The defence of Ivo Poppe, a former deacon accused of at least 10 murders, wants Cardinal Jozef De Kesel to testify during his trial before the Bruges court of assizes, it said on Thursday at a preliminary hearing. The final list of witnesses will be available on 9 November.
Ivo Poppe, the former deacon of Wevelgem, is accused of at least 10 murders.
Ivo Poppe, 61, is the former deacon of Wevelgem. He has been incarcerated since May 2014 because he was reported to have accelerated the deaths of several terminally ill patients between 1980 and 2011 while working as a nurse and then as a pastoral collaborator in Menin's Sacré-Coeur Hospital now AZ Delta). Four members of his family, including his mother, are also among the victims.
Accused of killing and illegal practice of medicine, the 60-year-old explained that he had delivered the terminally ill from the sufferings but only at their request and in order to help them.
Long list of witnesses
On Thursday, Attorney General Serge Malefason said he wanted to hear 54 witnesses during the trial. The defence prepared a list of 38 witnesses. It includes the name of Jozef De Kesel, the Archbishop of Malines-Bruxelles and Belgian cardinal, who was at the head of the diocese of Bruges at the time of the events.
It is unclear to what extent Jozef De Kesel knew Ivo Poppe. The defense also wants to bring in two doctors to counterbalance the report of the forensic pathologist.
Court President Bart Meganck will present the list of witnesses on 9 November. The composition of the jury will follow on 15 January 2018, before the start of the trial itself on 22 January.
Ivo Poppe, who faces life imprisonment, will be defended by Filip De Reuse and An Govers. Raf Van Goethem and Thierry Vansweevelt will represent the hospital, AZ Delta, the civil party. The interests of the diocese of Bruges will be defended by Jan and Sarah Leysen.
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