Vandenbroucke's fine dropped

The Belgian Hof van Cassatie has quashed the June 2005 ruling of the Gent Court of Appeal that decreed that Frank Vandenbroucke must pay a fine of €250,000 for breaking the Belgian drug laws, according to

The case, which began in 2002, has been through several Belgian courts. In 2004, the Dendermonde Correctional Court ruled that Vandenbroucke should do 200 hours of community service for possession of illegal drugs. At that point, he had already served a six month sporting sanction, and his lawyer Luc Deleu argued that that ban should have been enough.

VDB appealed the Dendermonde ruling to the Gent Court of Appeal, but the Court of Appeal decided that instead of doing community service, he should pay a fine of €250,000, taking the line that he should have been penalised as a drug addict, rather than an athlete who was doping. The Hof van Cassatie has now annulled the fine, and Vandenbroucke is theoretically free, unless another appeal is lodged.

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