In Friday’s sitting of the trial of Robert Mikelsons, the main suspect in an extensive sex abuse case at childcare centres in Amseterdam, both the prosecution and the defence produced videos showing two contrasting sides to the abuser.
Child porn: “work of art”
Mikelsons regarded his child pornography as “a work of art”: that was clearly visible in a compilation of police questioning sessions presented by the prosecution, reports news website nu.nl. In one recording, he said he wasn’t appreciated enough for his work.
The Latvian who has been living in Amsterdam since 2004 remained mechanical, displaying no emotion, while he talked in detail about how he abused his victims. He failed to see how his actions were wrong or to understand the extent of the effects on his victims.
According to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, he even appeared proud that so many police officers investigated his case and said he hoped the child pornography he made would be distributed on internet: “For the community. Then they can experience more pleasure with it. I won’t be allowed to anymore.”
Mikelsons is on trial for the abuse of 67 children. Last week, it was revealed in court that the youngest victim was just 19 days old. Mikelsons’ husband, Richard van Olffen, is accused of facilitating and acting as an accessory to the abuse.
Sexual abuser “capable of emotion”
Mikelsons’ lawyers also presented a compilation of recordings which illustrated the more human side of the Netherlands’ most notorious child abuser. The defence gathered images of Mikelsons crying or with his hands in front of his face, implying he was showing remorse.
His lawyers wanted to demonstrate that their client was capable of showing emotions and that he had been cooperative in the case since his arrest.
“And now you’ve seen that he shows emotion,” Mikelsons’ lawyer said to the judges. One of the judges replied: “The question is what that emotion means”.
The compilation of images put forward by the defence does not show any real regret of the part of the suspect.
One of the psychologists appointed to observe Mikelsons for a seven-week period, Marijke Drost, said the Latvian’s behaviour towards the team of psychologists was “arrogant and smug”.
She said Mikelsons, in line with the characteristics of pedophiles, twisted reality to try to convince themselves that their own behaviour wasn’t harmful.
Earlier in the trial, Mikelsons had tried to show the complexity of his character and appeared distressed when the statements of the victims’ parents were read out. He even tried to convince the parents that his apologies were sincere earlier this week. He said he was sorry for the misery he had caused to the families. The parents, however, were unconvinced.
Friday’s presentation by the prosecution – even though it was a carefully selection 20 minutes from hundreds of hours of recorded police interviews – was harsh and confrontational, especially for the parents.
The case against Robert Mikelsons and his husband is expected to last several weeks.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide