Europe

Belgian twins freed by court amid confusion over identity

File pic of Belgian police vehicle Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police eventually did not use the CCTV pictures from the snackbar as they did not help distinguish one brother from the other

Twin brothers from the Belgian city of Leuven have been acquitted of involvement in a snack-bar fight because they could not be told apart.

Ibrahim and Murat A were both put on trial for assault and causing injury to a man during a row in October 2015.

Police obtained CCTV footage of the attack, but the brothers looked so alike that neither police nor the victim could work out who was to blame.

The court said there was insufficient evidence to convict both twins.

The brothers, both 28, became caught up in an argument when one of them fell off his bike outside the Citysnack outlet in Leuven (Louvain in French), a university city to the east of Brussels.

The mishap prompted hoots of laughter from passersby which went down badly with the two men, reports said.

One of the brothers reacted angrily, launching a punch at one man, while the other tried to hold him back.

Although both brothers were called for questioning only one turned up, claiming that he had initially tried to stop his brother attacking the other man but had then thrown the punch himself, De Standaard reported.

While his evidence was not borne out by the CCTV images, police were unable to tell the two brothers apart from the footage and in the end the pictures were not used in court. Witnesses gave evidence in the case but failed to provide further clarity.

"It's obvious that one of them actively tried to hold the other back. So he can't be judged as either perpetrator or accomplice," the judge was quoted as saying by Het Laatste Nieuws.

The police investigation had established that one of the brothers had carried out an assault, the judge ruled, but it was unclear which of the two it was.

According to HLN, the two brothers have appeared in court before. In 2011, one of them was given a suspended jail term for theft with violence while his brother was acquitted because of contradictory evidence.

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