The judge has asked that the father undertake neurological analysis
by Matthijs van Houten
The suspects in the controversial ‘Ruinerwold case’ are to be detained for longer. 67-year-old Gerrit Jan van D. and 58-year-old Josef B. will remain in custody for at least three months, as decided by a court in Assen on Tuesday afternoon during a first pro forma session. The judge also wants Gerrit Jan van D., the father of the family found in isolation, to be examined by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist.
In October the police came across a family in a farm in Ruinerwold (Drenthe) that had been living in isolation for several years. The father, Gerrit Jan van D., lived at the farm with his six children, that nobody knew existed because their births were not declared and they were not registered with their municipality.
The family lived according to its own interpretation of religion, shutting itself off from any evil in the outside world. The father allegedly told his children that the outside world is unclean and that there are bad spirits awaiting them. The indoctrination of the children reportedly took place mainly through words and ritual.
The lawyers of the suspects wanted the court to put an end to their detention. The court suspects the father of the family of mistreatment of his children and the sexual abuse of two of his oldest children, who no longer lived on the farm. The Austrian Josef B. is suspected of being involved in the deprivation of the children’s liberty.
The father of the family was not present at the court case, because he can no longer speak following a brain haemorrhage he suffered in 2016. The man is paralysed and is now staying in a secure hospital in Scheveningen. The court wants the man to be examined neurologically. The judge also wants the man to be observed in the Pieter Baan Center, a forensic psychology facility near Utrecht run by the Ministry of Justice and Safety.
The investigations will attempt to show whether it is possible to communicate with the man and whether he is able to defend himself in a criminal case. Gerrit Jan van D. has also not yet been questioned by the police. According to his lawyer, he is able to respond to closed questions.