Forty-something has been driving around without a driver’s license all his life

© Raymond Lemmens


A 41-year-old man from Beveren, who is currently locked up in Antwerp prison, will remain under lock and key for a few more weeks. The man appeared handcuffed before the magistrate on Monday because he had appealed against a conviction he had incurred because he was caught behind the wheel of a car again last year, despite a series of previous convictions.

Ivan Elegert

The man has collected a laundry list of convictions over the past twenty years. The judge gave a short anthology: thefts, illegal carrying of weapons, drug trafficking, various convictions for assault and battery on his partner, hit and run, gang theft, driving without a driver’s license, accidents under the influence of alcohol.

“In total you have already been convicted 29 times. You have already been given countless opportunities, suspended penalties or probation conditions. But every time you ignore them,” said the judge. “Except for a provisional driving license in 2005, which has long since expired, you have never had a driving licence. And now you come here again asking for another chance?”

Improved life

However, the man insisted that he has improved his life. “I now live with my girlfriend in Merksem. Together we have seven children,” says the man. “I want to take my responsibility. My turbulent life is behind me. I was about to sign an employment contract with a scaffolding company. That company is close to my current place of residence in Merksem. But unfortunately that contract has not yet been signed because the police have come to pick me up to be locked up. I really hope you will give me one last chance.”

He will receive his final verdict on March 27.

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