Court to rule on Boonen drug charges

A court in Turnhout, Belgium, has postponed until February 3 its ruling as to whether Tom Boonen...

Tom Boonen will have to wait another month for the verdict
Photo ©: Tim Van Wichelen

A court in Turnhout, Belgium, has postponed until February 3 its ruling as to whether Tom Boonen will face drug charges for the use of cocaine and ecstasy. Boonen and his lawyers met with the court today.

According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, the court can take several possible actions: it can dismiss the charges, or, if it finds the evidence to be strong enough, it can send the case to another court for prosecution. However, it has a third option: it can find that the facts have been proved, but that a prosecution would not serve to help Boonen's "resocialization". It can then place him on suspension and order him to pay the court costs.

Sportwereld reported that at Tuesday morning's hearing, prosecutors asked that the case be pursued. Boonen's lawyer, Johnny Maeschalck is said to have asked for the final option, that his client be found guilty but not sentenced. Boonen called his court appearance "a strange experience."

The Team Quick Step sprinter tested positive last spring and was excluded from the Tour de France. He has denied using the drugs, saying that someone must have spiked his drink at an outdoor cafe. However, it was later reported that hair tests showed that Boonen had used cocaine often over a period of months and also that he had tested positive for the party drug Ecstasy.(SW)

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