Minor suspects in drill rap stabbing to be tried as adults

The juvenile division of the Court of Appeal in Ghent has declined jurisdiction over two minor suspects in the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy at the end of 2022. The suspects in the drill rap scene stabbing will therefore likely be tried as adults.

The stabbing took place on 21 December last year in the Antwerp district of Berchem. Witnesses saw the 16-year-old victim being chased and stabbed at around 8.00 on Wednesday morning. The victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries.

The stabbing was said to be an act of revenge in the drill rap scene, a music genre that originated in the United States and is characterised by dark and violent lyrics. While several incidents linked to the drill rap scene had already been reported in Belgium, the 2022 stabbing was the first fatal incident in the country.

Three suspects were arrested, two of whom were 16 years old at the time. The public prosecutor asked the Dendermonde juvenile court to decline jurisdiction over the two minors so that they could be tried as adults, which it did for only one of the suspects.

After the public prosecutor appealed the decision, the juvenile chamber of the Ghent Court of Appeal had to rule again on the two suspects on Wednesday. The Court of Appeal decided to decline jurisdiction over both minors.

The decision can still be appealed in cassation. Dirk De Maerschalck, the lawyer for one of the minor suspects, said on Wednesday that he was considering an appeal. 


#FlandersNewsService | Investigators at the scene of the stabbing in Berchem, Antwerp, on 21 December 2022 © ​ BELGA PHOTO JONAS ROOSENS

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