocence Project revealed that both men had an alibi for the time of murder and could not therefore have committed the crime. On 14 November 2013, Andy and Nozai were acquitted during a review trial conducted by the Joint Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. A book about the case, entitled De laatste kamer was published In 2017.
In 1987, Ina Post was sentenced to 6 years in prsion for the murder of Mrs Kolstee, She had confessed under great duress that she was the perpetrator, partly because she was informed that is was her handwriting on certain stolen checks. In 2009, after five review requests, the case was reopened and referred back to court of Den Bosch. Ina Post was acquitted on 6 October, and she latter established the Ina Post Fund to help those in similar circumstances.
The Putten murder case
In 1995, Herman du Bois and Wilco Viets were sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Christel Ambrosius. Placed under great pressure by the police, they confessed to the murder, although there was no forensic evidence: DNA found on the victim did not match theirs. In 2001, the case was reopened and referred to court of Leeuwaarden. Herman and Wilco were acquitted on 24 April 2002. In 2008, a DNA match was found and in 2011, Ron P. was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the murder.