SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus, who was caught breaking social distancing rules at his recent wedding, has been given a fine by the public prosecution service after all.
Grapperhaus has been fined €390 because this will ‘enhance the credibility’ of the enforcement of the rules, given that the minister is head of the department charged with making sure they are complied with, the department said in a statement.
Grapperhaus was faced with a vote of no confidence after photographs showing him standing next to guests, apparently shaking hands with one, were published in the Dutch media.
He survived the vote, but admitted his reputation had been severely dented. Grapperhaus said he would respect the department’s decision and pay the fine. ‘If the department says the rules have been broken and I have to pay a fine, then that is the case,’ he said.
The minister will now have a formal criminal record, as does everyone who is fined more than €99 for an offence. However, this is a controversial issue and ministers have agreed to MPs’ demands that they look again at the way a fine for breaking social distancing rules automatically results in a criminal record.
Thousands of people have been given a fine of €390 for breaking the social distancing rules and several thousand have already begun appeals. Having a criminal record makes it difficult for people to get a certificate of good behaviour (VOG), which is required in many jobs.