The media are ready for the first major court case of the year: at 03:30 AM the Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau will present a preview. The ‘wake-up service’ of the NOS is also alert, at 6.46 am, and in the meantime the digital newspapers are already making room on their pages.
Hazes vs Coldeweijer, Monday January 9, starting at 1.30 pm.
Fourteen long lenses are posted on the square in front of the court and a group of camera crews hides under a lean-to. It’s raining nasty, but everyone’s elated: what they’re about to get is beautiful marketable material.
Coldeweijer allows himself to be photographed valiantly, Hazes ducks under an umbrella, the cameramen put their devices under it and someone from The Telegraph yells, “Rachel! Did you leak that letter!’ The fairy and the witch, the anger and the innocence, yes, everything lives up to expectations.
The country’s main court is making room A1 available, directly behind security, the best place for viewing. It is a tasteful, light space; the press and litigants take their seats and together they face the judge.
Now come the pleadings.
Coldeweijer had posted a video online in which she reveals rather bold things about Hazes and her son André, etc. etc. In that video she also says that her web store gives a discount on her Stardust line: watches and ‘fantastic leggings’, but it is for the ‘juice’, a delicious word for ‘gossip’ that even the most corporate media are adopting.
Hazes is angry because she is not a ‘cremated croquette’, etc. etc., so hence this interlocutory proceedings.
The judge has a paternal voice and says little, perhaps as little as possible.
They are expensive hours. The court only grants summary proceedings if a case is urgent, but the lawyers seem to be in no hurry. Every courthouse is buzzing with stories that cut through the soul, but this one remains lifeless as a field in January. Still, the harvest is spectacular: while standing in court, tense reporters send their updates away, great work: logged into their editorial systems, determinedly chewing gum, tapping and listening at the same time while colleagues are already editing short films. This is how they polish up the cold afternoon, the court is their red carpet.
The boulevard news has long since swam up the channels of the serious media, where it is housed in the ‘backbite’ section of Nu.nl, or ‘showbytes’ of the AD, which scours social media daily for sexy news and photos of the stars. ‘Content performance’ disguised as journalism, but this is different, this is a purebred summary judgment.
Everyone has an interest in this case, except the court itself. It’s the day the NRC brings a large piece about the capsizing of the judiciary, where overtime is the norm and hundreds of cases go overboard because there is no time for it. Assault, burglary, things that matter. There is a great shortage of judges, and a solution is far from sight.
For years, successive cabinets have been busy with cutbacks and limiting the number of lawsuits, also by tackling the social legal profession. Meanwhile millionaires carelessly take the marble floor.
That’s the real drama behind Hazes vs. Coldeweijer. But it’s not very juicy.
Hazes has a stately lawyer with a calm bass with which he pronounces the ‘cremated croquette’ very precisely. Coldeweijer rests legally on a tough guy with a clear watch, perhaps from the Stardust line, which invokes the European Convention on Human Rights.
If the parties involved have something to say themselves, ask the judge.
Hazes: ‘What I find important: the truth.
Coldeweijer: ‘I’m just here for the truth today.’
In the corridor everyone is already busy with Humberto Tan’s wedding.